Nerding It Up, Hollywood Style

I refuse to grow up. Let’s just start there. I still enjoy mos tof the same things I did as a kid, even if reason says I should have out-grown them. It’s how I stay relatively sane. One of the things I loved doing most as a kid was playing a board game version of baseball, where me and a childhood friend would make up teams using various baseball cards and play entire seasons worth of games, keeping stats for all of them. Later in life that morphed into playing fantasy football, since for some reason that was more socially acceptable than just using your imagination.

My favorite thing about fantasy football was the draft. I loved the weeks leading up to it, doing all my draft prep, reading magazines, scouring newspapers for training camp tidbits, and ultimately putting together my own personal rankings. The day the draft came was like Christmas. I usually couldn’t sleep the night before, the anticipation was too much. The draft itself was the true highlight, as we spent several hours hanging out, eating, drinking, busting each other’s balls, whining like spoiled children when things didn’t go our way, all while trying desperately to outwit each other in attempt to get the players we hoped would be the best for the coming season. It was a hell ofa way to kill a summer afternoon and all by itself satiated my competitive desires.

Then the season actually started and over the following weeks my interest would dwindle. Keeping up with line-ups changes and dumping and adding players was a bit of a pain in the ass, especially if my team didn’t wind up as good as I had hoped. It just wasn’t as much fun for me, so after about a decade of playing, I quit. I haven’t really missed it.

Except, that is, for the draft. I still miss that experience. Which is why, one day a few months back, I found myself listening to a podcast where a group of guys was holding a fantasy sports-type draft for things that had nothing to do with sports and the thought hit me I could probably doing something similar, say with Hollywood movies. I worked out a few basic concepts around how the draft would be conducted and “scored” ,then sent out some feelers among my circle of fellow movie nerds to find a few willing co-conspirators. Before the idea had even really settled into my head, we were off and running.

Today we put my little experiment to the test, and it passed with flying colors. Myself and 8 friends got together for a little fun and sun (well, too much sun – we moved indoors about midway through thanks to the blazing heat and humidity) and pulled off the first of what I hope to be many Hollywood Fantasy Film Drafts, details (and results) of which are about to follow. If you care to read further, I’d welcome your feedback on the finished product, as I’ll explain at the end of this novella you’re now perusing. Meanwhile, on with the game!

* * * * *

So in fantasy sports, the idea is to draft players to cover each of the positions on an individual team, be it football, baseball, whatever. With movies, there are no positions, so we needed a reasonable replacement. My initial idea, and the one we went with, was to draft films based on their directors (other possibilities have since been brought up and will be discussed later). I chose fifteen directors of varying quality, style, and experience, with the order being each “team” (or studio, as I’ll refer to it going forward) would be required to draft one film from each of the respective director’s body of work. To flesh things out, we then added 5 wildcard slots, where a studio would be required to draft one film from each decade of the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, 00’s & 10’s, with the only exceptions being films of those 15 directors already highlighted. The basic concept for the draft was now set, with the following directors being chosen (numbers of eligible films in parentheses):

Steven Spielberg (28)
Spike Lee (26)
Ron Howard (22)
Martin Scorsese (22)
Tim Burton (18)
Francis Ford Coppola (18)
Oliver Stone (18)
Rob Reiner (17)
Joel Coen (16)
Michael Bay (11)
Kevin Smith (11)
David Zucker (10)
David Fincher (9)
Wes Anderson (8)
Quentin Tarantino (8)

Again, we wanted variety, and the idea of forcing people to pick which bloated Michael Bay “film” to add to their studio was too juicy to pass up.

The next issue was: how to pick a winner? Since there is no “season” per say, we had to find a way to determine which studio had the most successful draft, otherwise there was really no point to the game. We considered having you, our Facebook friends, vote on who you thought had the best line-up of movies (again, more on that later), but that seemed rather limiting, especially since there was no guarantee that anybody out there would give nearly as much of a shit about this silliness as we did. So we moved onto an actual points system. The basics are thus – films are each ranked in four categories:

Commercial Success
Critical Acclaim
Peer Recognition
Fan Appreciation

Here’s how the category scores were generated:

Commercial Success

To determine a film’s Commercial Success we used the adjusted gross (US) income of the film using the conversion price as provided by BoxOfficeMojo.com.

Critical Acclaim

To determine a film’s Critical Acclaim score we used the film’s Metascore from metacritic.com. (Note: we considered using Rotten Tomatoes ratings, but those tend to be more extreme highs-and-lows, given that they’re based on liked/didn’t like as opposed to a critic’s star rating score. Of course, Metascore doesn’t give scores for *every* film, so 16 of the films we ultimately drafted got a score of 72, which was the average of the other films picked. No system is perfect.)

Peer Recognition

Peer Recognition was generated by giving each film 5 points for every Academy Award Nomination it received and 5 points for each win.

Fan Appreciation

To determine a film’s Fan Appreciation score we used their IMDB.com user rating.

Once the draft was complete, we would compare the scores in each category and rank each film based on their score. The film with the highest score in a category would get 1 point, the second highest 2 points and so on. Each individual film would then end up with a score between 4-640 (8 studios at 20 films each is 160 films; 160 films at a min 1 pt/max 160 pt per category). Then we would add up the cumulative scores of each film in a “Studio” and the one with the lowest overall total would be the winner. Boom. Done.

(Just to be clear, we only ranked the 160 films that were drafted, so for example, the highest grossing film of those drafted got 1 point, while the second got 2, even if those two films were actually 1 and 5 all-time in real life.)

And there you have it, the nerdiest thing to come down the pike since, I dunno, probably Fish’s weekly game of D&D. These things are impossible to keep track of.

I’ll be presenting the final results of who won once my calculations are complete, but in the meantime I thought I’d share the actual draft results and see what people think of our respective “studios” and the movies they have to offer up. Keep in mind we were forced to pick from a handful of directors (I’m looking at YOU, Kevin Smith) who have less than desirable resumes when it comes to some of the metrics we used. That was the point. So if you’re wondering why somebody would ever draft “Tusk”, remember that the alternative was “Jersey Girl”, and nobody wants THAT on their conscience.

Anyway, feel free to give feedback below and maybe even a vote as to which studio you liked the best. If nothing else it’ll give one of us geeks bragging rights after the cold hard facts of math make losers out of the rest.

DRAFT RESULTS

ADAM HEROUX
1. The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola)
2. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980’s Wildcard)
3. The Dark Knight (2000’s Wildcard)
4. The Avengers (2010’s Wildcard)
5. The Sixth Sense (1990’s Wildcard)
6. Alien (1970’s Wildcard)
7. Raiders Of The Lost Ark (Steven Spielberg)
8. Parenthood (Ron Howard)
9. Batman Returns (Tim Burton)
10 .Transformers (Michael Bay)
11. The Aviator (Martin Scorsese)
12 .Se7en (David Fincher)
13. The American President (Rob Reiner)
14 .Any Given Sunday (Oliver Stone)
15 .Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (Quentin Tarantino)
16. The Naked Gun (David Zucker)
17. Burn After Reading (Joel Coen)
18. Jungle Fever (Spike Lee)
19 .The Darjeeling Limited (Wes Anderson)
20. Zack And Miri Make A Porno (Kevin Smith)

ANDY BONCODDO
1. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1970’s Wildcard)
2. Forrest Gump (1990’s Wildcard)
3. Batman (Tim Burton)
4. Bram Stroker’s Dracula (Francis Ford Coppola)
5. How The Grinch Stole Christmas (Ron Howard)
6. Star Wars: Episode VI – Return Of The Jedi (1980’s Wildcard)
7. True Grit (Joel Coen)
8. When Harry Met Sally (Rob Reiner)
9. Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino)
10. Jurassic Park (Steven Spielberg)
11. Natural Born Killers (Oliver Stone)
12. Rushmore (Wes Anderson)
13. Gone Girl (David Fincher)
14. Avengers: Age Of Ultron (2010’s Wildcard)
15. Transformers: Dark Of The Moon (Michael Bay)
16. The Color Of Money (Martin Scorsese)
17. The Naked Gun 2 ½ (David Zucker)
18. Finding Nemo (2000’s Wildcard)
19. He Got Game (Spike Lee)
20. Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back (Kevin Smith)

BILL STAMBAUGH
1. The Shawshank Redemption (1990’s Wildcard)
2. Schindler’s List (Steven Spielberg)
3. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1970’s Wildcard)
4. Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese)
5. Cinema Paradiso (1980’s Wildcard)
6. Fight Club (David Fincher)
7. The Conversation (Francis Ford Coppola)
8. Wall Street (Oliver Stone)
9. Stand By Me (Rob Reiner)
10. The Royal Tanenbaums (Wes Anderson)
11. Furious 7 (2010’s Wildcard)
12. Oldboy [South Korean version] (2000’s Wildcard)
13. Cinderella Man (Ron Howard)
14. Clockers (Spike Lee)
15. A Serious Man (Joel Coen)
16. Big Eyes (Tim Burton)
17. Jackie Brown (Quentin Tarantino)
18. Bad Boys (Michael Bay)
19. Tusk (Kevin Smith)
20. BASEketball (David Zucker)

CRAIG CIAMPA
1. Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese)
2. The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (2000’s Wildcard)
3. The English Patient (1990’s Wildcard)
4. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2010’s Wildcard)
5. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (Quentin Tarantino)
6. Clerks (Kevin Smith)
7. Kramer Vs Kramer (1970’s Wildcard)
8. Terms Of Endearment (1980’s Wildcard)
9. Inside Man (Spike Lee)
10. Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen (Michael Bay)
11. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (Oliver Stone)
12. Raising Arizona (Joel Coen)
13. War Of The Worlds (Steven Spielberg)
14. The Da Vinci Code (Ron Howard)
15. The Outsiders (Francis Ford Coppola)
16. The Game (David Fincher)
17. The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (Wes Anderson)
18. Flipped (Rob Reiner)
19. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (Tim Burton)
20. Scary Movie 3 (David Zucker)

DAVID FISHER
1. The Godfather: Part II (Francis Ford Coppola)
2. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (Steve Spielberg)
3. The Sting (1970’s Wildcard)
4. The Lion King (1990’s Wildcard)
5. Ghostbusters (1980’s Wildcard)
6. Toy Story 3 (2010’s Wildcard)
7. No Country For Old Men (Joel Coen)
8. The Social Network (David Fincher)
9. Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson)
10. Frost/Nixon (Ron Howard)
11. Ed Wood (Tim Burton)
12. Inglorious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)
13. The Rock (Michael Bay)
14. Ruthless People (David Zucker)
15. This Is Spinal Tap (Rob Reiner)
16. Hugo (Martin Scorsese)
17. Salvador (Oliver Stone)
18. Slumdog Millionaire (2000’s Wildcard)
19. Mallrats (Kevin Smith)
20. 25th Hour (Spike Lee)

GORDON ELLIS
1. Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino)
2. Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola)
3. Do The Right Thing (Spike Lee)
4. The Departed (Martin Scorsese)
5. A Beautiful Mind (Ron Howard)
6. The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring (2000’s Wildcard)
7. JFK (Oliver Stone)
8. Saving Private Ryan (Steven Spielberg)
9. Airplane! (David Zucker)
10. Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson)
11. Edward Scissorhands (Tim Burton)
12. Misery (Rob Reiner)
13. The Big Lebowski (Joel Coen)
14. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher)
15. Armageddon (Michael Bay)
16. Chasing Amy (Kevin Smith)
17. Back To The Future (1980’s Wildcard)
18. Patton (1970’s Wildcard)
19. American Beauty (1990’s Wildcard)
20. Gravity (2010’s Wildcard)

JUDSON & MIKE PIERCE
1. Titanic (1990’s Wildcard)
2. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson)
3. The Godfather: Part III (Francis Ford Coppola)
4. Platoon (Oliver Stone)
5. Apollo 13 (Ron Howard)
6. A Few Good Men (Rob Reiner)
7. The Exorcist (1970’s Wildcard)
8. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (Joel Coen)
9. Clerks II (Kevin Smith)
10. Chicago (2000’s Wildcard)
11. Lincoln (Steven Spielberg)
12. Alice In Wonderland (Tim Burton)
13. The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (David Fincher)
14. The Wolf Of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese)
15. American Sniper (2010’s Wildcard)
16. Pearl Harbor (Michael Bay)
17. Rain Main (1980’s Wildcard)
18.* Mo’ Better Blues (Spike Lee)
19. Scary Movie 4 (David Zucker)
20. Death Proof (Quentin Tarantino)

(* Mike & Jud actually chose a second Michael Bay film in this slot and we missed it at the time. We awarded them “Mo’ Better Blues” post-draft as it was the best available Spike Lee film remaining.)

MARK BAUMHARDT
1. Goodfellas (Martin Scorsese)
2. Fargo (Joel Coen)
3. Jaws (Steven Spielberg)
4. Avatar (2000’s Wildcard)
5. Rocky (1970’s Wildcard)
6. Reservoir Dogs (Quentin Tarantino)
7. Malcolm X (Spike Lee)
8. Born On The Fourth Of July (Oliver Stone)
9. The Cottom Club* (Francis Ford Coppola)
10. Boyhood (2010’s Wildcard)
11. The Princess Bride (Rob Reiner)
12. Dogma (Kevin Smith)
13. Alien 3 (David Fincher)
14. The Silence Of The Lambs (1990’s Wildcard)
15. Beetlejuice (Tim Burton)
16. Tootsie (1980’s Wildcard)
17. Splash (Ron Howard)
18. Top Secret! (David Zucker)
19. Bad Boys II (Michael Bay)
20. Bottle Rocket (Wes Anderson)

(* typo courtesy of David Fisher, reprinted at the request/demand of Bill Stambaugh)

Scoring tabulation is underway and will be revealed soon. In the meantime, if you’ve read this far, feel free to fire off a vote of who was the best studio. And for those who are interested in participating in the next draft (because, oh yes, there will be more), drop me a line and let me know. Between changing up the directors, or switching to actors, or perhaps drafting 1 film per year for a certain years, the options are really endless in terms of how many drafts we can hold. Our nerdom knows no limits!

(Draftboard and stickers also courtesy of David Fisher, who as always, out-nerds me on his worst day)

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