Sunday, January 23, 2011

Website –

Have you ever been watching a movie or TV show and recognized one of the people on it, but not been able to remember who they were?  Did it bother you enough that you sat there trying to think who they were?  Were you frustrated when you couldn’t come up with where you knew them from?  I used to be that way then I found God.  No, wait, I mean I found  (Still haven’t found that God fellow that everyone talks about.)

In April of 1997 I started a new job.  This job allowed access to the internet from my workstation.  The browser in use at the time was Netscape (anyone remember that?)  It was set to go to the homepage when you launched it.  Among other links on there was a Cool Site of the Month.  IMDB was the Cool Site when I started my job.  The letters stand for Internet Movie DataBase.  Don’t confuse it with  That’s a whole other kind of movie database site.

IMDB was the answer to all of those questions above.  You could look up the movie you saw the person in and it would list the entire cast, as well as directors, writers, etc.  You could click on the person in the cast and it would bring up every movie and TV show they had been in.  I used to spend quite a bit of time during my lunches looking up movies and people to satisfy my curiosity.

In addition to these basics, for each movie they might have things like trivia, goofs, crazy credits, etc.  For the people they might have biographies.  They had a Stump the Staff service where you could email questions about a scene you remembered, but could not remember what movie it was from.  I sent in a question about a movie that had scared the bejeezus out of me and a cousin when we were kids and got an answer to it.  It turned out to be a cheesy B-movie that was nowhere near scary as an adult.

Over the years the site has much expanded.  It went from icon-based to text-based.  It added boards where people could ask questions directly and share opinions on movies.  At first these were separated into Men’s and Women’s sections in order to target certain product links from each.  (I believe the site had been bought by Amazon.)  After a year or so of this, they reorganized the boards into more what you find today.  A few years later they added boards specific to every movie, TV show, and person on the site.  It would be pretty much impossible for you to go to this site now and not find a board with people on it who share the same interests as you. 

I just posted a question on IMDB’s I Need to Know board about the movie I mentioned above.  I honestly couldn’t remember the name of it again.  I got two answers in three minutes and both were correct.  It was Horror Express (1972.)  You can do the same thing.  If you do, please do everyone on the boards a favor and do not say, “I saw this movie when I was a kid.”  Why?  Because no one knows when you were a kid.  It seems like pretty much everyone has had a movie that scared them when they were kids and it seems like ninety percent of them don’t bother to give any time frame for when they might have seen it.  Say something like, “I saw this movie in the mid-70s” or whenever it was when you were a kid.  Your odds of getting an answer are a lot higher if you give more specific info.

In order to post there you have to create an account, but it is quick, free and I have never been spammed.  You may see posts out there from Eponymous-2 or Eponymous-too; that is me.  Having an account also allows you to control how the website looks to you.  I wasn’t thrilled with the latest change they made to the presentation, so I changed my settings to see the classic view. 

You can also write your own reviews of the movies themselves, as well as give a vote from 1 to 10 to rate them.  These votes (with some secret math in the background) go to a ranking of the Top 250 movies of all time.  This list is more a people’s list than a critics’ list.  Proof number one for that is the top ranked movie on the list is not Casablanca or Citizen Kane (both great movies by the way) but The Shawshank Redemption.

This list is not perfect.  Because far more young men use this site than any other group, movies that appeal to that demographic get higher overall ratings than others (i.e. Fight Club being high on the list.)  Movies that don’t appeal to them (usually ones with that icky kissing and romance and stuff) get voted down.  You won’t find either Shakespeare in Love or Titanic on the Top 250 list, for instance.  You can counter this bias by seeing the ratings for movies for your gender and/or age range.

In addition, the list is weighted toward movies that have more votes, so older movies sometimes get dropped off the list when they shouldn’t.  For years I have used this list for potential movie recommendations for myself.  Not all of them have been winners, but I have seen quite a few good movies that I probably would not have seen otherwise because they didn’t appear on critics’ lists.  Just don’t take this list too seriously.  If you want a good laugh, check out the Bottom 100 list and see how many of those you have seen.

There are a great many other features on the site, such as links to movie trailers, lists of awards, explanations for movie ratings for parents, links for show times in theaters near you, photos from the premieres, etc. 

If you have even a passing interest in movies or TV I highly recommend this site.

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