How I Choose

How Am I Choosing What to Watch?

Posted on Day 22 (1/22/13)

My primary focus is on diversity – varying language, era, and film style as much as I can from one day to the next. I had thoughts of not repeating the same language twice in any week. (I went the first 16 days with a new language every day.) I’ve changed my mind about that, though. There are just too many French and Japanese movies I want to watch. I do plan to observe a twice-per-week maximum.

I have an Excel spreadsheet of the films I want to watch. It’s drawn from multiple sources: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Streaming, and movies that I know I can borrow. (Wonderful discovery last week that a huge chunk of the Criterion collection is available through Hulu.) To choose films, I make heavy use of the Netflix recommendation engine and various web resources.

When I can get a physical disk from Netflix, I usually prefer to do that because the image quality is a little better than through streaming (although the quality of streaming has gotten to be quite good). When you’re trying to a watch a movie a day and also maintain a life and get other work done, there’s a lot of pausing and returning later. Not ideal, but I’m at peace with it.

In the beginning, I had a vision of mapping out the whole 100 day run in advance. That ain’t happening. Generally, I have things lined up a few days in advance, but I still change my mind a lot, either because my mood changes or because I run across a recommendation that excites me.

The vast majority of the movies on my list are ones that I haven’t seen before. The exceptions are films that I either don’t remember well or want to re-explore. To maintain diversity, I’m going to avoid revisiting the same director until some time in Month 2.

Surprisingly, the hardest challenge so far is to get sufficient diversity in genre. I just haven’t run across that many promising comedies and mystery/thrillers. As a result, it’s a drama-heavy list and tilted a bit more than I’d like to “serious films.” For the sake of diversity and emotional stability, I’d love to balance out with lighter fare, if I could just find some better candidates.