Goodfilms: Personalize Your Movie Recommendations
Earlier this month, I lamented the fact that tools like Last.fm, which is famous for its ability to track, record, and broadcast what music you listen to in order to build recommendations suited to your personal tastes, aren’t seen in other mediums of entertainment. Just as Goodreads has filled the niche for user-powered book recommendations, a new site called Goodfil.ms is hoping to do the same with movies.
“We’ve built the site based around two fundamental ideas: that films are social, and that existing rating systems are broken,” writes the founders on the site.
The Australian start-up began a year ago as a response to a few notable problems in how society at large decides what movies to watch, namely through the recommendations of critics that rate films on grounds that you may or may not factor in to your own perception of it. Furthermore, as founder Glen Maddern notes in a blog post, that your favorite films probably didn’t win Best Picture.
“Critical acclaim doesn’t guarantee that you’ll love a film, and a film doesn’t have to be objectively brilliant for you to list it among your favorites,” writes Maddern. “Moreover, some films that were shocking or groundbreaking for their time might not seem that remarkabe now, and some that were panned when they were released may achieve popularity and recognition much later.”
Additionally, Maddern notes that traditional five-star rating systems don’t work, and points to a blog post by YouTube for evidence as to why. By far and away the most common rating was five stars, while one star ratings come at a distant second, indicating that people will either choose the absolute best or worst ratings for anything they’ve seen. Clearly, as Maddern determined when launching Goodfilms, a new rating system had to be devised.
His solution was to introduce a two-scale rating system: one for quality, and one for rewatchability. Quality is still judged on 5 stars, but on a sliding scale that allows partial values in ratings, such as 3.4 or 4.6, while rewatchability uses smiley faces instead. So while you may (rightly) judge The Godfather to be a 5 star film in terms of quality, it may only rank two stars in rewatchability. This solution proves to be an elegant way to reassure users of how guilty pleasures are just as good as an Oscar-winning film, and just how important it is to consider how likely you are to actually watch it again.
Like Last.fm and Goodreads, Goodfilms also recognizes the social component to movies, and you can not only see an enormous two-axis graph listing the aggregated reviews of films on the two-axis rating system, but it also allows users to see what their friends have been watching on their personal profiles. Additionally, as most sites should these days, Goodfilms also gives users the choice of linking their account to Facebook and Twitter.
Perhaps most interesting to me, as I’m always on the lookout for new streamable movies online, Goodfilms will also sync with your Netflix account. In doing so, anything on your queue on Goodreads will automatically show up on your queue on Netflix. Not only that, but your Goodfilms queue will also direct you to other services like Hulu or iTunes if something you want to see is currently available on either. It should be very interesting to see how these two sites may eventually be able to integrate even better.
So if you’re constantly on the lookout for new movies, we highly recommend giving Goodfilms a go, although as co-founder John Barton notes, its approach to reviews is perhaps a bit too novel for some.
“The two axis rating system has been divisive – it resonates really well with most people who come in contact with the service, but there’s a interesting group that seem to think the one to five star system is some kind of inviolable standard in judging movies,” said Barton. “We never seem to run into any fence sitters on the issue.”