At Jinni, we aim to offer a new approach to choosing movies that’s richer and more meaningful than the usual genres and keywords. Of course we have other favorite sites that offer different perspectives or unexpected insights into the world of movies. Here’s a list of 5 interesting links to check out.
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Popularity: 5% [?]
While you’re waiting impatiently for Zack and Miri Make a Porno to open in theaters this Friday, let’s talk about director Kevin Smith. In the style of many geniuses before him, Smith dropped out of film school, worked as a video store clerk, and sold his comic book collection to make his first movie, Clerks, on a budget of $27,000. Flush with $3 million at the box office and critical acclaim, Smith went on to make Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Jersey Girl, and Clerks 2. What do nearly all these movies have in common? Slackers. So in honor of KS’s favorite character type, here’s our list of top cinematic slackers. Grab that dirty clothing off the floor, collapse on your ratty couch, stuff stale cheetos in your face, and get inspired…
1. The Big Lebowski, 1998
Jeff Lebowski, known as the Dude, is a cheerful burnout whose world turns upside down when he’s mistaken for a millionaire with the same name – and finds himself in the LA underworld. The plot is frenetic, the dialogue is hilariously absurd, and the soundtrack and acting are unexpectedly stellar.
2. Clerks, 1994
Chronicling a day in the life of a Quick Stop clerk, Clerks captures the hilarity of the humdrum even as it raises slackerdom to existential proportions. From behind his counter, Dante Hicks tries to bring some order to the crazy customers, his mixed-up love life, and his incorrigible friend and fellow clerk Randal.
3. Knocked up, 2007
Lazy, immature 23-year-old Ben sporadically works on a pseudo-porn website in between smoking up with his roommates – until a one-night stand with Alison, a glamorous career woman, leads to accidental pregnancy. The parents-to-be have practically nothing in common, but they decide to keep the baby and give their relationship a chance.
4. Clerks 2, 2006
In this funny, very raunchy sequel to Clerks, it’s been more than 10 years but Dante Hicks and Randal Graves are still working at the same Quick Stop video and convenience store in New Jersey – until it burns down and they find jobs at Mooby’s, a nearby fast-food joint. The film features cameos from Jason Lee and Ben Affleck and a soundtrack ranging from Smashing Pumpkins to Alanis Morissette.
5. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, 2001
Kevin Smith’s fifth and final installment in his New Jersey Chronicles is a chance for scene-stealing stoner Jay and his taciturn sidekick Silent Bob to carry their own movie. It’s a lovingly crude comedy rife with celebrity cameos, slapstick movie spoofs, and clever jabs at Hollywood.
6. Dazed and Confused, 1993
Stoners, jocks, and snobby sorority girls wait for classes to end with drugs and parties. Richard Linklater’s movie is a comic, nostalgic cross-clique look at high school, with a painfully familiar and unforgettable cast of characters.
7. Billy Madison, 1995
To gain control of his family’s billion dollar business, a slacker must go back to school and get through grades 1-12 again in 6 months. The fact that he’s a hopeless goof who failed it all the first time doesn’t help.
8. Mallrats, 1995
When a couple of well-meaning slackers lose their girlfriends, they set about trying to reclaim their pride – and their women – in the most obvious place: the mall. The film marked Jason Lee’s debut as a leading man, and though it failed in theaters, it became a cult classic on video.
9. Big Daddy, 1999
Adam Sandler stars as Sonny Koufax, a perpetual adolescent whose girlfriend gives him an ultimatum: take some responsibility or kiss her goodbye. Magically, his roommate’s child turns up on his doorstep, and Sonny decides to care for the child and prove his maturity.
10. Slacker, 1991
Texan filmmaker Richard Linklater’s debut indie feature takes an original approach to narrative, creating an entirely new form of cinema in the process. Shot at a leisurely pace with a style similar to Robert Bresson, Slacker follows the unmotivated inhabitants of Austin, Texas over one day as they waste their time talking about politics, philosophy, and pop culture.
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Popularity: 8% [?]
This campaign season has unquestionably been a media circus. With characters and stories overshadowing real issues, sketches and parodies racing around the Internet, it sometimes feels like we’re watching a movie and not a serious political event. Or rather several movies, each candidate starring in their own version of events. If so, which movies do we feel we’re watching? And more than that, which movies do the candidates think they’re starring in? Below is my take. Feel free to add yours in the comments!
Barack Obama starring as… Harry Potter in Harry Potter
John McCain starring as… John McClane in Die Hard
What do all these movies have in common? Based on the Movie Genome that powers our website, Jinni.com, they all have themes of Underdog or One Man Army or both. Now who gets to play Rise to the Top (and a whole new batch of movies) on November 4…? Feel free to add your take below!
Popularity: 4% [?]
Genre is the entertainment industry’s main organizing concept. And Wikipedia tells us the problem: “Genres are vague categories with no fixed boundaries.”
If I say, “This is an action movie,” do you know enough to risk several hours of your time?
Without better ways to organize content, market leaders like Netflix invented a set of new genres to reflect variations on a few. Check it out to see whether the approach is easy to use. I don’t think so.
In the end, genre is good enough when professionals select content for us, but too limiting when we’re selecting for ourselves. While genre is a useful secondary concept, we need a more expressive primary language.
I believe we understand video experientially and emotionally – and that’s how we naturally look for what to watch. (e.g. “I feel like a light, upbeat movie.”) Genre just doesn’t capture that. At Jinni, we aim to create a multifaceted discovery engine that does.
Take Assassination of a High School President, which is releasing March 2009. Usually it’s catalogued as a comedy. On Jinni, it’s catalogued based on our Movie Genome. Users could come across it by searching a mix of words and phrases including Clever, Suspenseful, Cheating, Journalism, Teen Life, Neo-noir or while looking for movies that are similar to Brick, Young Sherlock Holmes, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and more.
Popularity: 3% [?]