Entertainment Magazine

How I Formulate Movie Recommendations

Posted on the 30 September 2011 by Tjatkinson @T_J_atkinson


Last week I formulated a technique for making film recommendations using both my knowledge of film, and the various similarities in plot and/or style of various types of movies. I promised I’d reveal my “formula” for how I made these recommendations, and so I’m here fulfilling my promise.

It’s really no great science; it takes work, knowledge and the internet, but it’s really not incredibly difficult and there’s no “formula,” so to speak.

All I do is this: I examine the ten films, and see which ways they relate to each other. The similarities in taste and preference, which is easier to see when you have ten very different kind of films. I establish from these ten films which kind of specific movie the commenter likes, and that figures into my recommendation. Then, I examine each of the ten films individually; say for example someone writes Boogie Nights, a film most people are familiar with. Important plot elements include filmmaking, a large cast and a multiple storyline. So, I use my own knowledge of film (and the internet as a helper) to decide upon a few films which fit these different specifications and choose the best or most relevant one to use as a recommendation; in this case I would pick The Player, which features a large cast, involves filmmaking, and examines various storylines. It’s not exactly the most relevant film to Boogie Nights, but it fits some of the similarities and is a safe enough bet.

IMDb use their plot keywords to make recommendations, which is all fair and fine enough, but it takes more than that. Using my knowledge of film, as well as cross-referencing plot details and other films by similar filmmakers (or in some cases, the same directors), I decide upon a film which is much closer in similarity to the original film and thus a safe enough bet.

It can take up to five or ten minutes to pick the perfect film; ocassionally, looking at a movie, I would immediately be able to think of a similar one using my knowledge of film alone; other times, it would take more research. I certainly don’t think my technique was flawless or perfect, but I think it worked in general. Your feedback from my recommendations was very helpful, and helped me to learn more about the reader, understand what they’ve seen and what they haven’t, which all goes into perfecting the recommendations of others when I come to them.

Sorry if you were expecting something more scientific, but this was really all it was; using my knowledge of film as well as IMDb’s plot keywords, and directors. It does rely a lot on what I know about movies and similar films, but I found myself having to look up a lot of films that people wrote down as I barely knew anything about some of them.

Anyway, thanks for participating in my little experiment, and I hope my recommendations to your ten films were suitable or accurate enough.

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