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When Film Scripts Get Ranked By Reading Level, Some Prize-Winners Tank

glengarryembedPhoto: Courtesy of New Line Cinema.
An intelligent film is more than just the sum of its words. To illustrate this point, data-geek Dan Kozikowski ran the 950 scripts available on IMDB through an application called Lingua to determine their readability level. He used the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level scale, which essentially determines the difficulty of a given piece of text by calculating the sentence complexity, including their length and number of syllables. A higher score is supposed to indicate a more difficult read.
The results are a little surprising. The most pitiful score went to David Mamet's Pulitzer Prize-winning Glengarry Glen Ross. From a purely analytic point of view, this makes sense: The play's dialogue is primarily short declarative sentences composed of disyllabic and four-letter words. Take, for example, one of Blake's famous rants: