Popular movies I haven’t seen in the last 15 years

A few months ago, Marco Arment listed which of the most popular movies he had seen in the past fifteen years.

This amused me because I’ve also notoriously not seen a lot of popular movies, so I was curious to find out whether I’d seen more or fewer of them than he had.

Below is the list, which is taken from all of the “best picture” Oscar nominees since 2000, and the top ten highest grossing films in that time period.

  • If the movie name is bold, I watched it and stayed awake through it
  • If the movie name is in italics, I strongly believe that I watched it, but I have no memory of it, probably because I fell asleep in the middle (or the beginning)
  • If the movie name hsa no special formatting, I didn’t watch it

2000

Traffic
Gladiator
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
What Women Want
Meet the Parents
Chocolat
Erin Brockovich
Mission: Impossible II
Cast Away
Dinosaur
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
The Perfect Storm
X-Men
What Lies Beneath

2000 total watched: 1 of 14

2001

A Beautiful Mind
Planet of the Apes

Monsters, Inc.
Ocean’s Eleven
Gosford Park
In the Bedroom
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Moulin Rouge
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Shrek
Pearl Harbor
The Mummy Returns
Jurassic Park III
Hannibal

2001 total watched: 2 of 14
Cumulative total watched: 3 of 28

2002

Gangs of New York
My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Spider-Man
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Men in Black II
Die Another Day
Minority Report
Chicago
The Hours
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
The Pianist
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Signs
Ice Age

2002 total watched: 2 of 14
Cumulative total watched: 5 of 42

2003

Lost in Translation
Finding Nemo
The Matrix Reloaded
The Matrix Revolutions
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Mystic River
Seabiscuit
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Bruce Almighty
The Last Samurai
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
X2
Bad Boys II

2003 total watched: 1 of 14
Cumulative total watched: 6 of 56

2004

Ray
The Incredibles
Ocean’s Twelve
Million Dollar Baby
The Aviator
Finding Neverland
Sideways
Shrek 2
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Spider-Man 2
The Passion of the Christ
The Day After Tomorrow
Meet the Fockers
Troy
Shark Tale

2004 total watched: 1 of 15
Cumulative total watched: 7 of 71

2005

Brokeback Mountain
Crash

Munich
Crash
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Capote
Good Night, and Good Luck
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
War of the Worlds
King Kong
Madagascar
Mr. and Mrs. Smith
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Batman Begins
Hitch

2005 total watched: 3 of 15
Cumulative total watched: 10 of 86
Cumulative total watched, but fell asleep: 1 of 10

2006

The Departed
Babel
Little Miss Sunshine
Casino Royale
Cars
Letters from Iwo Jima
The Queen
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
The Da Vinci Code
Ice Age: The Meltdown
Night at the Museum
X-Men: The Last Stand
Mission: Impossible III
Superman Returns
Happy Feet

2006 total watched: 2 of 15
Cumulative total watched: 12 of 101
Cumulative total watched, but fell asleep: 2 of 12

2007

No Country for Old Men
Juno
There Will Be Blood

Michael Clayton
Ratatouille
I Am Legend
Atonement
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Spider-Man 3
Shrek the Third
Transformers
The Simpsons Movie
National Treasure: Book of Secrets
300

2007 total watched: 4 of 15
Cumulative total watched: 16 of 116
Cumulative total watched, but fell asleep: 3 of 16

2008

Slumdog Millionaire
Milk
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

The Dark Knight
Quantum of Solace
WALL-E
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Frost/Nixon
The Reader
Kung Fu Panda
Hancock
Mamma Mia!
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
Iron Man
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

2008 total watched: 3 of 15
Cumulative total watched: 19 of 131
Cumulative total watched, but fell asleep: 5 of 19

2009

District 9
Precious
The Hangover

A Serious Man
The Hurt Locker
Avatar
The Blind Side
An Education
Inglourious Basterds
Up
Up in the Air
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
2012
The Twilight Saga: New Moon
Sherlock Holmes
Angels & Demons

2009 total watched: 4 of 18
Cumulative total watched: 23 of 149
Cumulative total watched, but fell asleep: 6 of 23

2010

The Social Network
Inception

<em
Toy Story 3
The Kings’ Speech
127 Hours
The Fighter
The Kids Are All Right
True Grit
Winter’s Bone
Alice in Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
Shrek Forever After
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Iron Man 2
Tangled
Despicable Me
How to Train Your Dragon

2010 total watched: 3 of 18
Cumulative total watched: 26 of 167
Cumulative total watched, but fell asleep: 7 of 26

2011

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
The Artist
The Descendants
The Help
Hugo
Midnight in Paris
Moneyball
The Tree of Life
War Horse
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1
Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol
Kung Fu Panda 2
Fast Five
The Hangover Part II
The Smurfs
Cars 2

2011 total watched: 1 of 19
Cumulative total watched: 27 of 186
Cumulative total watched, but fell asleep: 8 of 27

2012

Life of Pi
Skyfall
Argo
Amour
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Misérables
Lincoln
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty
The Avengers
The Dark Knight Rises
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Ice Age: Continental Drift
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2
The Amazing Spider-Man
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
The Hunger Games
Men in Black 3

2012 total watched: 1 of 19
Cumulative total watched: 28 of 205
Cumulative total watched, but fell asleep: 8 of 28

2013

Gravity
Her

The Wolf of Wall Street
American Hustle

Monsters University
12 Years a Slave
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
Nebraska
Philomena
Frozen
Iron Man 3
Despicable Me 2
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Fast & Furious 6
Man of Steel
Thor: The Dark World

2013 total watched: 4 of 18
Cumulative total watched: 32 of 223
Cumulative total watched, but fell asleep: 10 of 32

2014

American Sniper
Boyhood

Interstellar
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Birdman

The Imitation Game
Selma
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash
Transformers: Age of Extinction
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Guardians of the Galaxy
Maleficent
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

2014 total watched: 5 of 18
Cumulative total watched: 37 of 241
Cumulative total watched, but fell asleep: 13 of 37

So, of 241 wildly popular and/or highly esteemed movies from 2000 to 2014, I’ve seen 37, which is 15%. Of these, I’ve fallen asleep 35% of the time.

People Also Ask

Here’s a pretty unusual search result that I noticed today during an office conversation about animated series we all watched during the 1980s (except those of us who were transitioning from zygote to embryo at that time):

“People also ask” is pretty strange! The two arrows are clickable, and here’s what they look like when clicked:

So it’s clear that this is something similar to the related searches box that nearly always appears at the bottom of search result pages. In this case, the SERP still does have related searches1:

But what’s different? My query was for [keyword], a head term, and the related searches are for body terms: [keyword] + [games], [keyword] + [characters], [keyword] + [wiki], &c.

On the other hand, the “people also ask” section attempts to choose a few semantic questions, to answer them and to provide differentiating links to two different Wikipedia pages.

On the balance, this is not one of the better search results I’ve seen recently, for a few reasons:

  1. The “Transformers” that I had in mind was the television series from the 1980s, not the movie. But practically every link on this page is to information about the movie.
  2. There’s another kind of “transformers.” They’re electrical appliances upon which we all rely every day. They show up as a related search (electric transformers), but there’s no link on this search result that leads directly to any actual information about that kind of transformers.
  3. “People also ask” seems fairly hacked together and out of place.

I bet “People also ask” doesn’t last for very long, at least in its current form.


  1. The final three search results, by the way, are news results, not organic, which you can tell from the very thin and almost invisible gray line 

Bad SERP: basketball diameter

Basketball is happening around me (good news: I am not in last place in my office bracket pool thing) and I got curious, for some reason, about the dimensions of a basketball. So I asked Google: basketball diameter.

Most of this SERP is junk, but the first organic result is actually perfect, answering my question above the fold (and they even included the answer in the meta description, so I didn’t even have to click at all if I didn’t want to):

A standard NBA basketball is 9.43 to 9.51 inches in diameter, or 29 5/8 to 29 7/8 inches in circumference. It is inflated to a pressure of 7.5 to 8.5 pounds.

But instead of trusting their own organic search ranking algorithm to provide searchers with the best answer, Google scraped the #2 result to give me an incorrect answer: I specifically asked for the diameter of a basketball; what appeared above the search results was information about a basketball’s circumference. This is a very bad experience.

Google should stop scraping publishers’ sites to put answers directly in search results in cases where the nature of the question is strictly factual and where the facts would actually be wrong.

Pharma marketing 101

Shire, Maker of Binge-Eating Drug Vyvanse, First Marketed the Disease:

The retired tennis player Monica Seles spent this month making the rounds of television talk shows… to share her personal struggle with binge eating…

binge eating is a real medical condition…

Ms. Seles is a paid spokeswoman for Shire, which late last month won approval to market its top-selling drug, Vyvanse, to treat binge-eating disorder, a condition that once existed in the shadow of better-known disorders like anorexia and bulimia but was officially recognized as its own disorder in 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association.

As Shire introduces an ambitious campaign to promote Vyvanse but also to raise awareness about the disorder, some are saying the company is going too far to market a drug, a type of amphetamine, that is classified by the federal government as having a high potential for abuse…

The company helped put another once-stigmatized condition — attention deficit hyperactivity disorder — on the medical map and made billions of dollars from the sale of drugs, like Vyvanse and Adderall, to treat it…

Suppose you are a pharmaceutical company. You invest millions, billions, of dollars in laboratories and chemists, and at the end of a very long process, the outcome is a new drug. Let’s call it, for fun, Mezuyafir. You then have to figure out what conditions that drug can treat.

If it cures a diagnosable disease, that’s good! But if it just changes the chemical composition of people’s brains to make them more happy, more docile, more virile or more focused, that’s even better.

What you now need to do is come up with a medical condition that matches with your new drug. In some cases, the condition may be real and serious; in other cases the condition might be real but not very serious; in other cases the condition will inevitably be frivolous. Let’s call it Magafitis.

Then, though it is legal under many circumstances in the United States to market your new drug directly to consumers, you actually market the hell out of the condition with lots of crass commercial advertisements that advise people to “Talk to your doctor about” whatever problem that they never realized was a problem.

Hey, Magafitis can be serious! It’s a serious issue! Someone knows someone who knows someone who spent a year in bed recovering from Magafitis! And there is a whole forum on the internet for people to share stories and tips about how to find a doctor who takes Magafitis seriously.

Advertising works, so lots and lots and lots and lots of people are going to start asking their doctors about that issue. And the doctors out there – bless them all – are very good at prescribing drugs.

Suppose two thirds of the people who talk to their doctors about Magafitis get prescriptions to treat it. If your new drug Mezuyafir is the only one available that treats Magafitis, the condition that you just made up, then millions of people are going to start taking it, and you’re going to become very rich.

Welcome to pharma marketing.