Let’s be honest, Netflix’s suggestions suck.
At best, Netflix tries to go by our viewing history. This doesn’t work well if you share your account with other family members. At worst, they prominently display what they recently spent money on (and often shouldn’t have). They rarely suggest what is actually good.
There’s a reason why they now hide user ratings and have replaced them with “match percentages.”
One big and obvious problem is that this limits our exposure to new and different types of content. Another major issue, and this one bothers me more than anything, is that they run out of quality content and recommend mediocre stuff.
If you go on someone else’s Netflix account, preferably someone you don’t share the same tastes with, you can notice the lengths to which algorithms go to keep them watch that same mediocre stuff.
If your friend or family member likes or once liked war movies, Netflix will forever label that person as a fan of war movies. The algorithms will probably show them “Fighting Terrorism in The Jungle 4: Salvation” starring Robert Redford (fictional Netflix Original war movie. If they make it, I’ll claim copyright) than an algorithmically unrelated comedy that won an Oscar last year.
Noone’s taste can be or should be constrained into categories. And it should be allowed to change. Why are we letting a corporation decide our viewing choices anyway?
At the expense of sounding too internet-Che-Guevara, I will leave you with this list of good movies, selected for you by yours truly. We’re doing our best as a movie recommendation website to give people alternatives to what crappy algorithms are putting in front of you.
That is also why we have recently started a newsletter called “Film Nerds vs. Algorithms.”
Join us, share this list, watch the movies, or ask your friends for what’s good. Don’t be part of Netflix’s flock of sheeple. Don’t let it reduce you to categories. This has more significant consequences for you, and our collective cultural lives than might it be apparent now. Unless, of course, you don’t mind only watching Robert Redford reruns for the rest of your life.