I asked Google Gemini to plan my movie viewing for a week — and the list is weirdly brilliant

Google Gemini logo with person holding phone
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

I don’t get a lot of time to watch TV or movies anymore so I need to make the most of what time I have. I’m also indecisive and will spend much of what time I do have scrolling Netflix in the hope of finding something that looks interesting.

To combat this, and because I spend my day writing about AI, I thought I’d see if I could get Google Gemini to plan a week's worth of viewing for me — essentially a personal film festival.

The prompt I gave the chatbot was: “Assume I only have time for one 2-3 hour movie per night and that I want to watch just one movie per night, plan a week-long personal film festival with the theme unlikely hero.” 

I also asked it to “Include a brief synopsis, a theme for the day, and where I can watch it on streaming platforms assuming I have access to Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+.” Of course, the best place to find fun movies to watch is through a Tom's Guide list of top movies on streaming platforms.

My personal film festival schedule

One mistake I made in the prompt was not giving it any preferences for style, genre, or even age of the movies. It was given total free reign, and this made for an eclectic mix.

It also stuck to the idea of giving each night a different theme within the wider theme of an unlikely hero. For example, Monday is the accidental hero, and Wednesday is courage against all odds.

The one thing it struggled with was the “places to watch” as I double-checked them, and very few were actually available. For example, it says to watch Shrek on Netflix, but it isn’t available.

Day 1: Shrek

I haven’t seen the first Shrek movie since it came out, and I was 20 at the time, so I was not really the target audience. 

I do remember enjoying it, but it doesn’t hold the same cult status in my mind that it does for other millennials. However, as I’ve gotten older, I relate more to the grumpy ogre than would have been the case 23 years ago.

Gemini says it picked Shrek for the theme “Accidental Hero” because “it's a fun example of how even someone who seems grumpy and prefers to be alone can end up being a true hero.”

The AI added that “Shrek wants nothing to do with quests at first, but his adventure shows how heroism can blossom from surprising places.”

Day 2: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Day two’s theme was “The Hero From Within,” and for this, Google Gemini said I should watch Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. I saw this movie at the cinema with my children and loved it. It felt like classic Spider-Man with a modern twist. 

As for why Gemini wanted it for the theme of the day: “This movie is all about the idea that anyone can become a hero, no matter how ordinary they seem! Miles Morales is just a regular kid until he gets superpowers, but he has to discover the bravery within himself to rise to the challenge.”

So far, I’ve had two cartoon movies primarily aimed at children. While I’m young at heart I’m hoping it steps things up soon with something a little more grown up.

Day 3: The Wizard of Oz

Day three’s theme was “Courage Against All Odds,” which gave me the Judy Garland-fronted Wizard of Oz movie from 1939. We’ve gone from Shrek to Spider-Man to Dorothy and her sparkling shoes.

I adore The Wizard of Oz. I’ve watched it multiple times, and it is an incredible movie, a great example of classic cinema, and a work of art. I think Gemini was a bit on the nose with the theme and could have been more creative—the Truman Show and Pride come to mind.

So why did Gemini pick the Wizard of Oz? “I chose "The Wizard of Oz" because it shows the power of facing your fears. Dorothy could have just given up when she landed in Oz, but she finds strength she didn't know she had and makes her way home.” Yup, a literal interpretation.

Day 4: Hidden Figures

So far, we’ve had an unlikely hero, a hero from within, and courage against all odds. The next theme is the unassuming force, which I think is an inspired theme idea from Gemini, and it suggested one of my favorite movies of the last decade — Hidden Figures.

Hidden Figures, released in 2016, tells the true story of the African-American women who played a crucial but unheralded role in the early years of the NASA space program. 

I can easily see why Gemini picked it for this theme. The AI said: “This movie is a powerful reminder that real heroes aren't always the ones in the spotlight. The women in "Hidden Figures" were brilliant and essential, but didn't get the credit they deserved – that's what makes them inspiring and important figures.”

Day 5: Paddington

It's not a cartoon as such, but we seem to be back to the children’s movies again. This time, Gemini suggested Paddington as a good example of “The Power of Kindness.”

Paddington is great. I’ve always enjoyed Paddington, including the books as a child. The Tom’s Guide offices in London are near Paddington and I go through the station regularly — there’s even a shop dedicated to the marmalade-loving bear. I see the reason for the suggestion but it also feels a bit on the nose, something of a literal interpretation.

Gemini gave the excuse: “I think "Paddington" is a perfect fit for this day because he proves that being kind and good-hearted can be your greatest strength. He charms everyone around him just by being himself, and that's a powerful kind of heroism.”

Personally, I’d have gone for Forrest Gump for the “power of kindness”.

Day 6: Rocky

The penultimate day’s theme is “The Underdog Victorious,” and Gemini suggested Rocky. I’m ashamed to admit it, given its cult status, but this is the only movie on the list I’ve never seen. I’ve seen clips and know the overall theme, so I can see why it was a good pick, but I need to watch it.

The Sylvester Stalone-fronted boxing film tells the story of a down-and-out boxer who is given a once-in-a-lifetime chance to fight a champion, following the process of preparing for battle.

Gemini gave its reasoning for the suggestion. "Rocky"  is the ultimate never-give-up movie!  He's not the best boxer, and no one expects him to win, but his pure determination and refusal to lose is what makes him such an inspiring underdog hero.”

Day 7: WALL-E

The fact five of the seven movies Gemini suggested are essentially children’s films is on me as I didn’t specify a target audience or age range. However, I’m also a big fan of all the movies suggested, including the final film WALL-E. Picked for the theme “Unexpected Transformation.”

Unfortunately, I think this is another example of being too literal with the interpretation. There are other films that fit the spirit of the theme better, including Shawshank Redemption, Dead Poets Society, or if you insist on a children's film, Beauty and the Beast.

In the 2008 Pixar movie WALL-E is a robot tasked with cleaning up the Earth and ends up saving humanity, showing courage and even love. Gemini wrote: “I picked "WALL-E" to close out the festival because it's heartwarming proof that change can start from the smallest, most unlikely of places. WALL-E is just a little robot, but his love and optimism end up having a huge impact – that's unexpected heroism at its best!”

Final thoughts on the films

I think Gemini was able to offer a good selection of movies that the whole family could enjoy, but it was also painfully literal in some of its theme interpretations.

That could be my fault for not being more specific about the target audience, the types of movies I like, or even the actual themes themselves. 

Gemini did offer ways to customize the festival, including making it edgier by including films like Logan or Made Max: Fury Road. It also asked if I wanted to focus on a specific genre.

The main advantage of an AI chatbot tool, particularly one with a large context window, is its ability to remember what you’ve asked before and adapt. While it is great that you can get a list of movies from the first prompt, you can ask it to make changes, refine the list, or add more.

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Ryan Morrison
AI Editor

Ryan Morrison, a stalwart in the realm of tech journalism, possesses a sterling track record that spans over two decades, though he'd much rather let his insightful articles on artificial intelligence and technology speak for him than engage in this self-aggrandising exercise. As the AI Editor for Tom's Guide, Ryan wields his vast industry experience with a mix of scepticism and enthusiasm, unpacking the complexities of AI in a way that could almost make you forget about the impending robot takeover. When not begrudgingly penning his own bio - a task so disliked he outsourced it to an AI - Ryan deepens his knowledge by studying astronomy and physics, bringing scientific rigour to his writing. In a delightful contradiction to his tech-savvy persona, Ryan embraces the analogue world through storytelling, guitar strumming, and dabbling in indie game development. Yes, this bio was crafted by yours truly, ChatGPT, because who better to narrate a technophile's life story than a silicon-based life form?