What should I watch next?

As a movie buff, one of my biggest obstacles is simply choosing which movie to watch next.  It’s an easy choice for most, I suppose, but for me the process is strangely paralyzing.  Granted, the fate of the world does not hang in the balance, and simply having the time to watch a movie, be it good or bad, implies a certain level of luxury and decadence.  Nevertheless, I love watching movies, and for those for whom art represents a pinnacle of human achievement as well as simply an entertaining means to while away the time, the choice is not entirely insignificant.  This blog entry, then, will focus on the process of finding a movie to watch.
To find a movie to watch, one must first determine the criteria to use, and of all the criteria available, the first necessarily must be determining a source–you cannot choose a movie until you have first identified a source of movies to choose from.  Possibilities include massive online databases, such as IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes, and relatively smaller offline sources, such as Roger Ebert’s list of The Great Movies.  The authors of each of these tools have of course already applied their own set of criteria to each collection, so if the criteria they used sufficiently matches your own, further narrowing may not be necessary.  For example, if you know your tastes match Roger Ebert’s, and you are choosing from his list of The Great Movies, you might simply flip the pages and point, selecting a movie that lands randomly under your finger and relying on serendipity to prevail from there.  If, however, the pool of available choices hasn’t been narrowed in some meaningful way (e.g., Netflix, IMDB) or if one’s preferences are restricted by other factors, such as mood or audience, additional criteria must come into play.
Which additional criteria to apply takes one full circle back to the identified source, as each will offer different sorting and narrowing options.  I would like, for example, to be able to sort Netflix streaming movies by AFI or BFI ranking, but such sorting options simply aren’t available on the Netflix website.  Therefore, short of completing separate searches for each title at AFI or BFI, I’m either going to have to limit myself to the options Netflix does offer or select a different database to begin with.  At the moment, I’m using a database application called “Coolector,”  which is unique amongst film software in that it comes pre-loaded with (as of 1/1/14) a catalog of 112, 877 movies  to browse through.  This is where I’m going to start, as I intend over the next few blog entries to evaluate how well each particular database works for me.  Or, at least, that is where I’m going to start next.  My first database is significantly smaller, consisting of only two movies, the two movies my wife bought for me for Christmas: Lawrence of Arabia and Saving Private Ryan.


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