When I wrote a post the other day with movie recommendations (my good friend Simon Straubinger made a list on IMDb with all 100 movies), I got interested in exploring the movies I like that are not universally known or liked by a majority of people. The Shawshank Redemption, for example, has an average rating of 9.3 and is rated by around 2.7 million users, and there is no need for me to recommend or talk about that movie (again).
Instead, I decided to apply a list of filters to my IMDb ratings and explore what movies would make it through the filters. Here is the list of filters:
- Only movies. I am only interested in actual movies, not TV shows or mini-series. On average, I find it more difficult to talk about less know TV shows that are good. Most people watch a lot of bad TV, and I am confident that good TV shows are also well-known by now.
- No documentaries. While documentaries are movies, I often find that I evaluate and rate this specific in a different manner than other genres. I am not saying they are not interesting to look at, but I have excluded them on this list.
- Only relative few ratings. I do not want to include very popular movies. For that reason, I only include movies in the lower quartile (Q1) in terms of the number of votes from IMDb users.
- Only good movies. To make sure that we are actually looking at movies I like, I only look at movies I have given a rating of 8, 9 or 10. However, do keep in mind that just because I gave a movie an 8 out of 10 when I rated the movie, it is not the same as I would give the movie a similar rating if I were to rate it today.
- Only one movie per year. To make sure the list is not too long, I only pick one movie per year. For example, if I have given two movies in a given year a 10 out of 10 rating, I will pick the movie with the lowest number of votes.
- Only underrated movies. I want to make sure that I am not just looking at movies that everybody like, but movies I find (relatively) underrated (not bad movies according to IMDb, but not among the great movies). To do this, I here only look at movies with an average IMDb rating less than 8 (i.e., I will always give a higher rating than the IMDb average). In a post from 2010, I only considered movies with an average rating below 7 for underrated, but I believe with all the filters introduced above in mind that 8 is a sensible threshold here.
When I apply the above filters, I do not get a movie for every year. However, we do get a list of 45 movies. Here is an overview of the lesser known movies I like with information on the genres, average IMDb rating and the number of votes (with no more than one entry per year):
Of course, for 2022, it is possible that another movie will eventually take the spot (such as Aftersun, Argentina, 1985, When Are You Moving Out?, Holy Spider or Los renglones torcidos de Dios). I just haven’t watched that many different movies from 2022 yet.
Again, these are movies I like (or liked at the time I rated them), and chances are that you will be much closer to the average IMDb ratings than my ratings. Accordingly, explore the individual entries to get inspiration, not recommendations.