The Algorithm

After looking at my movie stats for 2012, I vowed to try to watch more older films, more non-English films, and more films directed by women.

How did I do? Let’s look at the numbers.

Average release year: 1995
Non-English: 57 out of 255 (22%)
Female directors: 21 out of 273 (7.7%)

Average release year: 1995
Non-English: 30 out of 203 (15%)
Female directors: 11 out of 227 (4.8%)

So I failed. But I want to try again. And this time, I’m using science!

I’ve concocted an algorithm (maybe that’s not the right word, but I like it, so I’m using it) to score and sort the movies on my Netflix, Hulu Plus and LoveFilm queues, as well as those I’ve got lying around at home.

It starts off with the average of the film’s IMDb and Rotten Tomato scores (the latter divided by 10, and if the audience score is higher than the critics’ I’ll take that one). If we take “Declaration of War,” for example, the scores 7.1 and 86% would give us an average of 7.85.

Next, 0.1 points are added for every seven years since the film’s release. (Approximately, anyway, as the values get rounded up. So 0.1 points for a film that’s 4-10 years old, 0.2 for 11-17 years, and so on.) “Declaration of War” is from 2011, so it doesn’t get any extra points here.

It is both non-English (+0.5 points) and directed by a woman (+1.5), though. So it now stands at 9.85 points.

I also deduct half a point off of movies that I have already seen, to keep things fresh.

I’ve already started using the algorithm to tell me what to watch, and I’m very happy with it so far. Right now I’m in the middle of adding all of the over 500 Criterion titles on Hulu Plus to my spreadsheet.

Top of the list right now: a 3h 21min drama. Hooray!

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