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How to see movies you actually want to watch

It can often feel like there are too many movies. The abundance of choices at our fingertips, thanks to services like Netflix, can make deciding what to watch on any given night overwhelming.

As a critic, one of the things I hear most frequently is that people want to watch great movies, but that they simply fall into watching whatever happens to be in the glossy preview section at the top of Netflix’s homepage. Yes, the streaming Goliath is a master at goading users into watching exactly what it wants you to watch (see: the Bird Box phenomenon), so it’s no surprise that this method can ultimately leave you dissatisfied.

This year, make a point of being a purposeful film watcher. This is The Week‘s guide to watching movies with intention in 2019.

1. Plan ahead

The easiest way to end up watching something you don’t want to watch is to go in without a plan. While Netflix’s algorithm could potentially suggest something you’d end up loving, more likely you’ll become victim to the company trying to push its original content down your throat (or, worse yet, browsing until you run out of time to actually watch anything — been there, done that). Instead, consider strategizing ahead of time. Plan a movie night a day or two in advance, and at the same time plan what it is that you want to watch.

Unfortunately, with the death of the streaming service Filmstruck last year, it has become harder to watch classic, foreign,

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