Hilarious Amazon Recommendations

A small but very representative sampling of my DVD collection, which runs very heavy on trashy 70s and 80s horror and monster movies.

A small but very representative sampling of my DVD collection, which runs very heavy on trashy 70s and 80s horror and monster movies.

Anyone who shops online or browses free content knows that websites use search algorithms (or something else mathy) to get an idea of your interests and then make recommendations for additional purchases or other forms of consumption.

YouTube is pretty good at this. I watched a video of former Prince protege Sheila E on a whim the other day, and the right-side column of recommendations included a bunch of other 80s-era Prince proteges like Morris Day, Vanity 6, and The Family.

Amazon, on the other hand, is comically off target most of the time.

As you may deduce from my lead image, I am a fan of horror and monster movies, particularly the grimy, “video nasty” kind that played at drive-ins and urban cinemas in the 70s and 80s. “Why” is a different post; suffice to say that you won’t find many mainstream films on my shelf. Which is the reason I shop on Amazon in the first place. Best Buy and Target simply don’t carry much in the way of Japanese giant monster flicks or Spanish werewolf movies.

I receive nutty Amazon recommendations… or should I say “wreckommendations,” and took a few screen shots for your amusement. Note the reason for the recommendation in the red box at the bottom of each screen shot:

Amazon wreckommendation - Mickey Xmas

 

Look, either you’re one of them Disney people who can’t get enough of It’s a Small World, or you are obsessed with giant, toothy destroyers of worlds. There is no overlap. This is from Godzilla vs. Biollante:

godzilla vs biolante

 

******

And then there’s…

Amazon wreckommendation - breathless

Because they both start with B? Because “breathing” shows up in the poster art?

beast of hollow mountain

*****

 and…

Amazon wreckommendation - my girl

Look at the picture from Demons 2 below and tell me what complex statistical analysis determined it was made for the same audience that enjoys a sappy, gentle love story featuring two precocious children.

demons 2

*****

or…

Amazon wreckommendation - The Interview

Yes. The controversial 2014 comedy starring two current high-profile movie stars is practically an unofficial sequel to a trashy, no-budget splatter flick from 1977 that played at 3 drive-ins for all of a week.

Amazon wreckommendation - melting man

*****

and finally, my favorite:

Amazon wreckommendation - sound of music

scream blacula scream

One is a lush, sweeping epic featuring the most glamorous, beloved movie stars of the era, full of unforgettable music and directed by a Hollywood legend. The other is some drivel about a governess who falls in love with a Nazi and gets in trouble for turning the drapes into ugly clothes and putting them on his obnoxious, entitled children.

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27 responses to “Hilarious Amazon Recommendations

  • Sue Archer

    Ha! I especially love that last one. Are you sure you don’t have a hidden side that Amazon is revealing? 😉

  • nrhatch

    OMG! This is too funny. Netflix has made a few bizarre recommendations based on movies I enjoyed but nothing even approaching this. Amazon has raised inappropriate suggestions to an art form!

    BTW: I am NOT coming over for Movie Night tomorrow (or, well, ever) . . . no matter how much free pizza you wave in front of me.

  • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

    If you don’t give them anything to work on, you suffer the dreaded Random Numbers and Rounding Errors recommendations.

    You must have fallen off the edge of their algorithms.

    Quite funny. You’re sure there isn’t someone else at your house using your account? But no – they give you their reasons. Indeed, hilarious.

    • ericjbaker

      I don’t know. I’ve purchased a ton of movies from them over the years. Any random horror or science fiction movie would be a better recommendation than a lighthearted family film.

      It doesn’t stop me from shopping, so I guess they aren’t worried. I mean, here I am advertising Amazon, even if it’s in a backhanded way!

  • LearningToSurfPublications

    I think I see what Amazon is trying to do to you – behaviour modification or mind-control! Love it. Leenna

  • Jill Weatherholt

    These are hilarious, Eric. Come to think of it, Richard Gere was somewhat of a Neanderthal in the movie “Breathless.”

    • ericjbaker

      Pretty funny. If you go back and watch the trailer, and remember that he was a sex symbol at the time, it makes you wonder what people were thinking. His character is a creepy weirdo. I think they were trying (and failing) to capture some of that “American Graffiti” magic.

  • Kate Crimmins

    These are outrageous. There is a nice person using your account or you’ve been hacked! Ditto Nancy, not coming to your movie night.

  • 1WriteWay

    Yes, I burst out laughing with your last paragraph. The “wreckommendations” were funny enough, but your commentary is hilarious. Now, you’re telling me you can eat pizza while watching The Incredible Melting Man? Oy.

    • ericjbaker

      Being intrigued as I am by how films are made (and having taken a few filmmaking courses in college), I have a hard time finding such things horrifying. I can’t help but think about the shot setups and so on, just like I can’t avoid dissecting the instruments and arrangements when I listen to music. So yeah, pizza and melting men can co-exist peacefully in my little corner of the world!

      I also value the aesthetic of cheap, grainy film stock. Yeah, I’m weird, but you knew that. 😉

  • Janna G. Noelle

    That’s really weird, EJ. My Amazon recs are usually pretty spot on, if not referencing something I ultimately want to buy, at least being consistent with previous purchases or searches. I’ve actually started using Amazon recs to help me with my historical research: I go in a look up a few books on a subject and within the next two weeks, a whole list of similar titles lands in my inbox.

    Are you sure you haven’t made a few other, more sensitive purchases than the blood, guts, and monster madness you’ve presented us with here? Numbers, after all, never lie. 😉

    • ericjbaker

      I’ve purchased the odd gift that I would have not considered for myself, but still, Amazon keeps pointing to the reason for the recommendation, and it’s often quite bizarre. It’s a source of free entertainment (I think the best comedy is the accidental kind), so I’ll continue to laugh.

      Did I ever mention the time they recommended Dee Dee Sharp and Dee Dee Bridgewater because I had purchased a CD by Dee Dee Warwick? Clearly it’s the first name, not the last, that drew me in!!!

  • livelytwist

    Hilarious! My book recommendations are quite good. Haven’t bought DVDs on Amazon. Maybe they’re trying to tell you something . . .
    Are you listening Eric? 🙂

  • Richard Leonard

    Ha ha, this is hilarious! I think the Ten TV Network in Australia uses a similar (or worse) algorithm to select ads to play during certain programs (as if direct placement by advertisers isn’t happening). I was watching an episode of American Horror Story Freakshow late last year with my daughter (mainly to see what wierd stuff she watches – it featured a horrid clown called Twisty with a ghastly smile-mask and various other bizzare and psychopathic characters), when up pops an ad for Peppa Pig merch. Daughter and I just looked at each other wondering about any possible audience overlap we might be unaware of. Thinking about it now, maybe “clown” was the binding factor that tied an innocent children’s world with a blood-filled freakshow carnival.

  • Arkenaten

    Amazon probably has access to ”alternate” stuff where you will discover Julie Andrews starred in one or two shifty movies before Sound of Music etc.
    Titles such as Van Dyke’s Dick, perhaps? Or even Mary’s Pop-in?

    • ericjbaker

      Well, she did do a brief topless scene in one of the many crappy films directed by her husband. I can’t remember the name of the flick, but it wasn’t good.

      • Arkenaten

        Yes! You’re right! Vaguely remember that too.
        It got a lot of flack way back when if memory serves.
        Wasn’t it around the time she made Victor Victoria?
        I am so keen that I shall allow the honour of Googling to fall to you, Eric!

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