900 Film Genre Breakdown

As I mentioned in the post-script to my Hobbit review, that film was the 900th feature film that I’ve seen. Or, more precisely, the 900th that I’ve seen and remember clearly enough to have rated on IMDb. There are, no doubt, several films from my youth that I no longer remember clearly, but if it’s something that I’d want to see again as an adult to evaluate, then it doesn’t really count (those that I do remember clearly are rated and counted). And, as stated before in my Reeling in the Years post, I’m only counting those feature-length films that have been released to theatres. Now, I’m waiting for the 1000 mark to do a breakdown of what years I’ve seen, but 900 is good enough to take a look at the genre breakdown.

I’m aware this is something that may be of interest only to me, but what the hey. It’s Sunday, it’s Saint Patrick’s Day, and most movie bloggers are probably watching Fogs torture himself with all the Twilight Movies, so it’s kind of a slow day. Here’s the rundown, using IMDb’s genre categories:

Genres At 900

So what does this tell us? Well, for starters, the experience of going through this tells me that IMDb’s genre categorization leaves something to be desired. There are, naturally, a lot of films that are placed under more than one genre (hence these bars adding up to well over 900). This isn’t a bad thing; it’s a good thing, actually, since films aren’t easily pigeon-holed. But sometimes it’s pretty redundant. I have a pretty clear distinction between a music film and a musical film, but I don’t think IMDb does. (For the record: A musical film is one that features characters breaking into song as they go about their business; a music film is a film that’s about music. Beauty and the Beast is a musical film; This is Spinal Tap is a music film; The Blues Brothers is both.) And it’s obvious that action and adventure are pretty much in lockstep because most films that are tagged with one are tagged with the other; someday when I have a ton of time I might go through the films I’ve seen just to see what is actually unique to each category. Probably not though. Thriller (an ill-defined genre at best) is usually synonymous as well. And three-fourths of everything is labeled either a comedy or drama.

There’s also some weirdness with certain films being given odd genre labels. Tombstone for example, is labeled with several genres… including romance. I’ve kept the genres as IMDb gives them, but some of them are a little questionable.

Even so, it’s still possible to get some ideas of my genre preferences. I pick out more comedies than dramas. I like action/adventure/thriller films quite a lot. I hardly ever check out anything from the realm of “reality”, whether it’s a biography, historical film, or documentary. (My sole documentary is The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years.) Fantasy just barely edges out sci-fi, though both are among my favorite genres, and there’s a lot of overlap (Star Wars, for example). I need to check out more westerns and mysteries; more war films as well. Romance looks stronger than it is due to IMDb’s gratuitous tagging; I doubt very many of the films I’ve watched would be considered primarily romances, it’s just that so many films have a subplot of romance.

I’m amused by the fact that I’ve seen more crime films than family films. I’m surprised that film noir is made up of only four films, though; I guess most of the classic films I’ve seen don’t count, but I thought the number would be higher, even so.

It may come as a surprise, given that I’ve had “Halloween Haunters” as a section of this site since its inception, that I’ve only seen 79 films in the horror genre. The simple truth is that I didn’t watch many horror films as a child, teen, or young man. Most of the horror films I’ve seen have been in the past three years; “Halloween Haunters” is an online continuation of a personal goal I started the year before to watch some horror films during October. So it makes sense that the number is about what you’d get from somebody watching horror films for three Octobers in a row.

As for what it all means… well, it’s mostly just a curiosity thing. I’m not going to make huge sweeping changes to my viewing habits, though I may try to shore up some of the weaker-represented genres.

One hundred films to go until I hit the 1K mark.

About Morgan R. Lewis

Fan of movies and other media
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29 Responses to 900 Film Genre Breakdown

  1. Spikor says:

    The documentary number shocks me. Given the high profile of so many of them in the last ten years or so, I would’ve figured you’d have checked out at least some of them.

    • A lot of them just haven’t interested me. I mean, I watch and read the news, and that generally gives me all I want of a lot of things. I’m also turned off by the way filmmakers seem to have lost the distinction between a documentary and an editorial. I mean, I read interviews with Michael Moore, to pick a prominent example, and he talks about his upcoming work with a clear indication of what he wants the result to be. I kind of figure if I want to have an opinion on something I can do it best by looking at things myself rather than being spoonfed somebody else’s cherry-picked examples.

      Now, something like Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me, where we all know eating fast food for three meals a day for a month is unhealthy, but he’s looking at just how unhealthy it is, that’s a different story. I might check that out at some point.

      • Spikor says:

        I find Moore’s stuff interesting in a “Morbid Curiosity” way. I like to see just how outlandish and biased he can get. It’s like watching most news programs, or reading comments on the internet, when you’re moderately to well informed on a subject already. It fuels the rage monster inside me, and I get to vent about it to Mel, or whoever listens.

        Super Size Me was, in all honesty and in my opinion, more of the same kind of stuff. It wasn’t quite as sensationalized as Moore, but the premise itself is already ridiculous anyway. When he threw up after eating a Double Quarter Pounder, like it was 4 litres of Milk or something, the movie lost whatever credibility it earned. But still entertaining in that same kind of way.

        I can’t honestly think of a documentary that has been released theatrically (so that it counts on your list) that isn’t super biased and propagandariffic.

        So I guess… TLDR: Your explanation makes perfect sense, and I understand exactly where you’re coming from now.

        • Threw up after one double quarter pounder… we’re talking two patties, one quarter pound total, right? Not a half pound burger? Unless he’d already eaten to satiation or had been a vegetarian before, that seems pretty unlikely.

        • Spikor says:

          Double quarter is two quarter pound patties, so half pound total. It’s a large burger… but I mean… there are 1lb burgers sold in some places.

          According to the narrative of the movie (if I’m remembering correctly) he wants to try everything on the menu. He waits until week 3 or so before “tackling” this one, when he’s tried basically everything else there is. I believe it’s the first thing he eats in the meal, so it’s not like he’s full on fries or soda or anything. I mean, I’m not saying he definitely should’ve enjoyed it… but I’m pretty certain that he went in planning to vomit.

          I mean, I know I’m a FGWG and all, and that at my worst a double quarter was nothing, and I could still eat one handily if I wanted… but I’ve seen guys skinny as a rail eat a meal with them, no trouble.

        • In my experience it’s the skinny guys who can really put stuff away. I have to be pretty famished to handle a half-pound burger, personally. But yeah… by that point, it seems like he should have been able to handle it.

  2. Mr Rumsey says:

    Pretty interesting graph there – it makes me wonder about my own figures.
    Also, you definitely should check out more Westerns!

  3. LOL. And here I clicked over to take a BREAK from all that Twilight Marathon stuff! LOL

    You’ve only seen ONE documentary? Or you only recalled one? Cause that dont seem right!

    Definitely is an interesting graph though. I wonder what mine would look like? Interesting stuff buddy!

  4. Sci-Fi looks a little low, i’d get on that haha 😀

  5. ckckred says:

    Try checking out some westerns and documentaries. Nice graph.

  6. Wow, just one documentary? At the very least, you should check out Anvil: The Story of Anvil. Since you’re a Spinal Tap fan (I think), I’m sure you would love that one.

    Oh, BTW, the Humble Indie Bundle is starting a new weekly feature. This week they are selling Bastion for whatever price you want to pay. I highly recommend it — it’s one of the best games I have played in the last couple years.


    • Anvil has been on my “to see” list since it came out… it looks like a lot of fun, and I’m a definite metal head (the one doc I’ve seen is The Decline of Western Civilization II: The Metal Years).

      I’ll bookmark the Humble Bundle page… not sure I really have time for a game right now, though; been busy, you know how it is.

  7. I love this breakdown. It’s fun. and yes, I was watching Fogs’ destroy himself with Twilight on Sunday too! haha.

    I wasn’t expecting to see Comedy have such a commanding lead over the rest. everyone seems to be fixated on your “1” documentary, but I will mention that I was surprised to see more musicals than history.

    • I strongly suspect comedy’s commanding lead is due to IMDb tagging just about everything with a modicum of humor as comedy. Being one of the broadest genres, it’s going to have one of the largest counts.

      I also suspect that Disney is largely responsible for the size of the musical category.

  8. Nostra says:

    Great breakdown and nice to see you already at 900. I’ve been tracking my movie watching since 2004 and am up to 1500 something.

    I am shocked about you not having seen many documentaries, I suggest you watch Dear Zachary. I’m sure you’ll be impressed by it.

  9. Pingback: Reflecting on 1000 Films | Morgan on Media

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