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What Should I Watch Next: Best Ways to Discover New Movies

Updated on March 27, 2014
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Let's face it, we all spend way too much time searching for movies rather than actually watching them. Whether it's browsing through Netflix, skimming OnDemand or checking out the DVD selection at the library, a chunk of our time is devoted to finding a good movie. At the same time, we all have a list in our minds - a list of our favorite movies. We wish we could find a movie just like Brokeback Mountain or Rocky or maybe even a combination of both. You may take someones recommendation or glimpse a synopsis that sounds like it has potential. Half of the time, you don't even make it through the whole movie or trudge to the end, calling it a waste of 120 minutes. The struggle to find the perfect personalized movie may have diminished your faith in Hollywood; that struggle, however, is over with these tools and tricks to finding your next film.

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Barnes & Noble

It always comes back this - Barnes and Noble. The franchise does not simply sell books, their products are varied and a one-stop shop for all your entertainment needs. Not only this, but their comprehensive website makes it easy to navigate movie reviews, cast, synopsis, related categories and even a scene index. Most importantly though, is the "Customers who bought this also bought..." section which provides several movies with potentially similar themes, cast, plots, etc. A search for Date Night for example, generates a list of 20 related films including Grown Ups, The Backup Plan, Bounty Hunter, It's Complicated and Death at a Funeral.

The great aspect of using the Barnes and Noble site is the accessibility of all relevant information. With one click you can access the suggested movies information and from that another and another and another...well, you get the gist. In seconds you can be lead on a track of hundreds of related movies all at your fingertips.

A snapshot of a search of "Silver Linings Playbook" on Barnes and Noble.
A snapshot of a search of "Silver Linings Playbook" on Barnes and Noble.
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Popcorn

This innovative site allows you to type the title of a movie you like, a scroll down menu then appears, clarifying your search. With a click the popcorn icon will flash and out pops several related movie suggestions. These suggestions are likely based upon plot and theme, each having one similar to that of the searched movie. With a search of the Rock's The Game Plan Popcorn generates the following films: The Pacifier, Camp Rock and Daddy Day Care. Both the first and third movies focus on a man's new-found job as a father, a plot exactly matching that of The Game Plan. This site also breeds convenience. Popcorn allows the visitor to select these choices and attain more information including synopsis, cast, time length, genre and even a trailer.

Popcorn's best attribute is it's simplicity and accuracy. It is perfect when you're searching for just a couple of movie selections, as only few are given at times. When looking for more options a site like Barnes and Noble is where you should begin. At the same time, you may also need to wait several seconds as the server may be busy or even (for more recent movies) unable to find similar movie suggestions.

A search for "500 Days of Summer" generated these three results.
A search for "500 Days of Summer" generated these three results.

What Movie Should I Watch Tonight

Yet another highly interactive site this allows you to watch and flip through trailers. Upon entry to the website a random movie trailer will begin to play. The top right corner allows you to the option to skip the trailer, while panning over to the left side of the screen gives you more options. Categories ranging from Anything to Nerds, Classics and Explosions give you the option of viewing movies just of one genre. Almost like a Russian Roulette of movie selections, you can quickly get a feel for what the film is all about.

The left hand panel not only allows you to select a category, it also keeps track of your history. Mousing over the films provides further details of plot, release date and cast. Unlike Popcorn and Barnes and Noble, this website is not particularly aimed at providing suggestions based upon one movie. It does however, give a broader range of movie selections while exposing the viewer to previously unknown films.

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Jinni

Jinni has several unique features which allow you to discover movies with distinct plots, moods, time periods, genres, humor, style, etc. There's the ability to simply search a specific one of these listed categories or browse through a selection of classifications within these categories. For example, a search for a "bittersweet" mood, "fish out of water" plot within a "fantasy" genre taking place in the "suburbs" 5 recommendations were generated: ET, Edward Scissorhands, Me Myself and I, One Magic Christmas and The Family Man. There's even the ability to further refine these results, watch a trailer or get even more results similar to one of the listings.

A truly unique website, Jinni is perfect for finding a specific title based upon your exact specifications and movie desires. At the same time, the site provides adequate suggestions that give many options. With the added feature to create a personal account equipped with past searches and favorites, this site is incorporates a multitude of useful features that are easily navigable. While not so simplistic to the others, Jinni may be overwhelming to some.

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Looking for More Recommendations

There's a variety of tools out in the web to generate quality movie suggestions. Several not listed above include:

  • Movielens: This is an extremely basic website that produces powerful movie suggestions. Just take a minute to create an account. Once you rate 15 movies, Movielens will begin generating movie recommendations.
  • TasteKid: An all around entertainment guru go-to, TasteKid not only generate movie selections based on a search title, the site also provides book and music suggestions. A unique clever site for a simple entertainment lover.
  • Flixster: A site extremely similar to Movielens, yet providing the aesthetic value that the former lacks. With an account, Flixster gives you access to the online community while providing move recommendations based upon your ratings.
  • IMDb: A site that everyone is familiar with, IMDb not only provides information relating to cast, reviews and plots. The site also gives movie recommendations similar to the searched film. A basic tool that is reminiscent of Barnes and Noble online.
  • Rotten Tomatoes: A well-known movie viewer review site also has the feature to search movies based upon genre, rating, actors, etc.
  • Netflix: It's no surprise Netflix made it on the list. While scrolling through endless movies can be time consuming, there are gems to be found on Netflix. Not only can you search categories, recommendations are also generated based upon viewed movies and television series.

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    • alyssagoesgreen profile image
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      Alyssa S. 3 years ago from USA

      Thanks, Barnes and Noble is a go-to for me as well, but these website definitely offer more, they're worth a visit!

    • loganappenfeller profile image

      Logan 3 years ago from Topeka, KS

      I use Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB all the time. Barnes and Noble is regular place of visitation for me although I have not really spent much time in their music and movie section. I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the website recommendations as well!