IMDB keywords are one of those beautiful ways the Internet’s subconscious leaks into visibility, with the site’s multitudes of users tagging films with whatever obsessions strike their fancy—“heart-shaped-box-of-chocolates,” “telephone-shaped-like-a-shoe,” and “police-officer-hand-chopped” all came up in a recent search, for instance. The crowd-sourced nature of the keywords means that coverage can be scattershot, but the system breaks down plot and visual elements of TV and movies into often-fascinating data sets.
Time magazine has put that data toward an interesting purpose, tracking 47 keywords, including “princess,” “suburbs,” and “main character dies,” by month of movie release and looking to see what trends emerge. To produce the impressively robust chart, they looked at more than 8,000 films to see when, for instance, movies featuring “cows,” “heroin,” and “erotica” are most likely to appear—June, October, and March, respectively, in case you wondered. The graph also allows users to search for other keywords, and Time’s site will spit out a new graph showing its incidence by month. It’s an interesting look at the trends that studios follow, consciously or unconsciously, when they set the release schedules for their films (even if we do wish Time would label their vertical axes so we could see exactly how many titles a peak in the graph represents).
And since August is apparently the month for films about ensembles of demonic drug-dealing teens who overcome the bounds of race with a friendship based on getting drunk and masturbating while looking at cheerleaders, expect a few more of those before the month is out.