I have to admit that I am a huge Netflix fan. I mean, I like Hulu and Amazon for my instant movies as well, but there’s something about the convenience of streaming Netflix quickly and easily on all of my devices – my computer, our family Wii console, all of our smartphones and of course my Android tablet.
We can watch movies everywhere – it’s awesome.
The thing that I struggled with for a long time though, was finding good movies to watch. Netflix tries to do its best to show you movie possibilities that match your past viewing habits, but when you have a family of four or more, it really messes up the whole algorithm.
Most of my colleagues here at MUO agree with me. Matt listed Netflix as one of the 6 best streaming media services online, and Jessica covered one useful tool called Better Queue for finding good movies.
Ultimately, that’s what I want to focus on in this article – Jessica’s idea of tools that can make the Netflix experience a little easier and a whole lot better.
Going Beyond Your Netflix Search
When I’m looking for a good movie to watch on a Friday night after work, the last thing I want to do is sit there for a couple hours sifting through old, outdated movies that I really would never watch even if you paid me. And the suggestions that Netflix offers are based on what my kids choose, since they use Netflix more than I do.
Trust me, I’m not into Good Luck Charlie or Toddlers Tiaras.
In addition to Better Queue, which Jessica recommended, there are a few other tools that can also help you save a ton of time when you’re looking for that perfect movie.
Instant Watcher is one of my favorites, and is constantly updated with the best and most popular movies on Netflix.
If you want to see what everyone else is watching lately, just go over the right navigation bar and look for the movies that have been “Queued in the Last Minute” – these are the hottest movies on Netflix as of the moment you’re searching.
Or, if you’re just looking for the latest movies that are out, go to the center window where you’ll find the “New & Noteworthy” movies.
For each movie you’ll see the icon, the release year, a ranking of user ratings from Netflix, and any critical reviews that are available. Everything you need to pick a great movie is right there at your fingertips – no scrolling through countless “classic” movies from the 1950′s just to get to the newest, cool movies.
Of course, if you are looking for some of those older movies that you’ve always loved, you’ll want to scroll down the screen to the “Notable Titles Expiring Soon” section, where you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find some of the best movies you loved during your childhood.
Take another stroll down memory lane before the titles expire!
Another great site to enhance your Netflix experience is DVDLater. This site is all about finding the latest and greatest movies available. It’s about putting movies that are only in the theater right into your queue before they are even available on Netflix.
The latest movies coming out on Netflix soon are updated often right on the main page of the site.
When you see one that you’re dying to see the moment it becomes available on Netflix, just click “Save to Queue” and viola – it’s saved to your Netflix queue.
When it becomes available on Netflix, you’ll get it in the mail. What I love about this is how little time it takes. I make it a part of my schedule to review the new updates on DVDLater on a weekly basis. If you do that, you’ll have a healthy list of movies that you really want to see, all stored up on your queue and ready for when it becomes available.
One of my favorite online apps for finding Netflix movies is a very popular one called Netflix Pivot View.
When you first arrive at the site, it just looks like a massive map of tiny little icons. The icons are sorted by user Rating, and you can narrow or widen the ratings filter on the left pane.
Click on any of those tiny little icons, and it’ll zoom right in and give you a quick synopsis of that movie. You can also scroll in any direction to browse all of the movies in the map.
Of course, in my opinion the real value of this web app comes into play when you click on the bar chart icon. This organizes the movie icon map from left to right in order of ranking. If you only want to see movies with a ranking over 3.7, then you know which columns to click on and browse through.
You can also filter the listed movies by things like genre, year released, director and more. In my opinion this is one of the fastest and easiest ways to find a movie that’s appropriate for the audience.
For example, if we have ultra-conservative visitors coming over, I’ll filter out movies with a bad MPAA rating, and then find the remaining movies that are highly rated. So far, Pivot View hasn’t failed us.
Another great site for finding popular movies – especially if you are interested in how other people rate the movies – is WhichFlicks.
At this site, it lets you filter movies based on either Netflix stars, or you can even use ratings from Rotten Tomatoes. There’s also a useful “appropriate audience” option if you’re looking for movies for kids or “sensitive” adults.
Click on one of the movies and you have the option to add it to your Netflix Queue or actually launch it instantly right from this site.
The cool thing about this site is that it’s also tightly integrated with other movie services like Redbox, iTunes and Amazon – so if you get your movie fix from multiple sources, this is the site for you.
The last tool that I wanted to mention in this list is called Raging Netflix Queue, and it’s actually a Chrome extension. What this extension does is lets you integrate your Netflix activity with your normal web browsing for movies. So, if you land on a page that features a movie, you’ll see the green “Add this to your Netflix Queue” icon show up.
If you read the review on the page and like the movie, just click that tool and the movie will get added to your Netflix queue automatically.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t even count the times when I’ve read a review and thought to myself that I’m going to have to watch that particular movie. Then, a week or a month later when I’m looking to watch a movie, for the life of me I can’t remember what the movie title was. This Netflix tool lets you immediately save the movie so you can go into your Netflix account and watch it or add it to your DVD delivery queue any time.
So, are you an online movie-streaming addict too? Do you use any cool Netflix tools that help you find good movies faster? Share your own tool ideas and tips in the comments section below.
Image Credit: Portrait of a couple watching a movie via Shutterstock