Aaron’s Favorite Movies – An Analysis

In addition to loving movies, I also love stats. Evaluating data and analyzing numbers is fascinating to me. I have a long commute, and while driving home from work recently, I got to thinking about how my personal favorite films compare to the consensus of critics and other movie fans. To determine this, I’ve taken all 141 feature films that I’ve rated as ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and created a sortable spreadsheet that includes the following data for each film: Rotten Tomatoes Score, RT User Score, Letterboxd Score, and Metacritic Score. These are all favorites of mine and I would fight over any of them. Below is an analysis of the data. What I discovered was at times incredibly predictable, but nonetheless very interesting.

The Best

Twelve of my favorite films hold a perfect 100% rating on RT. They range from the oldest film on my list to one of the newest.

1926 The Adventures of Prince Achmed
1941 Citizen Kane
1950 All About Eve
1952 Singin’ in the Rain
1954 Seven Samurai
1954 Rear Window
1957 12 Angry Men
1964 Mary Poppins
1995 Before Sunrise
1995 Toy Story
1999 Toy Story 2
2018 Paddington 2

By comparison, the top eleven as compared to highest RT User Score (96 and up) only features TWO of the same titles.

1972 The Godfather
1994 The Shawshank Redemption
1954 Seven Samurai
1957 12 Angry Men
1966 The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
1993 Schindler’s List
1980 The Empire Strikes Back
1981 Raiders of the Lost Ark
1994 Pulp Fiction
1977 Star Wars
1999 Fight Club

And as compared to the top fifteen highest Letterboxd Score (87 and up) – THREE match the top RT list and SIX match the top RT User list.

1972 The Godfather
1954 Seven Samurai
1957 12 Angry Men
1980 The Empire Strikes Back
1994 The Shawshank Redemption
1966 The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
1994 Pulp Fiction
2008 The Dark Knight
1993 Schindler’s List
1954 Rear Window
1979 Alien
1979 Apocalypse Now
2014 Whiplash
1948 The Red Shoes
1968 2001: A Space Odyssey

None of this data is very surprising, honestly. Users tend to favor a mixture of classics and more modern films, while critic ratings for the highest films largely skew toward older movies. But enough of that, what I’m most interested in is how the bottom films in my list of favorites match-up with the ratings of others.


The Worst

Here are my Bottom 10, as sorted by lowest Rotten Tomatoes score. It pains me to see two of my all-time top 10 favorites on this list (Top Gun and Interstellar). Most of these don’t surprise me, though.

Year Film Rotten Tomatoes
2016 Passengers 30
2017 Song to Song 45
2010 Tron: Legacy 51
1986 Top Gun 54
1996 Mission: Impossible 62
1989 National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 64
1994 Reality Bites 65
2012 Les Miserables 69
2014 Interstellar 71
2013 Pacific Rim 71

By comparison, here are the lowest-scored eleven films per RT User Score. Many of the same films appear, but also some real shockers. Check out the difference in RT User score and RT score. Movies like The Blair Witch Project, Phantom Thread, The Shallows, The Cabin in the Woods, Inside Llewyn Davis, and Silence are much preferred by critics while films like Passengers and Reality Bites were liked far better by general audiences.

Year Film RT User / RT Score
2017 Song to Song 55/45 (+10)
1999 The Blair Witch Project 55/87 (-33)
2016 The Shallows 59/78 (-19)
2016 Passengers 63/30 (+33)
2010 Tron: Legacy 63/51 (+12)
2016 Silence 69/84 (-15)
2017 Phantom Thread 70/91 (-21)
1996 Mission: Impossible 71/62 (+9)
1994 Reality Bites 74/65 (+19)
2012 The Cabin in the Woods 74/92 (-18)
2013 Inside Llewyn Davis 74/93 (-19)

The comparison between RT critic score and Letterboxd was very, very similar for the lowest group. Some of the films I love, but other users don’t, also include 2015’s Cinderella, Top Gun, Pacific Rim, Miracle, and The Spectacular Now.


It’s highly likely that no one will care about this data but me, and that’s okay. This was a fun exercise in exploring where my movie taste diverges from critical and popular opinion. To wrap up, here are some average scores for my favorite films. (Note: Metacritic was not included in the above analysis due to several high-scoring films not being rated on their site, which would have skewed my data a bit.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 89.16
RT User Score – 87.25
Letterboxd – 79.54
Metacritic – 80.47

Overall, not too bad! My favorites are generally considered the equivalent of a 4-star film or higher. I can accept that. If anyone is interested in seeing the entire list of my favorite films with all scores, you can view that here.


Aaron White is a Seattle-based film critic and co-creator/co-host of the Feelin’ Film Podcast. He is also a member of the Seattle Film Critics Society. He writes reviews with a focus on the emotional experience he has with a film. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter to be notified when new content is posted.