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It’s time for me to confess something to all you good folks out there in MakeUseOfland. I am a movie addict. I cannot help myself. I don’t have the time or inclination to watch TV these days, but movies, whether being played in a theater or at home, demand my attention. I have a wall full of DVDs and Blu-rays, many of which I have watched, some that have never even made it out of the wrapper. And yet I keep buying more.
There is something magical about movies. In the space of two hours a whole story is told from beginning to end. With a middle that hopefully leaves you feeling something, anything, for the characters and the situation they found themselves in. Not all movies are created equal, of course, and there are as many bad ones as there are good. Which is where the Web comes in to its own.
Choosing A Movie
However much we may love movies, it doesn’t make the process of choosing one to watch any easier. Those of us who are naturally indecisive will still have trouble selecting a movie to suit our preferences at any given moment. The more genres of movies that you enjoy, the worse it is, as it increases the options open to you.
I personally wait until I decide to watch a movie, and then (and only then) scroll through my collection to see which I fancy viewing at that time. If there are a number of possibilities then it’s a matter of paring them down until just one is left.
However, there are other options out there; options designed to simplify the process of choosing a movie. Below are three of the best tools for helping you decide which movie to watch based on your mood at the time. The question is, do they work?
Criticker is a website with a community of movie lovers who rank, review, list, and discuss films of all kinds. You can either create an account in order to open up new features, or merely make the occasional guest visit and use the resources open to everybody. In order to get recommendations you will need to sign up for an account with a valid email address.
Once you have an account you can click on Recommendations… but until you’ve ranked movies you like and dislike, the films presented to you are pretty meaningless. Therefore it’s a good idea to give valid scores to films you have already seen in order for the site to build a picture of your tastes.
After ranking 20 films I clicked on Recommendations and was presented with a list of films I either had no interest in or didn’t even recognize. I ranked another 30, making it 50 over all, and the same happened again. However, all of the films recommended had extremely high ratings – of 90 and above – so the Criticker community is effectively saying, “While you may never have heard of these, you really should check them out.”
For: Those willing to dedicate time to a community, and who are open to non-mainstream recommendations.
Jinni is a website currently in beta that aims to help you “watch what you wish for.” Once again you have the option of signing up for an account, and once again you’ll need to do so to get the best recommendations presented to you. However, even without signing up you can browse a selection of movies sorted by mood, plot, genre, and various other parameters.
Clicking on Humorous brought up the likes of Wall-E, Superbad, and Shaun of the Dead. While clicking on Clever brought up Dr. Strangelove, The Big Lebowski, and Being John Malkovich. These are strong movies and strong matches to the moods that were selected. You can then add in more parameters to narrow the search, and the results are surprisingly good.
Like Criticker you’ll need to rate some movies before you can obtain recommendations. Having rated more than the required 10, I clicked on Recommendations and was presented with a list of films that included titles I’ve not only heard of but have previously considered watching. Jinni updates the list of recommendations once each day when you sign in to the site.
For: Those with mainstream tastes, and who like to narrow down their search in a careful manner.
Gnovies is the movies section of Gnod, an effort to add an element of AI to the process of finding new content to consume. There is no option to sign up to Gnovies. Instead, everything is kept very clean and very simple. There are two ways of gaining movie recommendations using Gnovies: Gnod’s Suggestions and the Movie Map.
Gnod’s Suggestions requires you to type in three movies you already know and like. I typed in The Matrix, Star Wars, and The Proposal, and was presented with The Ugly Truth (a rom-com that most fans of Star Wars and The Matrix would detest). I tried again with The Shawshank Redemption, Inception, and Shaun Of The Dead, and was presented with Hot Fuzz (the spiritual sequel to Shaun Of The Dead that has nothing in common with the other two films mentioned).
The Movie Map simply asks you to type in the name of a movie you like in order for it to be presented in a floating graphic with other similar movies. The closer two films are on the map, the more likely an individual is to like both of them. I typed in Forrest Gump and was recommended The Blues Brothers, Leon, Kill Bill, and Life Is Beautiful. All of which I have both seen and liked.
For: Those who like to keep things simple, and already have some idea of the film they want to watch.
Of the three tools tested I’d choose Jinni above the other two. The combination of strong recommendations based on personal movie rankings, and a great system for paring movie choices down using a selection of parameters, makes it the best option overall. It also offers usefulness for both those in a hurry and those willing to put the time and effort in.
The other two are also worthy of checking out. Criticker has a great community feel, and will be appreciated by movie lovers who like to veer away from the mainstream in order to find hidden gems. And Gnovies is great for those in a hurry to find a new film to watch, with its Movie Map offering a simple solution for those in need of a quick fix.
There is also the tried and trusted IMDb. If you head to the site and find a movie, director, or actor you love then you’re never more than a few clicks away from finding new movies that you’ll want to check out. It may be a simple method, but it works more often than not. Let us know how you match movies to your mood, and what you think of the three tools highlighted in this article.
Image Credits: Thai Handicrafts,