Wednesday, August 29, 2007


That’s the number of items rated on my account in Netflix. It’s a tally not so much from enjoying rating things (though click click refresh is a easy way to burn time and I do enjoy it), but the hope that whatever recommendation algorithm lurks behind may leads me to something interesting. Of course, with the inherent limitations of 5-star rating systems, the internet’s grade inflations, etc…

As I am of the anal and tedious sort, I’d like a two tier rating system for the quality of work and enjoyment factor. For example:

  • Willow: 2, paint-by-numbers serial; 5, Mad Martigan earns undisguised love
  • Lost in Translation: 4-5, good notes from the WKW class, great Bill Murray; 1, accomplished craft in the service of solipsism earns outright disgust

Well, maybe I do enjoy being judgmental more than most (and that’s why I’m anonymous on the internet). But Izicmo has mentioned something more useful. She advocates for the addition of a 2.5 rating. It’s meant for compelling mediocrity (Born Into Brothels, great kids, great story. Also, the Rough Guide to Poverty) or weakly received craft (Behind the Sun, possibly the prettiest movie ever. Thin as a sliver).

But all that’s a massive tangent bulking up the one item I wanted to blog. After you return something to Netflix, if you haven’t rated it, the website will ask you to rate the sucker and get two recommendations. The first result seems to actually be tied directly to the rating, the second's relationship probably being more diffuse usually results in a generic rec. I returned the first disc of Freaks and Geeks and gave it a 2 when asked.* Thusly, computron said, seek ye Red Dwarf and Band of Brothers. The first is pretty spot on, sloppy black humor being something of the opposite of Apatow’s verve. I decided to like and love the thing instead, but sadly failed to note what should’ve been my heart’s desire (Sunset Boulevard is the agreeable second pick). No, not 40-year-old Virgin. I did note what hate wrought. What am I guaranteed to love with the certification of hate to 70’s high school misfits? This. Ha!

* It’s well made, and has a lot going for it (even as I think it’s obvious why it didn’t hit). Man was I bored.


HoBs said...

compelling mediocrity. i like that. fits born into brothels. What's more impressive if you stop to think about it is you've seen 812 movies.

So I haven't been super comprenhensive, but i think my imdb ratings are up to around 400 or so since I started rating things, mostly just for me to keep track of what I've seen. and that sort of blows me away.

but 812 movies represents maybe 2000 hours of your life. People on average work maybe 2000 hours in a year. It would take someone working a full time job one year just to watch the movies you have rated.

pretty nuts if you think about it.

hcduvall said...

Well, I could say 802 and that a lot of that is tv, but the last bit isn't helpful and I'm sure I've actually seen more than I've rated, though a bunch of those ratings are "not interested."

So modern society has replaced work in the fields with navel gazing and amusement. Soon enough we'll destroy ourselves in an orgy of entertainment and Slaneesh will rise.