Treasure Troves for Film Buffs
With summer blockbuster season in high swing, websites devoted to movies can be a necessary decision-making tool, as well as a delightful distraction
The Internet Movie Database is one of the best online sources of useless cinema trivia, notable for its massive size and scope. Its searchable database of three million and counting listings cover the biggest and smallest of details concerning movies, TV shows, actors, directors and even crewmembers, making it an excellent resource in resolving bets. If you need to know Steven Spielberg's favourite curse word ('Rats!'), or where you've seen that actress before (most likely an episode of CSI), this is the place to look. It even keeps track of announced projects and movies in the middle of production. The layout is bland, but with a link for every name and title, it's easy for first-time visitors to search and navigate the site's immense catalogue. Although most of the information on the site is gathered from on-screen credits or industry insiders, a few things are submitted by registered users with no official authority, so take some claims with a grain of salt. But the site is also more than a trivia tool. Beyond the plot synopses, reviews and resumes, IMDb also offers message boards, box office numbers, local movie listings and entertainment news. It even has a special independent film section that includes an 'Ask a Filmmaker' feature, for future directors and writers looking to add their name to the database's virtual pages.
While Movies.com offers plenty of pertinent movie-going information (trailers, plot summaries, cast and crewmembers, reviews by critics and readers), it's really the site's ability to poke a little fun at celebrity culture that makes it a worthwhile option. Movies.com is nowhere near as comprehensive as IMDb, but the listings it does have are injected with more attitude. Along with the more basic tidbits, biographies for actors include paragraph-long resume summaries, which become increasingly sarcastic depending on the calibre of the thespian; a list of five interesting facts (Did you know that Vin Diesel is a 'devoted' Dungeons and Dragons player?); and an often-illuminating quote from the person in question. Special functions include a Fashion Hall of Shame called "Carpet Burn" and "Say What?", a section that lets registered users offer up their own dialogue for a selected movie scene. The Fan Forum message boards let you vent on a variety of topics, such as which celebrity you would date, which actress you would cast in a certain movie role, and whether Paris Hilton should ever be cast in any movie, ever. There's a marketplace section offering DVDs for sale through Amazon, although this feature is harder to navigate and browse through than the rest of the site.