I Got (Algo)Rithm

To be sung to the tune of George and Ira Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm”:

I got algo, I got rithm, I got pop-ups
Who could ask for anything more?
I’m a target of “smart marketing”
That’s forever
Who could ask for anything more?

Alec about to be confronted

We can’t avoid them. Algorithms are here to stay. So I won’t whine, because as long as I choose to live online, I know they’ll follow me everywhere I go like a stray droid mutt. But maybe I can teach them a few new tricks–or they can teach me theirs.

Last week, the algorithms at IMDb caused the total rating of my feature film Healing River to plummet after a single new rating came in! It didn’t make any sense–the movie has won multiple awards and has a stellar rating at Amazon Prime. I ranted to our team: “A stranger is attacking our baby!” They commiserated with me. Then our executive producer Mike called and said, “Let it go, Mitch.” He was right, of course. He’s a man of faith, as am I, who knows that God’s plans—unlike ours—cannot be thwarted.

But then, our team members learned something that just might help alter that spasmodic glitch: IMDb is designed to show “weighted” rather than actual ratings. Our median score is a rather impressive 9. But when that one fatal vote came in our weighted score (the one that appears everywhere online) dropped to a 4! Why?

Because IMDb’s programmers assume high scores given by people who haven’t voted for any other movies are from biased people–that the film’s producers are gaming the system. (Note: To avoid bias, those who worked on Healing River have not rated it, or told anyone else what score to give it). IMDb’s assumption has backfired in many cases. Hundreds of well-loved movies have low IMDb scores because too many people who loved them voted for them, and just them. That’s what’s happened to Healing River. It’s the victim of too much love!

Have you entered a score for Healing River at IMDb, but no other movies? If so, and if you’re willing to spare five or ten minutes, go there and rate a dozen more films (good, bad, so-so, etc.). Make the algorithms happy. If our weighted average goes up, great. Thank you! If not? Well, I’m letting it go, Mike, I’m letting it go. After all, ultimately, the algorithms don’t decide what matters…

God does. 

Haven’t seen Healing River? You can watch or order it here.

Healing River Poster

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Humor, Memoir, Movies, Popular Culture & Entertainment, Quips and Quotes and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to I Got (Algo)Rithm

  1. Dora says:

    That’s brutal. I never liked algorithms in school either, back in the days when you used slide rules or looked in the back of the book. I think I’m going to enjoy mucking up this particular one in your favor. 🤗🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Okay, Mitch! It’s a done deal. I am a terrible reviewer, as in lazy, but it is a really good way to exercise some writing skills. Indeed, you are the only review I have ever left on IMDb, which is simply because I thought “Healing River” was really well done. I shall now proceed to review other movies, too. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Okay – I’ll go rate some movies. I love messing with algorithms.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. smzang says:

    as said, done!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting. I’m one of those monogamous movie raters! I’ll rate a few more. Hope it helps.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Bill Sweeney says:

    I use IMBD to check parental ratings. Over the years, I have learned not to trust their review score when it comes to faith-based movies. They seem to have a bias against Christian movies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      Well, not them (IMDb) per se. But, yes, I do think a large number of regular voters (who carry more “weight” in the total score) vote against faith-based movies without actually seeing them, simply as a matter of principal. Which is probably where most of our low scores came from.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. SLIMJIM says:

    I hope their ratings are able to go up

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have not yet viewed “Healing River,” but it’s on my watch list for home date night. I do not typically “rate” movies on IMDB, but I will put in a good rating to tip the “weight” in favor of good “algo”rithms. I like what you did with that, by the way. Very clever. 🙂👍

    Liked by 1 person

  9. gpavants says:


    Got it. It’s good to know more calculations are figured in the spiritual world.



    Liked by 1 person

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