Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Movies referenced in other movies have more lasting cultural value, statistics say

People who incessantly quote movies are not only not annoying, but surprisingly accurate barometers of said films’ cultural value, according to mathematicians. There’s just one catch, though: the person quoting the movie has to also be a filmmaker, and that reference has to be in another film or TV episode. Sorry, Borat-quoting office funny man.

This revelation comes from a study published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that found IMDB’s “Connections” feature to be the most accurate predictor of whether a film would later be deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the U.S. Library Of Congress. The films that received the most nods in other film and TV works 25 years or more after their release were also the ones most likely to be included in the National Film Registry, making a Simpsons parody even more significant than was previously thought. Reuters quotes Northwestern University’s Max Wasserman as saying the reference algorithm is “nearly infallible” with an accuracy rate of 91 percent. (Positive reviews from critics, awards wins, and box-office success were far less accurate.)


According to the study, Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory was past due for inclusion, having been referenced in 52 later works. And sure enough, shortly after the paper was submitted, the film was added to the National Film Registry in December. According to the algorithm, The Shining, Spartacus, and Dumbo should all be inducted shortly.

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