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The better way of getting movie recommendations

By on Mar 8, 2007 in Reviews, Tech Takes | 3 comments

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IMDb logo
One of the most difficult thing to do at times is to choose the right movie to watch, and believe me it can be quite a chore. Here comes the Web to our rescue, and there are many ways to get good movie recommendations. Databases like IMDb.com have loads of information on every type of movie you can think of, and that might help. This method though, only works properly if you know about a movie and search for it.

Rotten Tomatoes logoHowever, there are some people like Rach, who base their movie recommendations on the basis of critics’ reviews. To me, this seems a pretty stupid idea, because each person has different tastes, and following the advice of snooty critics who’ve lost all touch with popular cinema is a waste of time. And I’ve seen that with him – he avoids movies just because some idiotic critic said so. It’s a well-demonstrated fact too that movie critics only like movies that aren’t thrillers, and going more towards the boring ones. Then there are sites like RottenTomatoes.com (Rach swears by that), which, I must admit, was somewhat anti-establishment and a good resource earlier. The fallacy in this is that you need to base more of you judgement according to the Tomatometer for a movie.

Yahoo Movies logoFor me atleast, the best way of getting movie recommendations has till now been Yahoo! Movies, and no, I’m not saying this only because it’s a Yahoo! product. There are similar services like Flixster (Rach spammed me into joining this one), but then, I found the Yahoo! Movies library sufficiently larger than most others. Firstly it provides a reasonably good database of information about movies – less titles than IMDb, but it with better navigation.

That’s not what I wanted to talk about though. The best thing I find about Yahoo! Movies is that it gives real good recommendations. Here’s how it works – you rate movies according to it’s rating scale on the basis of whether you liked it or not, and then it throws up recommendations. Now why is this better than others? It’s because it uses algorithms and statistical data to match you choices with surfers who gave similar ratings to the movies you did, and then charts out predictions. The advantage Yahoo! Movies has over other similar services is that being Yahoo!, it does have far more users than others, and thus providing better accuracy.

Yahoo! Movies provides a green / red button on viewing most movie info pages too (if you’re signed in and have rated sufficient number of movies), and it’s been frightfully good. And I mostly don’t let it influence me, still, even if I check up after I watch a movie, it’s got it right most of the time whether I’d like it.

Then come the personalized recommendations page. For Indian users, the TV section is useless, until Yahoo! TV gives support for Indian channels. The theatre recommendations section is only useful if you want to see if any current movie may be worth it, but remember, it is ONLY sorting current movies in theatres according to your tastes, and depending upon which movies have been released, they might be the best among the ones currently out and yet not be a one you may like.

The most prudent thing to do is to head to the DVD section, and there you’ll find a larger collection, of older movies, and for me, it’s been a real good cinematic experience.

Have a different take on this? Think there’s a better recommendation service than Yahoo! Movies? Fire away you comments…



3 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    March 9, 2007

    Post a Reply

    flixster recommendations are the best – they recommend based on both similar movies to what you liked OR movies your friends liked…

  2. GQ

    March 11, 2007

    Post a Reply

    @Anonymous – That’s where Flixster fails, you see. It matches the movies you like, and the ones your friends like. What if the tastes of your friends are not the same as yours? On the other hand, Y! Movies matches statistically with thousands of users across the globe.

    @Rach – So WHAT if Shashi Tharoor uses it, there are many more like him across the world. And there are many more who use Y! Movies. What’s your point? Just because he does doesn’t mean I have to.

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