Saturday, February 13, 2016

Valentine's Day Movie Picks

"So, what are gonna do for Valentine's Day?" That question always scares me when it comes out of my wife's mouth. It scares me because I have learned that the question really means that I have the responsibility of decision-making, but don't have the authority to enact that decision. If I come up with the "wrong suggestion", then I will be in trouble. I cried a little bit under my breath.


I took a deep breath, and I did come up with a suggestion that was a winner. I could tell it was a winner because I didn't get instantly ridiculed. "You know Honey," I said in my sweetest James Earl Jones kinda voice, "the restaurants are always so crowded on Valentine's Day. Maybe we should make a nice meal and watch the greatest romance movie ever made."

Intimate pic of Madelaine and I from Valentine's Day 2015.
I'm the one with the chocolate stains on my earlobe

"Oh? What movie might that be?" Like I said... I wasn't ridiculed for coming up with a stupid idea! But she did put me on the spot. Luckily I had a few suggestions in my pocket. "I dunno... Must Love Mathematicians? Sleepless in CIELAB?" She came back with Pretty Woman, and then "that one with Cary Grant and what's-her-name... and they agree to meet at the Empire State Building..."

How does one decide what movie to watch? I have had such good luck with crowd-sourcing before. I like the idea of crowd sourcing... You ask a few thousand of your closest friends about which tie goes best with your boxer shorts, and you'll be guaranteed not to look like someone who gets all their fashion advice from Donald Trump.

I decided the rules ahead of time. I would Google the phrase "best romantic movie of all time", and take the first 20 hits that gave me lists of movies. I would take ten movies from each website, and compile these into one big list. The winning movie would be the one that occurred in the most lists.

Of course, as soon as you make rules, you set yourself up for problems. The first website I looked at had 100 movies listed. The next had 20. So... does the first website get 100 votes, and the second site only 20? That sounds about as fair as the whole super-delegate thing.

So, I decided that if the site had a count-down sort of thing, I would pick the best ten. If the movies were just plopped into the file without reference to any ranking, I would just take the first ten.

I am sure that most of my readers are getting a little hot under the collar just reading my description of meta-analysis! Boy, this sure does get my central processing unit going!

I thus had a list of 200 movies, with many duplicated. The duplicates were the ones I was most interested in. Without further ado, here are the winners...

Annie Hall

When Harry Met Sally

Pretty Woman

Say Anything

Here is a list of the most commonly cited romantic movies. Cue up one of these movies on your Roku box, stream yourself a little Amazon Prime Rib, and you got yourself a Valentine's date.

Annie Hall 10
When Harry Met Sally 9
Pretty Woman 6
Say Anything… 6
Casablanca 5
Four Weddings and a Funeral 5
It Happened One Night 5
Roman Holiday 5
Sleepless in Seattle 5
The Notebook 5
The Philadelphia Story 5
The Princess Bride 5

Then again... I showed the list to my lovely and darling wife. "Annie Hall??!?!?  That's a good movie, but it's not romantic! It's a friggen' Woody Allen movie, for Mose's sake!" I guess it's like my gramma always used to say: you can source all of the crowd some of the time, and you can source some of the crowd all of the time, but you just can't make peanut butter out of lilac petals with a pair of galoshes.

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