I think we all need at least one really nice positive thing about the entertainment business every single day of the year, including weekends. Sometimes it may be something simple, like a video that showcases something fun and sometimes it may be a movie poster that embraces the aesthetic we all want Hollywood to aspire to. Sometimes it may be a long-winded diatribe. Sometimes it’ll be from the staff and extended family of CHUD.com. Maybe even you readers can get in on it. So, take this to the bank. Every day, you will get a little bit of positivity from one column a day here. Take it with you. Maybe it’ll help you through a bad day or give folks some fun things to hunt down in their busy celluloid digesting day.
By Joshua Miller (Facebook)
The Internet Movie Database
This is a no brainer.
Though I have previously bemoaned how the IMDb robbed me of my movie nerd functionality in daily life, that complaint is comparable to deriding cell phones because I sometimes used to enjoy being unreachable when I left my home. Obviously my life was immeasurably improved when the IMDb entered the room.
It’s frankly kind of amazing to comb through the epic amount of information contained on the IMDb and realize that its life began as a list of actress with “beautiful eyes” started by a 22-year-old nerdy Brit in 1989. As Col Needham expanded upon his list, opening up the project to friends, the site exploded with content. By 1996 the site had become so mammoth that Needham incorporated the database. By 1998, he sold it Amazon.com.
IMDb entered my life in the fall of 1997. I had been a slow adopter of the Internet. In high school, I just didn’t see the point of emailing people I saw everyday and could easily call on the phone. In fact, until the first day of my freshman year of college, I had literally only interacted with the Internet once, and that was to watch Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s original South Park short, The Spirit of Christmas. And even then, it was a friend who downloaded the video. But in the fall of 1997 I was now 2000 miles away from home and the idea of this weird email thing suddenly made way more sense. As I think it was for many people, email was my gateway drug to the time-wasting glory of the World Wide Web. I don’t actually recall the first time I saw the IMDb, but it was sometime during that first fall semester.
It was one of those how the fuck did I live without this moments. To call the IMDb “helpful” is a grotesque understatement. So many questions, so easily answered. I had never been able to access filmmakers and actors entire careers before. Some movie review compendiums would have select filmographies listed in the back, which was great if you wanted to see all of Orson Welles movies. But what if I wanted to see all of Bruce Campbell’s movies? In fact, I remember when I first looked up ol’ Brucie on the database and was floored with how many credits he had that I’d never heard of. So much more Bruce to experience! The video store was hit hard that week, let me tell you. Life as a film nerd was better from then on out. Well, maybe not better, but more efficient.
IMDb was such a major portion of my life (especially back in those simpler, less content heavy days of the Net), that it boggled my mind whenever I’d meet someone who had never heard of the site. But… how do you look up information about movies?!?!?!
The IMDb used to be where I got all my movie news too. Until I found better sites (like CHUD). But I loved their film review round-ups, where they’d summarize what all the major critics had to say about a film. It wasn’t a good read or anything, but it was an excellent litmus in the days before Rotten Tomatoes rose to prominence. The site isn’t perfect: they have the most embarrassing message boards on the web (full of kids, trolls, and the dumbest fucking idiots imaginable), and their recent redesign is a shitshow eyesore (btw, you can easily change it back to the classic look by going to your account settings). And Wikipedia is giving the site a run for its money, often containing a significant amount more useful information. But, for the basics, for the full cast lists, etc, nothing will best IMDb. It is an institution.
So, for making my life (and my job) a lot easier, I am thankful for the Internet Movie Database.