How to Choose What to Watch on Netflix

So you’ve got the hankering to snuggle up on the couch with a big bowl of buttery popcorn and watch a movie on Netflix. Your sweetie is cuddled up beside you with a blanket, the moon is bright, and you both smile as you switch on the TV. You’re sure to spend a night filled with laughs, “oohs” and “aahs“, and maybe even a tear. Where will the night take you?!

Twenty-five minutes later you’re screaming at each other as you scroll through yet another genre. “What the frick is The Cobbler?” “It looks good, Jason, let’s watch it!” “Good?! This coming from the person who insisted we binge Fuller House?” “Fuck you, keep going, there must be something we can agree on.” “Oh, Down Periscope! I love Kelsey Grammer!” “We just saw that.” “I hate you!!!!”

Sound familiar?

Well, the good news is there are many ways to come to a compromise on what to watch on Netflix, whether it’s you and your significant other, you and a group, or just you.

  • Try to complete some sort of list. Watch every movie available on the IMDB Top 100 in order, or every Best Picture winner, regardless whether you’ve seen it or don’t think you’ll like it.
  • Close your eyes and start scrolling through titles for 20 seconds. Go up, down, left, right. Whatever you stop on you have to watch. Or if you’re super lame you could agree that you could pick that movie or anything bordering it.
  • Put a timer on for one minute and force yourself to pick something in that timeframe. If you don’t you have to either do 25 push-ups before you can try again or else it’s over and you go to bed.
  • Ask for recommendations from your biggest movie buff friend. Maybe you don’t know the first thing about movies and TV but your friend might. The best way to uncover hidden gems is to ask.
  • Choose 64 titles you’re interested in and draw out a bracket-style tournament where you pit titles off against each other until only one remains. It’s the only truly sane way to do it. If you’ve got extra time, 128 or 256 also makes a lot of sense.
  • Perhaps one of you really wants to watch a movie and the other one doesn’t. Agree right now that if this situation ever arises where one person is passionate about watching something and the other is ambivalent, let the passionate person win out. But only a maximum of three straight times for one person.
  • If there are two people present, choose each of your first initials and then find a movie with those letters. Is it R and L? Well, you just booked yourself a night of Kyra Sedgwick’s Rays of Light!
  • Just pick something and start watching it. Agree beforehand that if you both agree after 15 minutes that it sucks, you make a drinking game out of it. If you’re into it, then go with it!
  • If you’re still at odds with what to watch, you should probably just see if Groundhog Day is currently on Netflix. Whether or not you’ve seen it a hundred times, everyone will like it and go to bed happy.

It’s tough, isn’t it? Back in the day when there were fewer options, it was easier to find something to watch. Now that there are endless options, we have trouble landing on anything. You’re spoiled rotten, you know that right? What Laura Ingalls Wilder wouldn’t have given to have had 25,000 movies at her fingertips. Just pick something and deal with it.

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My Hot Take:
Oh, this comes up very frequently with me and my wife. Forget Netflix. We’ve also got DirecTV and all of its On-Demand channels, HBO, Showtime, Amazon Prime, you name it. There are way more options than we can deal with. I generally get my show picks from a few close, reliable friends who rarely steer me wrong with movie picks, most notably Jason LaPlant of Adventures in Pop Culture fame, as well as Brad Feeney, a resident of the Twin Cities. If these guys recommend something, there’s a very good chance I’ll be into it.

If you can’t agree on a show or movie to watch, randomize it somehow so you’re forced to watch something instead of scrolling through titles all night long.

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