Wednesday, July 9, 2014

How to Pick and Sort Movies

Just a little sample of how I database things.

Sometimes to keep myself entertained I play games in how I watch my movies for the day.  Granted, how good the day is largely rests on what movies I see, but on the days I don't have a screener to go to I have to rely on stuff at home.  Just to make things a little more interesting I sometimes put restrictions on what I can watch.  Today I wanted to make sure I watched a couple of Oscar nominated movies for my book (regardless how many nominations they got).  I was in the mood for something exciting so I limited my choices to action and thriller.  I also didn't want to watch something that was dumb, but sometimes that is out of my control.  What I do then is I usually browse the high rated movies on IMDB to see what people like and what they don't.  This is no garuentee that you'll stumble upon (these people listed "Fight Club" as one of the top ten best movies of all time...not a bad film, but top ten of all TIME?!).

Once I get some ideas the first thing to do is to check and see if I have it on DVD or BluRay.  Film critics tend to buy a lot of movies for review purposes that end up being tax write off's, so it's not unusual for us to sometimes have dozens of films on disk that we've never actually seen (sometimes not even opened).  I don't know how most critics sort their movie collection, but I keep certain types of films together in order of the year they were released: Best Picture Winners, Disney, Pixar, BluRay 3D, get the picture.  The most maddening group is the Criterion Collection, which I sort based on the number on the spine.  The rest I sort alphabetically.  This sort of sorting (ho ho) alone is not enough on it's own though.  The second thing I do is keep a database on my movies.

The information covers title, year, director, stars, rating, and format (typical for most people who keep movie databases).  I add a couple more options though that most people don't include: Criterion and Oscar.  If a movie has won Best Picture, Best Animated Feature, Best Documentary, or best film anything at the Academy Awards I put an X in the the 'Oscar' column.  That lets me know to look for the movie on my Oscar shelf instead of on the shelves of regular movies.  If a movie is a Criterion film I put the number in the Criterion column.  I didn't use to do this, but as my collection grew I found finding the Criterion movies extremely frustrating.  Unless the database indicated it was a Criterion title I could be looking for it for hours.  If I didn't number it the result would be the same.

You have to think about these things if you plan to have a big movie collection.  If you have a movie collection of at least thirty titles I think making a database is something to consider.  You might not get it very high, but it's always good to get started early so that this is a much easier project.  I started my first database when I was 12 years old and my family had over 400 VHS tapes.  It took almost a whole week to database those movies and I wish I had started sooner.  Having a database is essential for any movie fan unless you plan to buy all your movies on UltraViolet where they will be on the cloud and neatly sorted for you already.  For the record, both movies I ended up watching where good movies, I had one of them on DVD, and ironically they were directed by Michael Bay and Tony Scott, two directors I typically don't like.

Yep, some days are more interesting than others.


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