Movies White People Like

mad menThe NYTimes has a super cool map of 100 Netflix rentals showing distribution by zip code in twelve cities, including LA. For those of us interested in how cultural taste intersects with and reinforces demographic and economic differences, clicking through the titles is pretty fascinating. There are some fairly obvious examples of stuff white people like, as in the Mad Men map pictured here (click to make it bigger). Lakeview Terrace, not so much. Other titles defy expectations (well, mine at least). It surprises and depresses me, for example, that Confessions of a Shopaholic seems to have universal appeal. And when you get tired of looking at the distribution pictures, you can get a healthy dose of snark by reading the blurbs about the films, which include, because it’s the New York Times, some solid LA mockery. They describe The Soloist thusly:

These are a few of the ghosts who haunt Los Angeles, that Mecca of Fabulousness where you can go for weeks (and invariably by car) without smelling the reek of other people’s desperation. That helps explain why Hollywood types tend not to set their camera sights on homeless men, women and children, unless they’re good for a little uplift (as in the Will Smith vehicle “The Pursuit of Happyness”). Homeless people are generally, pardon the pun, bummers–they also can’t afford tickets.

City rivalry aside, this is really nifty. If you’re anything of a map geek or a movie geek, check it out.

(Thanks to Google Maps Mania for the link.)

5 Replies to “Movies White People Like”

  1. I checked out the results of the movie Grand Torino. Strangely it was heavily rented in San Marino.

    Some movies are not rented but purchased due to low holiday prices so you can only go so far in making generalizations. Those in the movie industry get a break in purchasing movies like say for Paramount.

  2. I spent a long time looking at this yesterday. What I noticed was not only racial differences (one of Tyler Perry’s movies being heavily popular in South Central, Watts, Compton, etc.; same with Obsessed), but seeming class ones as well. Paul Blart: Mall Cop was popular EVERYWHERE except for the Westside and the coastal South Bay.

    Also, I was expecting Mad Men to be a lot more popular than it was on the Westside. Maybe everyone had already seen it on TV. And there are still a few movies that were universally popular–Benjamin Button and Slumdog Millionaire, especially. I guess there’s still the possibility for something to reach across all divides and find a massive audience.

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