Monday, December 28, 2015

Hickey's "The 20 Most Extreme Cases Of ‘The Book Was Better Than The Movie"

Data has been used to learn a bit more about the age old observation that books are always better than the movies they inspire.

Fivethirtyeight writer Walk Hickey gets down to the brass tacks of this relationship by exploring linear relationships between book ratings and movie ratings. 

The biggest discrepancies between movie and book ratings were for "meh" books made into beloved movies (see "Apocalypse Now").

How to use in class:

-Hickey goes into detail about his methodology and use of archival data. The movie ratings came from Metacritic, the book ratings came for Goodreads.
-He cites previous research that cautions against putting too much weight into Metacritic and Good reads. Have your students discuss the fact that Metacritic data is coming from professional movie reviewers and Goodreads ratings can be created by anyone. How might this effect ratings?
-He transforms his data into z-scores.
-The films that have the biggest movie:book rating discrepancies also serve as good examples of influential observations in linear relationships. How might such outliers effect the accuracy of the regression line predicted by this data?
-He does bring up the fact that this is a truncated data set: All of the stories that are included are books that garnered enough attention to be made into a movie.