Archive for Thursday, July 8, 2010

Facebook friends choose top movie trilogy

Jimmy Gillispie column

July 8, 2010

Reader poll
What is your favorite movie trilogy or series?

or See the results without voting

After 63 days of voting, the original Star Wars trilogy was named the greatest movie trilogy/series of all time.

Well, that’s at least according to my Facebook friends.

My time-consuming 64-movie bracket tournament finished last week with the largest single day vote. It was Star Wars crushing Back to the Future, 23-12, in the championship round.

For those curious, no, it doesn’t include the new, but not good, Star Wars movies. Those were a separate entry in the tournament. The original three movies — Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi — were the package deal that won the epic social media experiment.

My idea for this began in late April. I posted a Facebook status asking, “What is the greatest movie trilogy of all time?” I received several comments and Lord of the Rings received the most votes with three. The next day, a light bulb turned on upstairs.

I spent several hours researching movie trilogies and movie series on Wikipedia. Since March Madness ended a few weeks prior, I decided to do a bracket like the NCAA basketball tournament. Instead of basketball, my Facebook friends would make a vote each day and the winner would advance to the next round. Simple enough.

I had no trouble finding at least 64 trilogies or series. I had forgotten about some movies, but most were recognizable names. In the end, a few terrible ones got cut from the list, but I had 64. Now the seeding was a bit harder.

I picked the top five seeds for each of the four brackets. I used my own movie knowledge and some friends’ advice to pick those.

In case anyone is curious, here are my top-seeded trilogies. The No. 1 seeds were Lord of the Rings, The Godfather, Indiana Jones (not including the fourth one) and Star Wars (original trilogy). The No. 2 seeds were The Matrix, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jason Bourne and Rocky 1-5.

The No. 3 seeds were Die Hard, Back to the Future, Spider-Man and X-Men. The No. 4 seeds were Beverly Hills Cop, National Lampoon Vacation, Terminator and Harry Potter.

On April 27, the madness began. I was curious to see what would come out as the best, but I also wanted to know who would vote and how many friends would vote during the process. My first social media experiment produced surprising results.

First, the number of voters and who voted surprised me throughout the entire ordeal. The first day’s contest had 15 votes. That number was higher than expected, because I hadn’t publicized the contest. However, it did feature one of the top seeds, Lord of the Rings, so that might have brought out a few voters.

Many of those first-day voters would also become the reliable friends. Six of them voted nearly every day and a few more voted more than half of the days. Some of them were close friends, so I wasn’t shocked that they would participate nearly every day.

On the second day, there were eight new voters. All of them were fans of the Shrek movies. That increase in voters happened only one other time when the Batman movies faced Superman. Sadly, most of those new voters were one-hit wonders.

After 63 days of movie matchups, I had 112 different Facebook friends vote on the tournament. Sure, it seems like a lot, but consider that I have 560 friends on Facebook and it’s a small number.

My other big surprise were some of the results. In hindsight, some shouldn’t have been surprising, because of the age of many voters. I thought older movies didn’t have as good of a chance against younger movies, but that wasn’t always the case.

The first major upset was Crocodile Dundee defeating Pirates of the Caribbean in the first round. Being a huge fan of the Pirates trilogy, I was upset at this result, but upsets happen in the NCAA tournament, too.

Another recent trilogy, Spider-Man, saw an early exit, too. It fell to The Man With No Name trilogy, which is better known as the series that ends with The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. After the first round, I thought some older movies might be able to survive.

That wasn’t always the case. The new Star Wars trilogy (episodes 1-3) defeated the Godfather movies in the second round. It was a small vote, 5-2, but very disappointing. Godfather 1 and 2 are two of the highest rated movies ever, so bowing out to Jar Jar Binks and company was a disgrace.

In the end, I think the best trilogy of all time won. Deep down, I was secretly pulling for Indiana Jones, but Temple of Doom wasn’t good enough to make it the best ever. It lost to Star Wars in the final four. The other two semifinalists were Die Hard and Back to the Future.

Now, it’s time to have a new Facebook tournament. I have ideas to get more people involved. The topics will either be greatest television shows, all-time athlete or video games. Want to vote? Find me on Facebook.

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