Fantasy Film Draft – 1990 Recap

Because I am a giant stat nerd, I’ve decided to do a deep dive on the numbers surrounding our recent Fantasy Film Draft to see just what, if anything, we learned. The first and most obvious answer is that throwing 13 friends into a room and having them Rank & Draft (TM pending) movies from various years will produce wildly varying results. The ballot reveal process was, well… revealing. Movies I thought were beloved by all were met with indifference (and even hostility), while movies I figured nobody thought much of inspired some unexpected devotion. In the end it was clear that predicting how your friends feel about the movies you’ve all seen (or should have seen) is impossible, which is also what made the game a lot of fun..

What follows is the first of many posts I will make in which I’ll be sharing the basic stats for the films we ranked (by year). Included will be the film’s final ranking in that particular year, its ranking overall among all years, the total points it accumulated (lower is better), it’s average rank, and then who the high and low voters were for that particular film. After that I’ll do some analysis to see if I can figure out what it all means (probably nothing).

(Note: the overall rank is a bit misleading because it is based on the cumulative ranking within a given year. Since we weren’t asked to rank all 320 films against each other, a film might very well appear higher overall than a film we might collectively like more based solely on the fact that it did well in an otherwise weak year. Stats can be fun, but as the mighty Belicheck once said, “stats are for losers”.)


1990 rank: 2nd; overall rank: 37th; 72 points; 5.5 avg; high: 1 (Glenn); low: 16 (Jon)
Drafted: Mark (3rd round, 33rd overall)

Back To The Future Part III
1990 rank: 13th; overall rank: 216th; 163 points; 12.5 avg; high: 3 (Glenn); 20 (Kristen)
Drafted: Michelle (16th round, 200th overall)

Dances With Wolves
1990 rank: 4th; overall rank: 42nd; 76 points; 5.8 avg; high: 2 (Chris, Michelle); low: 11 (Adam)
Drafted: Bill (5th round, 64th overall)

Days Of Thunder
1990 rank: 17th; overall rank: 279th; 196 points; 15.1 avg; high: 9 (Glenn); low: 20 (Mark)
Drafted: N/A

Dick Tracy
1990 rank: 15th; overall rank: 239th; 175 points; 13.5 avg; high: 5 (Lisa); low: 20 (David, Gordon)
Drafted: N/A

Die Hard 2
1990 rank: 9th; overall rank: 154th; 133 points; 10.2 avg; high: 5 (Kristin); low: 17 (Adam)
Drafted: Kristin (15th round, 185 overall)

Edward Scissorhands
1990 rank: 7th; overall rank: 82nd; 102 points; 7.8 avg; high: 2 (Adam, Lisa), low: 16 (Gordon)
Drafted: Lisa (1st round, 4th overall)

1990 rank: 12th; overall rank: 176th; 145 points; 11.2 avg; high: 5 (Glenn); low: 19 (Bill)
Drafted: N/A

1990 rank: 1st; overall rank: 1st; 15 points; 1.2 avg; high: 1 (Adam, Andy, Bill, Chris, David, Gordon, Kristen, Kristin, Mark, Michelle, Lisa), low: 2 (Glenn, Jon)
Drafted: Adam (1st round, 1st overall)

Home Alone
1990 rank: 10th; overall rank: 173rd; 143 points; 11.0 avg; high: 2 (Andy); low: 19 (Mark)
Drafted: Andy (10th round, 120th overall)

Miller’s Crossing
1990 rank: 6th; overall rank: 80th; 101 points; 7.8 avg; high: 3 (Chris, Mark, Lisa); low: 20 (Glenn)
Drafted: Chris (14th round, 178th overall)

1990 rank: 3rd; overall rank: 40th; 75 points; 5.8 avg; high: 2 (Kristin); low: 10 (Glenn)
Drafted: Kristen (4th round, 51st overall)

Pacific Heights
1990 rank: 18th; overall rank: 281st; 197 points; 15.2 avg; high: 4 (Jon); low: 19 (Adam, Glenn)
Drafted: N/A

Pretty Woman
1990 rank: 11th; overall rank: 175th; 144 points; 11.1 avg; high: 2 (Kristen); low: 19 (Gordon)
Drafted: Glenn (7th round, 86th overall)

Pump Up The Volume
1990 rank: 14th; overall rank: 219th; 165 points; 12.7 avg; high: 1 (Jon); low: 19 (David)
Drafted: Jon (15th round, 192nd overall)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
1990 rank: 19th; overall rank: 295th; 206 points; 15.8 avg; high: 5 (Andy): low: 20 (Bill, Jon)
Drafted: N/A

The Adventures Of Ford Fairlane
1990 rank: 20th; overall rank: 316th; 231 points; 17.8 avg; high: 9 (Gordon); low: 20 (Adam, Chris, Kristen, Michelle, Lisa)
Drafted: N/A

The Godfather: Part III
1990 rank: 16th; overall rank: 255th; 182 points; 14.0 avg; high: 3 (Jon); low: 20 (Andy)
Drafted: N/A

The Hunt For Red October
1990 rank: 5th; overall rank: 58th; 86 points; 6.6 avg; high: 2 (David, Gordon); low: 13 (Glenn)
Drafted: David (7th round, 91st overall)

Total Recall
1990 rank: 8th; overall rank: 128th; 123 points; 9.5 avg; high: 3 (David); low: 16 (Michelle)
Drafted: Gordon (14th round, 177th overall)

The first thing that jumps out about 1990 is what a complete and utter juggernaut Goodfellas was. It wound up with the lowest overall total of any film we ranked (a good thing), with 11 of the 13 players ranking it #1 for the year and the other two slotting it in at #2, giving it an average rank of 1.2. The second place film (Awakenings) averaged a 5.5 ranking. Crazy. The only other film in the draft that came close to such universal appreciation was The Shawshank Redemption. Goodfellas simply cleaned up.

The next thing I notice is that only one other film managed to rank within everybody’s top ten – Misery (although Dances With Wolves just missed out thanks to Adam’s 11 ranking), hammering home just how crazy it is that Goodfellas did what it did. On the flip side every single film of the 20 managed at least one top 10 ranking, with Days Of Thunder (Glenn) and The Adventures Of Ford Fairlane (me) both slipping into the party with a 9 placing. Fairlane wound up last among all the films, but Days Of Thunder actually clawed its way to 17th thanks in part to two films who also only scored one top 10 finish (Pacific Heights, propped up by Jon’s 4th place finish and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles held in high enough esteem by Andy’s childhood memories to earn a 5th place vote).

With Goodfellas dominating, only 2 other films received first place votes. Glenn’s pick of Awakenings falls fairly in line with the consensus, with everybody save for Kristin’s 11 and Jon’s 16 slotting it comfortably inside the top 10. Jon’s #1 though, was a real outlier, as he gave his vote to Pump Up The Volume, which aside from my #3 ranking didn’t climb higher than 7 on any other ballot and featured three 16 rankings and three 17. The gap of 18 slots between its high (1) and low (19) is the greatest of any film in the year, though four films were hot on its tail with a gap of 17 slots: Back To The Future Part III (3/20); Home Alone (2/19); Pretty Woman (2/19); The Godfather: Part III (3/20). Meanwhile 7 different films garnered a 2nd place vote, which goes to show that after Goodfellas it was a bit of a crapshoot. The second closest gap after that film’s difference of 1 slot (again, crazy!) was Misery, whose high/low differential checks in at 8 (2/10).

Of course the caveat to all this extraneous math is that some films ranked as low as they did merely because the voter in question had never actually seen it, although I have to say, if they haven’t found the time to do so after 27 years, odds are it’s not going to fair well if they ever actually do.

Now let’s take a look at where the films were drafted in comparison to where they wound up in the overall rankings. As a collective, we did pretty well taking the right films, as the 13 films drafted came from the top 14 films point-wise, with only Ghost (at #12) going undrafted in favor of films that were behind it on the points list. Of course the gap was pretty high, as there was an 18 point drop from Ghost’s 145 to Back To The Future’s 163 (taken by Michelle) and a 20 point drop to Pump Up The Volume’s 165 (taken by Jon). Given that Jon had the film ranked #1 overall for the year though, you can see why he did it. Plus, he still only drafted it 27 slots higher than it’s overall rank, which is pretty close.

As for those drafted films that *weren’t* close, Lisa’ selection of Edward Scissorhands stands out as one of the biggest reaches of the draft, taking the film 4th overall when it wound up 82nd in the final rankings. Meanwhile Chris got one of the bargains of the day by taking Miller’s Crossing (80th overall) at pick #178. He basically waited 13 rounds and 174 picks after Lisa to grab a film that was 1 vote better. Other notables: Glenn reaching for Pretty Woman at #86 only to have it finish at #175; Andy going too early for Home Alone (drafted 120, finished 173); Kristin’s 30 slot bargain with Die Hard 2 (drafted 185, finished 154), and my lucky stab at Total Recall netting me 49 places (drafted 177, finished 128). Everything else was drafted within shouting distance of where it ultimately ranked, making them reasonable picks.

For those who want to see how the films ranked for the year without having to hunt-and-peck through the above list, below is a list of the final rankings for the year, along with their final point total.

1. Goodfellas (15)
2. Awakenings (72)
3. Misery (72)
4. Dances With Wolves (76)
5. The Hunt For Red October (86)
6. Miller’s Crossing (101)
7. Edward Scissorhands (102)
8. Total Recall (123)
9. Die Hard 2 (133)
10. Home Alone (143)
11. Pretty Woman (144)
12. Ghost (145)
13. Back To The Future Part III (163)
14. Pump Up The Volume (165)
15. Dick Tracy (175)
16. The Godfather: Part III (182)
17. Days Of Thunder (196)
18. Pacific Heights (197)
19. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (206)
20. The Adventures Of Ford Fairlane (231)

So there you have it, a whole lot of numbers that amount to a whole lot of nothing. Circle back around in a couple of days and I might have some analysis on 1991. Or I might just drop the whole thing when I move onto the next shiny object my mind latches onto. Who can say, really.


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