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How do you decide what movies to watch?

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Re: How do you decide what movies to watch?


Post by Coryn » August 28th, 2019, 10:25 am

I like to read up on movies after I watch them in my 1001 movies you must see before you die book and another general film book which covers most of cinematic history. It gives me more depth after the movie to think about which is great and makes me understand the why and how of said movie.
I saved Latin, what did you ever do ?

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Post by shugs » August 28th, 2019, 12:14 pm

I choose between movies I have downloaded on my Plex server, what's running on Mubi (though I think like a quarter of the movies there raise my interest) and the movies on the Criterion Channel. I don't really care about completing official lists, even though I use them sometimes to get recommendations. I also compete in the challenges on this forum to get me out of my comfort zone and watch movies I'd otherwise pass, but I doubt I'll ever be able to win one. :D

I share the sentiment of not watching trailers, reading reviews beforehand etc. I use this Chrome extension to hide IMDb ratings (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/deta ... fakbadgiam) because my opinion of movies felt somewhat influenced by them.

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Post by RBG » August 28th, 2019, 12:56 pm

Yeah its the bias thing -- not spoilers
icm + ltbxd


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Post by fori » August 28th, 2019, 1:01 pm

The threshold that needs to be met before I’ll watch something is very low. There’s nothing I really wouldn’t watch if somebody asked me to watch it and tell them my opinion, no matter how long, obnoxious, immoral or poorly made it was. That said, I tend watch things I think I’d like, am curious about, or are somehow “important”.
And actually I tend to not care about spoilers, I have occasionally even read synopses prior to watching things.

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Post by jal90 » August 29th, 2019, 12:20 am

I don't really have a rule. It depends on the day and mood. I have a huge watchlist as some kind of guide and sometimes I follow it and sometimes I don't. I can watch stuff on a whim, if people around are talking about it, if it's simply available in the website I'm lurking at the moment. That's why I wanted to join this forum, to give some order and discipline to my viewings xD. I'll get to that someday...

And I never watch trailers. Though I don't quite agree with the reasons here. I don't care about spoilers. I just don't see the point of watching a few selected scenes of a movie I've already decided I will watch because at the point I've clicked the trailer I probably know everything I need to know about what kind of film it is, who's making it and what are people saying about it or expecting.

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Post by Eve-Lang-El-Coup » August 29th, 2019, 10:57 am

Generally the answer for me is 'what I feel like watching'. Sometimes I want to watch movies I think will be fun, sometimes I'm wanting to watch more movies from a particular country, sometimes I straddle along with the challenges, sometimes I watch films from lists, sometimes I read something about a movie or watch a trailer and am intrigued, and recently I've watched a bunch of movies because they're from my favourite directors.

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Post by Onderhond » September 3rd, 2019, 5:54 pm

I'm guessing that around 40% of the movies I watch are related to the taste of my girlfriend. We often watch films together, I'm usually the one looking out for stuff to watch. Genre-wise it's usually comedy or horror, sometimes romance and/or drama. From time to time she gets interested in a topic, actor or whatever and we binge with more focus (all Astaire/Rogers, all Gene Kelly, all Martin/Lewis etc). Movie theater picks she dominates too. There's little to nothing there for me anyway, so I don't really need to have much of a say in it.

The other 60% is basically me doing the picking for myself. When I first started getting into movies it was mostly watching lots of trailers, reading reviews and trying to find active torrents or looking through IRC bots. But after a while it simply got too frustrating (not finding what I wanted or getting stuck on dead torrents) that I switched my scouting pattern around. Instead of looking for specific things, I kept daily tabs on newly added torrents. That ensured me availability AND it showed me a very broad range of films. Broader than I ever could've found by reading reviews/watching trailers. When streaming became a thing, third-party websites helped me to stick to the same pattern. I check Prime/Netlflix releases daily and put the interesting films in my watch queue. While this isn't very useful if you want to complete specific lists or oeuvres, I found that over time you do find the films you wanted to watch in the first place, so it's a form of baby steps completism that suits me particularly well.

My main focus is modern Asian cinema, with a strong preference for Japan and above average interest in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. I currently rely on a single less than legal source, so that's quite tricky.
I'm also very interested in completing director oeuvres, so whenever my random viewing gets a director into the 6-7 films range, I start to prioritise his films whenever I bump into them.
I'm also a scifi fan and don't mind some action flicks, so these also end up on the menu.
I use ICM to fill in the remaining "slots", mostly based on the list of descending amount of official checks. I mostly consider this educational watching, as I rarely find anything good there.


On the topic of trailers, I tend to avoid them altogether. I've got a pretty good idea of what I like, so a poster and a couple of screen grabs are usually more than enough to do the filtering. It's not just a plot thing either, I think that trailers also spoil moods or genre elements (like creature designs in horror films or spaceship designs in scifi). Usually these films work towards reveals, which is lost when you've already seen half of it in a trailer. Furthermore, I often compare trailers to the carrot on the stick metaphor. They get you excited about stuff and then the availability turns out to be poor, slow or worst case: non-existent. Hence why I prefer to look through things that are available right away.

As for reviews (not forum ones but published ones), I rarely read them. Not before, nor after. It's a bit strange since I've been writing about films for about 12 years myself.

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Post by Cinepolis » September 5th, 2019, 1:26 pm

When I'm stressed out I watch an action, horror or maybe even a comedy movie. When I have more time like at the weekend or during vacation days I watch the more artsy stuff.
In addition, I have an IMDb watchlist with just over 300 titles.

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Post by cinephage » September 5th, 2019, 3:49 pm

I follow a few regular guidelines :

1) Theatres. I go to the cinema at least once per week, often much more than this. I will try and gather information on the movies available, and choose the movies I feel like watching.
Usually I will try to go to a multiplex and watch 3 to 4 films in a row on a saturday or sunday afternoon.
In other situations, I will follow the retrospectives at the french cinematheque or Forum des images (also a few other cinema show "oldies", which can interest me).
Whenever a festival plays close to home, I will attend it to find out about new films. Currenly, I'm attending L'étrange festival, a festival which shows "weird & genre films".

2) Usually when I get home from work, I usually watch a dvd/bluray, more rarely something on Netflix, on VOD. I own a vast number of DVD/Bluray to choose from, and also have a hard drive filled with downloaded movies that don't exist in video...
That's when the lists are useful. I usually have gathered a few films that meet the criteria of the challenges, and will also try to choose titles that are on lists. But I also pick on the basis of other goals, such as my long term goals or long challenges (250 directors, one film from every list...). I usually pick a film from this shortlist.
At any time, I will always follow the mood of the moment, and will not choose a movie I don't feel like watching. No Apichatong if the day was hard and I need to relax...
I don't like repetitions, so I will usually try different films or genres, I don't watch 4 noirs in a row, or even 4 horror films in one day (except during a festival, as above).

3) Other elements may add variations... A recent film I missed in theatres but want to watch, an addition to Netflix many friends are talking about, the nostalgia for a director or period, or just availability (I own many films which are on no list at all, and may feel like a few of them at any moment).

I don't watch as many movies as some of the major players here, usually one or two per day...

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Post by Swift Variation » September 13th, 2019, 6:08 am

I watch films on a whim. I'll sit down and go through some of my viewing options (Netflix, Amazon, on demand TV channels) until I find something that matches my mood.

I also like being surprised, so I never review ICM lists beforehand to see if a movie is an official check or not. Of course, I know some films are gonna be on a high number of lists just by their reputation, but it's always fun to watch a film and discover it's on a list when you least expected it (Thunderbolt and Lightfoot was a recent example, being on two lists when I didn't think it would feature on any) but also disappointing when you've trudged through something you imagined would be on a list and it didn't appear on anything at all. Anyway, I don't like limiting my viewing habits to whether something is on a list or not. Sometimes I just want to watch an action movie or a 90s thriller for the hell of it.

However... having said all that, I thought of a fun little experiment today. The plan is to review my progress, sort by Closest Award and watch something from that list. I get the award and that list moves further back. I then watch something from the next list the next day, and so on. If I'm 2+ movies away from an award, I watch from that list until it moves further back. I'm nowhere near you guys in terms of film watching (no platinums, only one gold I believe) and there are huge gaps in my viewing. The majority of the lists I'm closest to an award on are the IMDB ones.

So tonight, the top list was IMDB Drama. I looked through it to see what I have available to me. I have the Apu trilogy blu ray, so Pather Panchali was the obvious choice (I'm ashamed to say it didn't do a lot for me. I wanted to love it ahead of time, and I'm seeing effusive 5 star reviews on Letterboxd but I just didn't get there sadly) So, I got my Drama silver and that list got pushed back 20 spots (in the 7 movies away from an award zone) The next list up is IMDB Family. I took a look and the likeliest options available to me (I haven't looked to see what's streaming yet) are The Princess Bride, Wonder or some of the Pixar movies. Perfect, because Friday is usually family movie night in my house. The next list after that is the Spike Lee list (presuming one of the Family movies isn't also on that list) but I'm intentionally not going through the next lists until I knock off the current one.

I'm not going to strictly stick to this. I'll likely finish off the Apu trilogy next week, and there'll be times where my wife wants to watch something or we go see a blockbuster in the cinema or I just won't feel in the mood for whatever's next and just want a dumb comedy, but it's a fun little thing to look forward to and keep me interested when my movie watching has waned this summer. I forsee that it's mostly just the IMDB lists are gonna cycle through in the beginning, but it gets me watching highly regarded movies that I've just never gotten around to somehow.

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Post by maxwelldeux » September 13th, 2019, 7:33 am

Swift Variation wrote:
September 13th, 2019, 6:08 am
However... having said all that, I thought of a fun little experiment today. The plan is to review my progress, sort by Closest Award and watch something from that list. I get the award and that list moves further back. I then watch something from the next list the next day, and so on. If I'm 2+ movies away from an award, I watch from that list until it moves further back. I'm nowhere near you guys in terms of film watching (no platinums, only one gold I believe) and there are huge gaps in my viewing. The majority of the lists I'm closest to an award on are the IMDB ones.
Careful... it's addictive. :P

But a few comments on your approach there:
1. I do that on occasion, too. Usually a slight variant, where I pick a list where I'm very few checks away from an award (I usually focus on bronze and platinum awards) and watch something from that list that counts for one of the official challenges, where I like to focus my efforts. But it's a good way to make good progress and collect more awards.
2. Don't get hung up on comparing yourself to the heavy hitters around here. You can't make up for time. When I started on ICM (April 2016), I think I had 15-20 bronze awards and 1 silver. At the end of 2016, I ranked 8366. You'll get there, it just takes time and an open mind.
3. You're doing good at not focusing on the lists... but don't discount them either. We have super nerdy arguments as to the merits of the individual lists, but they are "official" for a reason. If you find one that resonates with you, pursue it. If you find films that are on tons of lists, they're probably worth watching; you inevitably won't like them all, but they're worth watching to expand your film horizons.
4. The IMDB lists will always be at the top of your progress page when you sort by closest award. That's largely a product of how short they are - do pay a little extra attention to non-IMDB lists, as those can be more rewarding, especially on the "game" side where you can get an award on a really long list.
5. I literally credit ICM with getting me into film. I can't count the number of films I've watched only because they were on a ton of lists/a specific list that I ended up loving. So just have fun!

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Post by Tim2460 » September 13th, 2019, 7:42 am

I have an page on my main excel file taht could help you Swift...

If you copy the progress page an certain way, you get an excel file that is easier to twist around...

The way you see it ans depending on the mood, therez's always a list that is so close of the next award, or that you could improve your ranking to your next Goal

Now Maxwell is right .. you can't beat time but you can be much more efficient than us the White hair People :)

Now you can watch all the films on +10 list and be sure not to waste your time : i had a very few disapointment on those 783 Films !

My current Goal is improving Rank so i used ICM Enhanced Script to check the delta to top 150 and top 100


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Post by 3eyes » September 13th, 2019, 11:43 pm

I've come a long way since I devoured the Family Movie Guide in Parents Magazine back in the 40s. But I still follow reviews (mainly NYT) to flag things for watchlist.

I don't pay much attention to official lists anymore but I do keep up with official challenges (sort of) and sometimes also research lists for the Five of a Kind challenge. Losing access to The Weighty Place cramped my style a bit there, but the proliferation of streaming options makes up for quite a bit of that. I probably spend more time making lists of movies than watching them (library cataloguer syndrome).
:run: STILL the Gaffer!

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Post by RogerTheMovieManiac88 » September 14th, 2019, 6:45 pm

Hi mjf!

I scan the television listings every morning and add anything that looks interesting to the planner. This takes about 10 minutes. I then look up any film that is new and unfamiliar to me to get an idea as to whether it would potentially appeal to me. I tend to delete anything that is often repeated in order to conserve space. I record perhaps two films a day. This daily routine provides me with a television planner of films that I think will appeal to me. I tend to choose films to watch from these that fit into the monthly challenges.

I have an interest in unusual and unheralded films so I'll often look into stuff that I haven't heard of before. These niche watches I tend to watch on YouTube or other such sites. I enjoy using the IMDb Advanced Search Option for particular years, and in order to investigate interesting and under-seen films for the year-by-year polls.

I like to skim-read reviews and find that I've come to know fairly intuitively what reviewers I enjoy. If a reviewer I respect praises a film, that makes me considerably more likely to watch it.

I like to follow the challenges and year-by-year polls. For the challenges, I find that what I view is based upon what I have to hand and is not nearly as much informed by what others are watching. For the year-by-year polls, I like to watch at least a handful of new films for each one and find that I am inspired by lists from people such as insomnius, jdidaco, lynchs, and others.
That's all, folks!

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Post by RedHawk10 » September 15th, 2019, 3:14 am

Usually just by going through my Watchlist and picking a film that I'm reasonably in the mood for, based off the premise/director/etc., and how much of a "priority" I've made it to get to. Otherwise whatever coincides with what other people I know want to see.

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Post by albajos » September 15th, 2019, 2:36 pm

I have as strategy when watching ICM checks though. (My previous post still stand as official checks are just 45% of my movie watching, but for challenges I can't go as random as that.

I update this every month viewtopic.php?p=595452#p595452 and if any of thos e movies fit a challenge, then I'll watch them (if I can find them)

Next month is horror, so I know I should check the library if they can get
Kurutta ippêji (10)
The Man Who Laughs (7)
Night of the Demon (7)
Spalovac mrtvol (7)
The Haunting (6)

In the last days of the month is the only time I work on other lists
If I'm 4 or closer on a list I'll try to watch 4 (the reason for 4 is that I usually see all those list on my screen at once with my resolution)
If I'm 1 or closer on an imdb-list I'll watch 1

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Post by dr0id » September 25th, 2019, 7:01 pm

I get diminishing returns from films I've watched as I already watched most of the ones I want to or feel like I should have watched. I'm kind of past my honeymoon stage of watching the great auteurs which was really exciting for me. So now it's watching either new movies when they come along or just seeing what pops up from reading forums and lists.

I took up another hobby, fishing, over the summer which gave me something to do. Now it's getting colder again I like getting cosy and watching movies again. Usually I watch a film noir when I go to sleep.

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