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Teen Movie Madness: A Statistical Analysis

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Teen Movie Madness: A Statistical Analysis

Yay, it's Wednesday! A day typically reserved for a Norse god of death or an Addams child of also-kind-of-death, this week's edition means another day closer to Teen Movie Madness results OMG FYA WHY YOU GOTTA BE SO... MEANNNNN!?

But y'all: I can't divulge ANYTHING about the results. We've all been sworn to secrecy -- I'm talkin' Pacey-and-Paul-Walker blood oath shizz.* And I won't even bother dropping ambiguous hints, because no one likes a poll tease.

*OK, it's more like an unspoken LadyNerd accord.

What I can do is take a look back at the Madness that was! With stats! (Err, with the stats I'm allowed to tell you!) As inspired by awesome commentor StephPal, I looked into the number of March Madness movies that each actor appeared in. And then because I can't help myself, I found even MORE numbers! And maybe new arguments for the two-day age-old debate of 10 Things vs. Clueless!

Statisical Disclaimer: This analysis is only based on the finished rounds, so the data involving 10 Things or Clueless are subject to change.


One thing that kept popping up throughout this bracket was the generational divide amongst voters. In fact, there's even a glorious GIF devoted to it.

Since we can't retroactively collect the voter ages associated with the 56,054 votes* that have been cast prior to the final round, let's look at the movies themselves to make some wild assumptions about the great age debate.

*WHOA and major thanks to y'all! You're the ones who made this so much fun!

In terms of both quantity and quality (i.e. number of rounds a movie has lasted), the '80s reigned supreme; that trend held true for the years that have the most March Madness participants, 1985 and 1999. And OH HAY, '99 includes 10 Things I Hate About You!*

Even with 10 Things pulling up the curve, the movies of '99 only averaged a measly 1.8 rounds (I mean, just look at that list again). Despite its own stinker (Weird Science, which was dealt a decisive first-round blow by none other than Cher Horowitz), the '85s stuck around for 2.8 rounds.

But pound for pound, the best multi-movie year is 1986. Pretty in Pink rode on the coattails of Ferris Bueller to score 1986 an average of 3.5 rounds. On the flip side, 2001 and 2008 produced nothing but one-and-dones (Get Over It and Save the Last Dance**; Angus and Nick and Norah).

*Clueless is the sole '95er, BTW -- i.e. literally in a class of its own!

**Starring the worst part of 10 Things, Julia Stiles.***

***I swear not all of these stats will be so against 10 Things! I am but an indentured slave to science, and science sez Julia Stiles sucks.


Guys, this category is just WAY too subjective. But basically: there are a lot of comedies, and there's a lot of romance; some may even be considered a com-rom. There are also a heckuva lot of adaptations and retellings (20 in total, lasting 2.2 rounds each). And, of course, both remaining movies belong to all these categories.

And now, the individual awards! Both quantity and quality matter here: only people involved in the most number of movies qualified, and then their March Madness scores were compared. But where statistics kind of fails us (more on that later), the final ruling was made by the March Madness Statistical Community (of one).


BISH PLZ. Like there's any other choice.

Two noteworthy items:

1.  Not that he needed help for this victory, but John Hughes also wrote both Howard Deutsch joints. 

2.  While the work of the others spanned around a handful of years, Amy Heckerling's movies have a whole teenager between them (13 years), making her relevant in both the '80s and the '90s.


These races were much closer (and, er, in fact, one of them didn't technically win their category), but still very much a no-brainer.

"Bow down, bishes!"


When I was compiling these list of actors, I came across a dilemma re: leading vs. supporting roles. Some decisions were easier to make than others (sorry, Anthony Michael Hall's mom, though I doubt you would've wanted to qualify for Motherboy XXVIII anyway), but there's no useful resource to tell me things like amount of screen time or amount of dialogue, etc.* meaning I'd need firsthand data for all sixty-freakin'-four movies. Meatloaf moment, y'all -- 'cause I'd do anything for FYA, but I WON'T DO THAT.

*Credits order is useless, since some movies do that whole 'in order of appearance' schtick. Which: NO! Screw their fragile egos! Rank the actors in order of importance! C'mon, stir some shit up!

In the end, I chose to just forge ahead and figure out what to do with my data afterwards. (Just like real science!) Which worked out for the most part, except I had to throw out the scores for Chris Owen and Nicole Bilderback -- no offense to them. Except total offense, because I've just deemed their careers as insignificant and unworthy of my shoddy scholarly science.

And before y'all serenade your screens like the Hogwarts Owlery, this is who the eff they are:

You may remember Chris Owen from Can't Hardly Wait (but I surely don't), the frenemy creep to Jason Biggs' gang in American Pie (or as I'd like to think: a live-version Upchuck from Daria), or the bully who had to eat pube pizza in She's All That. His score barely registered anyway -- all first-round ousters -- so it was inconsequential.

On the other hand, Nicole Bilderback initiated Suck and Blow at the Val party! And she was also in Can't Hardly Wait, because who wasn't!? Plus, her little sister Jamie is really teeny and would be easy to toss.

Technically, she's still in play and only needs one more round to tie for the throne that's so rightfully Molly Ringwald's. But COME ON; even she'd agree with my ruling. Disqualified!

ANYWAY, the greatest number of March Madness movies that anyone appeared in is three, for some strange reason. (OMG the Power of Three will set you free! Ahem.) So let's take a look at who else was in the running:

As y'all can plainly see, there were shenanigans afoot. While I love Paul Rudd*, his teen movie filmography pales in comparison to AMH's. Case in point: name the movie that his middle picture is from. EXACTLY. (And even if you guessed correctly, that still proves my point.)

*Who doesn't?! Er, well I guess about a third of you don't.

On the ladies' side, 10 Things is healthily represented by three members of its strong supporting cast. In fact, Gabrielle Union is ALSO one round away from tying Molly Ringwald's score -- so, of course, she had to be stopped. (And OBVS, just compare the roles: 3 leading vs. 1ish.) I'm kind of surprised by Kirsten Dunst's low score, since she had a whole bracket named after her. Also, I'm very delighted by some of the bitchfaces featured in this graph.

For those of you who can't get enough of numbers, OMG we should be BFFs here are complete-ish lists of the actors and actresses from Teen Movie Madness:


So in conclusion: 10 Things and Clueless may be the last ones standing, but the '80s are statistically proven to be THE BEST; why'd y'all have to vote them all out?

Mandy Wan's photo About the Author: Residing in Edmonton, AB, Mandy unabashedly loves YA lit, frozen desserts, and terrible puns.