Is this the worst film ever?

If you believe the film ratings at the Internet Movie Database, Gunday, a run-of-the-mill, or slightly above, 2014 Bollywood action movie, is the worst motion picture in the history of motion pictures, with a solid 1.4 rating. By comparison, Manos: The Hands of Fate scores an upbeat 1.9; no film scores lower than 1.8 except Gunday.

You might infer from this that there’s something to this other than actual film quality, especially if you read Danny Bowes’ review for (three out of four stars). And, sure enough, there is:

Gunday offended a huge, sensitive, organized and social-media-savvy group of people who were encouraged to mobilize to protest the movie by giving it the lowest rating possible on IMDb. Of Gunday’s ratings, 36,000 came from outside the U.S., and 91 percent of all reviewers gave it one star. The next lowest-rated movie on IMDb — 1.8 stars overall — has a more even distribution of ratings, with only 71 percent of reviewers giving it one star. The evidence suggests the push to down-vote Gunday was successful, and that shows just how vulnerable data can be, especially when it’s crowdsourced.

And which crowd might that be? Well, they’re called Gonojagoron Moncho, and this is how they did it:

Flush with success, the movement has since become an online alliance of bloggers focused on protecting Bangladesh’s history and promoting the country’s image. That includes protesting Gunday, because of the film’s reference to the Bangladesh Liberation War as the Indo-Pak war. In its first 11 minutes, the movie claims that India alone defeated Pakistan, and implies that an independent Bangladesh was simply a result of the fight… On Twitter, activists used the hashtag #GundayHumiliatedHistoryOfBangladesh to get the word out about the protests and to ask supporters to bury the film on IMDb. (By using a quarter of their character allotment on the hashtag alone, though, there wasn’t much room for the activists to elaborate.) Facebook groups were formed specifically to encourage irate Bangladeshis and others to down-vote the movie.

I haven’t voted on a film on IMDb in several years; I don’t think I’ll start again, if only because this is yet another outcropping of the absurd idea that a mass of opinions means more than a single one. Anything times zero is zero, after all.

(Via this Virginia Postrel tweet.)

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