Saturday, May 24, 2008

Netflix Recommendations: A Trip Down the Rabbit Hole

The last time I logged into Netflix, I was advised that they were sure I'd give Spongebob Squarepants: Friend or Foe 4.6 stars. Seeing as how I have not rated any Spongebob movies, let alone cartoons, on Netflix, I was interested to know how they arrived at that recommendation. Apparently, I rated Unzipped, the 1995 documentary about Isaac Mizrahi 5 stars. Guilty. How that translated into love for animated sponges, I'm still not entirely sure. Unless the gays are big SpongeBob fans, I really don't see how the two are related, other than I'm sure you can buy Mizrahi products and SpongeBob products at Target. I've never really put much store in Netflix recommendations. You'd think that with the over 2,600 ratings I've provided them, they'd be able to figure out what I want to watch. Or, even what movies people generally might be interested in if they watch a particular movie. You'd be wrong.

For example: I have The Other Boleyn Girl in my queue.
Netflix says that people who enjoyed that movie enjoyed the Bridget Jones sequel and How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days. The only approximately related historical drama movie they suggested was First Night. The first and second seasons of The Tudors were nowhere to be found. Neither were A Man for All Seasons, Anne of The Thousand Days, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, The Private Life of Henry VIII, Henry VIII and the TV version of The Other Boleyn Girl, all of which are available on Netflix.

Here's hoping that when the Netflix Prize is awarded, the technology will actually improve the recommendations. Yeah right.

What are the most ridiculous recommendations you've received?


Laurie said...

Oh, I just got the Spongebob recommendation also!

But this is my favorite of all-time.

Sherpa said...

I laugh at what I get recommended too. Unrelated confession(sort of), I like Spongebob.