Refzee comes from a simple concept: art influences art. With that in mind, we developed a database of content that influences movies. With everything from simple references to remakes, we chart the story of content through all the movies we love. Everything on Refzee starts with one connection—and builds out to a massive, all-encompassing network of pop culture references.
Connections include every reference — a movie, a movie quote, or a YouTube channel featuring a movie. Connections added to “influence type” creates the simple formula of how influential a movie is.
We develop the “Movie Influence Score” by adding up a cumulative score based on organic promotions. It’s “organic” since, typically, these promotions get done without the knowledge or involvement of the creative teams or the film rights holders (with a few exceptions, of course).
Each of these promotions has a different weight on the score. Let’s take this example: The movie “American Pie Presents: Girls Rules” (from 2020) quotes the film “Jaws.” In this case, “Jaws” will get a slight increase in its influence score. The movie “Zombeavers,” on the other hand, did a complete parody/spoof of the “Jaws”—therefore giving it a higher influence score, as it solely influenced a scene in the movie.
There’s another type of movie-to-movie influence: the franchise. That means a sequel/prequel, remake/reboot, crossover, or adaptation. These films score the highest, simply because without the first film, there would be no sequel or remake! This extends all the way out to books, video games, television (think of how many movies “Family Guy” or “The Simpsons” have spoofed, for example), and other sources.
Beyond the movie-to-movie influence, we also use influences from social media; this currently includes YouTube reviewers and lists videos from sites like WhatCulture and Watchmojo.
This influence type can include a direct quote or paraphrase. Examples of quotes would be lines from “Jaws” (“You’re going to need a bigger boat”) or “Field of Dreams” (“if you build it, he will come.”)
This is a direct reference (mentioned, acted out, or visible reference) to another work of fiction intending to poke fun. This could be simple as Shrek doing an impersonation of “Taxi Driver” or the movie “The Starving Games” parodying the entire “The Hunger Games” film.
If a movie has a sequel or prequel, we will use this type.
This is a visible reference seen in many movies—whether it is a movie poster in the protagonist’s room or a scene in a movie rental store. These types of references, albeit small, almost always pay tribute to the films that came before it (us).
This reference type focuses on something visual that has a direct reference to another movie or subject, for example, a portrait of Abraham Lincoln or an E.T. doll visible in an episode of “Dawson’s Creek.”
This refers to either a fictional character or a real-life person being portrayed in movies. Examples of this would be Napoleon Bonaparte in “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” or even a cameo by Leif Gerret, playing himself in “Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star.”
This is a simple reference to another work of fiction in the title, primarily used with individual episodes of TV shows.
This type of influence could relate to a theme borrowed (think “Citizen Kane”), or most likely, this type of reference is attributed by the filmmakers as “inspiration.”
This reference type comes when a movie is being referenced to another subject. This could be a YouTube video “featuring” a movie or even a historical event like WWII.
Mentioned (General Reference) – This is a simple and most likely a direct reference. “The Matrix” references “The Wizard of Oz” or “Fight Club” mentioning the Mona Lisa.
Used anytime a work of fiction changes medium. Here are a few examples: video games to movies, movies to video games, comic book to movie, a novelization of a film, a cartoon to live-action film, a live-action film to a cartoon, a book to movie, a short story to movie… and many others.
This type comes in two flavors: a clip shown either on a tv screen in a scene or footage edited into another movie. The latter may be harder to identify without Refzee, but there is a clip being featured either way.
Is there a difference? Probably. Love them or hate them, we got them all. Mockbuster – Although this could be a genre in its own right (in fact, it is on Refzee), simply put, this reference type is a blatant ripoff of another movie or work of fiction.
A character, concept, or event from one feature film gets its own showcase. Think about the recent “Hobbes and Shaw” spinoff from the “Fast and Furious” franchise.
This type mostly gets used for a song, but some movies have instrumental songs/themes that could get featured in other movies. An example would be “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”… or literally anything by John Williams.