Matching Movies To Your Mood: Do These Tools Work?

Dave Parrack 15-11-2012

movies for your moodIt’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

movies for your mood

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?



movies for moods

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.

movies for moods


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.


movies for moods

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.

movies for good mood

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.



movies for good mood

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).

movies for your mood

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, Andres Rueda

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  1. Farhad Shah
    December 31, 2012 at 10:14 am

    super information!

  2. Junil Maharjan
    November 18, 2012 at 4:48 am

    This can be pretty useful sometimes

  3. sakthi vel
    November 17, 2012 at 5:42 am

    I'm a big movie lover,Its very useful one.

  4. Prasanth Mathialagan
    November 16, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Gnovies is awesome!!!

  5. Terafall
    November 16, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Criticker is great.It helped me find a lot of movies that I never heard before

  6. Lisa Santika Onggrid
    November 16, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    I drop by IMDb every now and then for information, but don't bother much with the reviews. I've learnt that review would give me some kind of 'pre-conditioning' so I already expect something to be good or bad before I actually watched it.More than once I like low starred movies while seriously detesting high-ranked movies. I'd just read the synopsis and watch.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 16, 2012 at 9:24 pm

      You're completely right, you should never go on reviews too much. The critics especially seem to appreciate films that mainstream moviegoers couldn't care less about.

  7. infmom
    November 16, 2012 at 12:06 am

    Sometimes I'm in the mood to watch a really, truly stupid movie. But not stupid in the sense of pretty much anything Adam Sandler's ever done. Creatively stupid, like most of Ben Stiller's movies.

    Or a really, really bad movie. Sometimes I just want to sit back with something like "The Awakening" with Charlton Heston and Stephanie Zimbalist, or "Omen III." (Although I watch that because I'm a long-time Sam Neill appreciator.)

    Is there an app that will pick something that's stupid enough or bad enough to be more entertaining than it ought to be? That's what I'd like to have.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 16, 2012 at 9:22 pm

      That's a tough ask. You could always use IMDb or Metacritic and start from the bottom up... if you see a lowly rated film with the odd positive review it could be for you.

      Is it bad that I like several of Sandler's movies? Little Nicky and Happy Gilmore especially.

  8. Saikat Basu
    November 15, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Mood or not, these tools have helped me discover some pretty entertaining movies and expand my tastes. I am partial to Jinni though.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 16, 2012 at 9:20 pm

      Jinni definitely seems to be the most developed of the bunch. They all have their merits though.

  9. Harry Barnes
    November 15, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    no offense, but they didn't really do it for me

  10. druv vb
    November 15, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Wow, thats a lot of dvd movies in your collection there. Am also a movie addict. For reviews or a quick lookup I use IMDB and Metacritic. My genre is more action movies. But I also like those with great and unique stories.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 15, 2012 at 6:07 pm

      Ah, that isn't actually my collection. I thought about posting a pic of my own but didn't want to be judged on my taste in movies ;)

      It's actually bigger than the collection in the picture used though.

  11. Nicole ?
    November 15, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    I think I may have to check Jinni out ^-^

    • Dave Parrack
      November 15, 2012 at 6:06 pm

      It's definitely worth playing around with to see if it's going to prove to be useful to you.