Netflix's recommendations are getting kinda wonky

Not sure this is the right forum, but it’s about movies in a roundabout way, so here it starts.

I just re-enrolled in Netflix, after a few months’ break due to not enough time to watch enough movies to make it worthwhile. It used to be that their recommendation system was pretty good. I don’t know what the system was, but the recommendations made sense, similar types of movies or actors.

But today, yikes. I returned Whale Rider, a New Zealand-made movie about a young Maori girl struggling to find her place in her tribe and family. One of those quiet little indie movies about family, emotion, fitting in, you know the type. So what does Netflix recommend based on my liking Whale Rider? Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, The Sixth Sense, and season 1 of Arrested Development.

WTF? Nothing similar in terms of genre, scope, mood, or production group/actors. Where in the hell did that come from? I read a thread here just recently about how Amazon seems to base a lot of its recommendations on what other people who bought your items also bought. That makes some sense, in a roundabout way, but Netflix’s recommendation used to be much more focused on what I actually rated. Have they changed their algorithms for ratings? Anyone else had bizarro-land recommendations lately?

I haven’t noticed any weird problems with Neflix’s recommendations. In fact, one of the reasons I’m such a big fan of Netflix is that its recommendations are usually spot on, and I’ve seen some great movies that I would’ve overlooked otherwise. (A good example is Running Scared, which I just returned. An excellent action movie with character depth).

How many movies have you rated? I’ve rated about 1200 movies, and I gather the more movies you’ve rated, the more fine tuned the recommendations.

Jango Fett in AoTC was played by a Maori.

The Sixth Sense… Had a kid in it.

And um… Someone is mutilated by an aquatic mammal in Arrested Development.

See? It makes perfect sense. You obviously enjoy works with Maoris, kids, and aquatic mammals, and Netflix gave them to you.

For me, it thinks that I adore liberal documentaries. That’s not a huge stretch since I gave Moore’s films pretty good ratings and rent more docs than the average guy, but some of these things are pretty dreadful. Being liberal is not enough, thank you.

Actually, I think the way Netflix’s recommendations work is that it looks at customers who’s given more or less the same ratings to the films you rated. It then looks at movies they’ve seen that you haven’t, and recommends those with higher ratings.

I was a little freaked out by how good Netflix’s reccomendations were for me. I have rated about 80 movies and the list seems to be spot on. All the movies on the list that I have seen I liked. That leads me to believe I should like the ones on the list that I haven’t seen.

Okay, that makes pretty good sense. I do like sci-fi action movies and have rated a couple of Shyamalan’s (sp?) movies fairly high. I have no idea what Arrested Development even is, so I don’t know where that might have come from. So in the context of everything I’ve rated (about 200 or so, PoorYorick), that works.

I guess I was thrown off by the wording. It said something like, “Since you liked Whale Rider, you’ll like these.” It pretty specifically referenced what I had just rated, not my rating habits in general. Poor phrasing on their part, I guess.

Arrested Development was a clever TV series, now defunct. I liked it and I liked Whale Rider. YMMV.

Okay, that one’s explained now. It’s fluiddruid’s fault! :slight_smile:

I once told NetFlix that I enjoyed Kieslowski’s “Three Colors” trilogy and, since then, about 40% of my recommendations come from the “Foreign” stockpile without rhyme nor reason towards their content.

Apparently, if you enjoy one subtitled movie, you’ll like them all.