It’s Sunday night, you’re relaxing at home and you’ve got a fresh batch of popcorn. All that’s left to do is to find a good movie to watch. It’s Easier said than done. After browsing the Internet for half an hour, you settle on a title you’ve already seen before, only because the multitude of choices leaves you confused and frustrated. Sounds familiar? If so, rest assured – you’re not the only one dealing with this issue. Nowadays, when there are plenty of entertainment options available and you can pick from hundreds of movie titles, making up your mind can be an ordeal.
Trust me, I’ve been there. After sitting through tens of bad movies though, I decided to take matters into my own hands and figure out a way to make sure I’m going to enjoy the flick before pressing play. It’s not science, but the tips below will help you make a more informed decision the next time you’re contemplating a movie marathon. Here we go.
Keep a watch list
A watch list is like a to-do list for your media. In other words, every time you stumble upon a trailer that looks cool, hear about a good flick from a friend, or read a positive review from a critic, add that title to the list. You can use the old-fashion method of writing the movie titles down on a list or you can bookmark the choices – whichever method you prefer. Personally, I keep a board in Trello with movies I want to watch and move them to a Seen column after watching them.
Once your list is compiled, simply compare it to what’s available on cable or on your movie subscription service. Netflix, for instance, has a watch list option that might come in handy. Whatever service you use for your entertainment needs though, having a list handy will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed with the multitude of choices available; so you have a better shot of wasting less time browsing through titles.
Settle on a genre
No matter how comprehensive your watch list may be, sometimes you’re just not in the mood for any of the titles on it. It happens to the best of us. What’s there left to do? Well, start by deciding on a genre. What would you like to watch? Are you feeling low? Then maybe a silly comedy will lift your spirits. Are you bored? A horror movie can be the perfect pick to keep you entertained. Just want to relax? A classic romance will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.
Settling on a certain genre will limit your choices and help you be more focused in your search for the perfect title.
Check the ratings
Now is the time to do some simple research. Luckily, the Internet is overflowing with useful sites that will come in handy when searching for the perfect movie to watch. Here are some of my top picks:
IMDB – it has been with us for a lot of years and it remains a great resource for movie enthusiasts. You can browse through lists created by users, check out the many polls available, or, if all else fails, pick a title from the Top 250 list.
Rotten Tomatoes – this site is pretty comprehensive and easy to navigate. It’s home of the Tomatometer, which I trust when it comes to measuring the quality of a certain movie. Plus, you can read reviews from trusted critics or fellow movie watchers to have a better idea about what to expect.
Metacritic – this site uses metascores, which let you know at a glance how well a movie is or isn’t perceived. There are also plenty of general recommendations lists to peruse – you can browse by genre or check out the latest releases.
Jinni – the site’s purpose is to offer targeted recommendations that match you entertainment personality. You can import ratings and likes from Facebook, IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes and make manual tweaks to make sure your tastes are well represented.
Letterboxd – the website lets you keep a film diary and, most importantly, allows you to browse through hundreds of lists of movies. Plus, you can follow other users with similar tastes.
I’m big on trusting friend recommendations, so I strongly advise you to do the same. Watching movies is a lot of fun, but talking about them can be even better. If a friend recommended you watch a certain flick, it might be beneficial to give it a go so you can then discuss it while it’s still fresh in your friend’s head as well. It might sound silly, but if watching a certain movie can improve a social interaction, why not give it a go? I used to love the time spent around the watercooler at work discussing the latest episode of Game of Thrones, for instance.
Set a time limit on your choice
Wasting precious minutes navigating the web in search of a title isn’t productive, so put a time limit on weighing choices. After all, this isn’t such an important decision as buying a new gadget or car, so limiting yourself can be beneficial. If after 15 or 20 minutes you come out empty simply settle on the most appealing from the movies you’ve considered during that time.
On the same note, limit your entertainment options as well. If you have a Netflix subscription, cable, and a Hulu subscription, checking all three choices will only set you back. Decide on a medium and then stick to your decision. Too many entertainment options can sometimes be more of a hassle than a perk, especially when you only have a limited time frame devoted to chilling in front of the TV or laptop. The more time you waste searching for a flick, the less you will have to actually watch it.
Lastly, if you’re going to watch the movie with your family or friends, make sure to take into account their preferences as well when deciding on a title. And if children are involved, choose a flick that is G rated – suitable for all audiences. All that’s left is to press play and enjoy.