Let’s Play Netflix Roulette!
If choosing a Netflix movie takes longer than watching a Netflix movie … you aren’t alone!
Sometimes too much choice is a bad thing. The answer to this problem is a fun little website called “Netflix Roulette”.
This website has a randomizer that suggests movies for you to watch. You may even end up watching some shows you might not have seen before (or considered).
The Algorithm Problem on Netflix
Something many people don’t realize is that Netflix uses an algorithm (machine learning) to decide which of the thousands of movie choices to show you when you browse. If you go to your sister’s house and look at her Netflix, you may be surprised to see all the true crime and serial killer movies there. Go to your Grandpa’s place and his Netflix is full of westerns and old Clint Eastwood movies.
This is no accident. Netflix is trying to solve the “what to watch” problem by predicting what you might like based on what you usually choose. The problem is that after you binge your “usual” stuff, it starts to feel like there’s nothing good on Netflix. Actually, you just watched everything the algorithm suggested, not everything on Netflix. How to get around the pesky algorithm? ….
Netflix Roulette is not connected to your Netflix account or profile. It has no idea what you usually watch. It’s an entirely blank slate of movie watching!
To get started, let’s take a look at the drop down buttons:
The top menu is for “Genre” meaning western, drama, LGBTQ+, comedy, etc. You can leave it set to “All Genres” and access them all.
“IMDb” is the audience score from the website “Internet Movie Database” which ranks the popularity of movies. The drop down menu shows the score. The choice >9 means “over 90%” and is the highest ranking. Obviously, the quality is better for these movies but there are less of them.
“ReelGood” is the rating given by the website itself. You can ignore that, or sign up for an account.
There are lots of fun ideas for using this website. You can play it by simply clicking the buttons over and over until you like what it suggests. When you have the movie you want to see, pop back over to Netflix and do a search for the title.
You can also turn it into more of a “game” and try the following:
- Force yourself to watch whatever the randomizer gives you first. Try it for 10 minutes. If it’s not your thing, just hit pause and try the randomizer again. Stepping out of your comfort zone a little may allow you to discover some hidden gems.
- Choose a different genre each night. One of the reasons you might be bored with Netflix is that you have mined all the gold out of your favourite genre. Switch it up and try something new. Each night, switch the genre and explore documentaries, comedy, thrillers, travel and more.
- Try Opposite Day. Choose a genre you would NEVER pick. For many viewers that is “horror”. One trick to finding something decent is to make sure the IMDB is set to the highest setting (>9). This way you are getting the highest-rated (and highest quality) movies possible in the genre. The results may surprise you.
- Challenge your family and friends to a game of Roulette on Facebook. Tell everyone that on Friday night they each must “roll the dice” and watch whatever movie comes up. Then everyone can report back, replying in the post about how the movie turned out. It is sure to get some laughs, and maybe even some new movies for everyone to check out.
We went ahead and tried it at the So Binge headquarters and ended up with a little gem. Here is the random selection when we chose “horror” with an IMDB rating of >90% rating:
Sam & Mattie Make a Zombie Movie (2021)
Sam and Mattie, two teenagers with Down Syndrome, wanted to make a zombie movie. They had the brilliant idea to launch a Kickstarter campaign to get donations. Without too many spoilers, they rally the town and produce not just a Zombie movie, but a heart warming documentary about the process, as well.
Next up … we lowered the IMDB rating in order to get more selection.
When we changed the Genre to Sports we got:
From the Ground Up (2017)
In this sports documentary, college football star Santino Panico decides to try a vegan diet and chart the results of his performance. It’s a powerful look at the politics of pro sports, as well as the personal journey of this athlete.
As you can see, when you step out of your regular watching behaviour there is a wide diversity of stories on Netflix to choose from.
Have loads of Netflix fun exploring the Roulette site for your next binge night!
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