Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Netflix Fail

Netflix, using its magical rating system to suggest movies for me, had a real winner today. In case you can't read the text, here's what it says:
Romantic Movies Featuring a Strong Female Lead

(based on watching Revolutionary Road and Itty Bitty Titty Committee*)

The Edge of Love, Twilight, The Nanny Diaries and 27 Dresses

Really, Netflix? Now I haven't seen The Edge of Love so I can't speak for that - but Twilight? Seriously? Based on my absolute adoration of Revolutionary Road, they suggest a movie with stalking and abstinence overtones**? And The Nanny Diaries and 27 Dresses? You call those strong female leads?

I'm utterly amazed at how Netflix seems to confuse just any lead female character with a strong lead female character. Do they think we're all stupid and will be excited that there's someone with a vagina on screen? They must, otherwise there'd be real suggestions for movies with strong female leads like Maude in Harold and Maude, the Boatswright sisters from The Secret Life of Bees, or Ana from Real Women Have Curves.

*I liked Itty Bitty Titty Committee but (spoiler) I'd have liked to see Anna end up with someone else besides Sadie. She's just flaky, in my opinion.
**The only good thing that came out of seeing Twilight was the jokes about having sex with a cold, sparkly person.


Amelia said...

Hmm, I don't think I completely understand Netflix. So are the recommendations based solely on what you've viewed? And how do they choose films? Where does the information about the films come from?

Also, I really want to see Itty Bitty Titty Committee. :)

kelly g. said...

Heh, I just ranted to my husband about this a few weeks ago. I ran into the same problem - incongruous titles in the 'strong female lead' and 'action adventure featuring strong females' categories. I wish I could remember the exact titles, but basically, if there was one female who was more than just a love interest, the film automatically qualified as having a 'strong female lead.'

@Amelia - I think they base recommendations on 1) movies you've rated and/or reviewed and 2) categories you specify you like. (The different category listings are amazingly detailed - the 'sports' category, for example, narrows down to 'football,' 'baseball,' 'golf,' etc. I went through the checklist to kill some time, and it took like 15 minutes.)

tessarae said...

the good news is, netflix does know its recommendations system is imperfect and are always having contests and stuff to try to improve their algorithms and search processes to make the recommendations better. so hopefully they'll improve that a lot soon, and you'll get much better, more resonant recommends!

Laura said...

I've had the exact same suggestions for "Romantic Comedies with a Strong Female Lead." I seriously laughed for a good while when they suggested Twilight as a strong female lead. Yes, apparently someone who is in need constant need to rescuing and is in love with a sparkly stalker is a strong female lead. Wow, Netflix, wow.