Will I "Really Like" this Movie?

Navigating Movie Website Ratings to Select More Enjoyable Movies

Archive for the tag “Me Before You”

This One Is All About You and Movielens

A few months ago my daughter texted me for recommendations for good movies on Netflix or Amazon Prime. I recommended a hidden treasure of a movie, Begin Again, but I couldn’t remember if it was on Netflix or Amazon. I knew it was on one of them. I had to go to each site to find the movie to nail down which streaming service it was on.

My daughter, and others like her, will no longer need to search blindly for movies on the streaming services they subscribe to if they’ve signed up to use my favorite movie recommender site, Movielens. Aside from being a very reliable movie recommender site, it is also the most useful in terms of finding movies to watch.

Within the last couple of months Movielens has added its best feature to date. Not only can you get pages and pages of recommended movies, once you’ve taken the time to rate the movies you’ve seen, but now you can filter them by the most popular streaming services.

Movielens allows you to filter recommendations by movies currently on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO, and Showtime. You can filter them individually or in combination. In my case, I filter by Netflix, Amazon and HBO. This means that you can get a list of movies that you can watch right now, ranked by the probability that you will “really like” them.

If I go to the Home Page of Movielens right now and go to Top Picks, I can click on the filter’s drop down menu and select Streaming Services. This will provide me with a list of the five services mentioned previously. By clicking on Netflix, Amazon, and HBO, I get a list of movies that I can watch now that I haven’t seen before. There are 5,256 movies available for me to watch right now ranked from the one I’m most likely to enjoy, last summer’s box office surprise Me Before You (Amazon), to the movie I’m least likely to enjoy, The Admirer (Amazon). You’ve never heard of The Admirer? Neither have I. It is a 2012 Russian movie based on the love between Anton Chekhov and a young writer, Lidiya Avilova. ZZZ.

More often than not my posts are about my experiences in finding movies that I will “really like”. This one’s for you. If you only have time to track one movie recommender website, go to Movielens. It will be fun and it will save you time scrolling through lines and lines of movies searching for movies that you might like.


Is Opening Weekend at the Movie Theaters a Flip of the Coin?

Last weekend, the top five movies at the Box Office all earned Rotten grades from Rotten Tomatoes. Two of the five have managed to receive favorable scores from IMDB, while the remaining three have received very mediocre feedback from their IMDB voters. Here are the five movies:

WEEKEND  OF 6/3 TO 6/5
Movie Box Office (000000) Rotten Tomatoes IMDB Avg. Rating
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows $35.30 36% Rotten 6.6
X-Men: Apocalypse $22.80 48% Rotten 7.5
Me Before You $18.70 56% Rotten 8.1
Alice Through the Looking Glass $11.30 29% Rotten 6.4
The Angry Birds Movie $10.20 43% Rotten 6.4

These results beg the question, should we ever go to the movies when a movie first comes out? Without the benefit of the feedback from actual moviegoers, our potential enjoyment of a movie during its early run in the theaters might be no better than the flip of a coin. Three of the five movies were released Memorial Day weekend and their numbers are down significantly from their strong numbers the first weekend, possibly the influence of their adverse Rotten Tomatoes grades. All of the movies have a built in audience because they are sequels, or, in the case of Me Before You, they read the book, or, in the case of The Angry Birds Movie, they play the phone app. Despite an audience that is predisposed to like each movie, only in the instances of X-Men: Apocalypse and Me Before You has the audience actually liked the movie, as evidenced by the IMDB ratings. Moviegoers spent $98.3 million last weekend expecting to be entertained by these five movies. Those who saw the TMNT movie, or Angry Birds, or the latest adventure of Alice, were a little disappointed. There has to be a better way.

I don’t know if it’s possible to improve the odds of selecting “really like” movies when they are first released. My efforts to forecast “really like” movies beginning in June will at least test whether I can do it. You may have noticed that I’ve made a notation  in my June forecast that my forecast for Me Before You is final. In order to truly test the ability to project a movie before its opening weekend, all forecast adjustments have to be finalized before it opens in the theaters.  After four to six months, I plan to go back and compare how the actual “really like” probabilities developed against what I projected. After all, a forecast doesn’t have much credibility unless you keep score and demonstrate a track record of success.

I’ve been to movies on opening weekend where I felt pretty confident that I would “really like” the movie,  Captain America: Civil War for example. In that instance there was a significant amount of data out there from its International run the week before the U.S. opening. For most other movies the data will be less robust requiring more creativity.

I’d like to think I can do better than the flip of a coin.

Will June 2016 Movies be “Really Likeable”?

As I mentioned in my last post, based on my past experience, there is only a 36.1% chance that I will “really like” a movie released in June. With the odds against me, I set out to discover if I could find five movies with the potential to be “really like” movies. I found four that I feel pretty good about and a fifth that is a stretch. There is something here for a variety of movie tastes. I will link each movie to its IMDB site to give you more background if you’re interested.

As you might expect, I’m not content to just present these five movies. I’ve attached a probability that they will be a “really like” movie to each. I’ll keep the list on the sidebar with my other movie lists and will update the probabilities throughout the month as more information becomes available. Let’s get started. Here’s my list from the highest probability to the lowest.

Independence Day: Resurgence.  Release Date: June 24   “Really Like” Probability:  45.2%

This sequel to the highly successful  Independence Day (1996) is the blockbuster for the month, coming in with a budget of $200,000,000. It is released, and the story takes place, 20 years after the original. Several characters return for the sequel but not Will Smith’s character, Captain Steven Hiller. Liam Hemsworth steps in to take over the leading man role. There is already a trickling of positive ratings coming in on Movielens and Netflix.

Me Before You.    Release Date: June 3    “Really Like” Probability:  32.6%

In June 2014, Twentieth Century Fox went against the action blockbuster grain and released The Fault in Our Stars, a sentimental movie that appealed to all ages. MGM and New Line Cinema are trying to recreate the magic of 2014 with Me Before You, a similarly sentimental tear-jerker. Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke and Hunger Games’ Sam Claflin should be an attractive couple. We will know a lot more about this movie by its opening on Friday but early reviews and word of mouth are lukewarm. Don’t count out Daenerys Targaryen, mother of dragons, breaker of chains…. She’s been in tight spots before.

Free State of Jones.    Release Date: June 24   “Really Like” Probability:  32.6%

This tiny slice of Civil War history, starring Matthew McConaughey and Kerri Russell, piques my interest because of Director and Screenwriter, Gary Ross. I’ve “really liked” all five movies that I’ve seen of his. The Criticker average score I’ve given Gary Ross written movies is 82.67. The five movies are The Hunger Games, Big, SeabiscuitDave, and Pleasantville. There is very little advance word of mouth for this movie. This is strictly a vote for the pedigree of the Screenwriter and the Actors.

Finding Dory.    Release Date: June 17    “Really Like” Probability:  21.3%

In my last post, I mentioned that families with young children were a target audience for June movie distributors. Just in time for the end of the school year comes Finding Dory, the sequel to Finding Nemo. This is the movie that I’m most confident will see a climb in its “really like” probabilities. For now it reflects a minimal amount of available data. This will probably be the second blockbuster of the month behind Independence Day: Resurgence.

Swiss Army Man.    Release Date: June 24    “Really Like” Probability:  9.9%

This fifth choice is the best of too few viable options. It feels like an Oscar bait movie that is released in the summer because it is too quirky for general audiences. Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel  would fall into this category. It is a buddy picture with 2016 Golden Globe nominee,Paul Dano, playing a castaway and Daniel Radcliffe, of Harry Potter fame, playing the buddy, a rotting, farting corpse. This movie won the Directing Award at Sundance and was nominated for the Grand Jury Award for best dramatic film. It’s been reported that half the audience walked out of the film at Sundance while the other half who stayed loved the movie. Yep, it does sound like a Wes Anderson movie.

Well I hope you like my maiden voyage through the upcoming month in film. Let me know what you thought.



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