ASSOCIATES (2005, March, v. 11, no. 3) - associates.ucr.edu
*The Mother Of Movie Databases*
Michael D. Brooks
Saint Joseph’s University
Philadelphia, PA 19131
Are you a movie trivia buff? Do you camp out hours (or days) in line before a movie premier? Can you recite lines from films verbatim? Do you act out scenes from your favorite movies with Oscar caliber quality? Do you just love movies? Do you rent or buy movie videos? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then the Internet Movie Database (http://www.imdb.com/) is just for you. It’s a movie lover’s dream as well as an excellent source of movie information for the casual movie fan. It is a comprehensive database of everything about movies.
The site, also known as IMDb, is simple to use. Want to know what’s playing in theaters now? Click the "Now Playing" tab [http://www.imdb.com/nowplaying/] at the top of each page. Not sure what movie is playing where? Click the "Showtimes & Tickets" tab [http://www.imdb.com/showtimes/], type in your city or zip code (typing in the zip code is a lot quicker and definitely gets you a list of theaters closer to your home), select the miles you are willing to travel to a theater to see your selected movie, then click the Go button. The first time you do this, you’ll be greeted by an ad (they’ve got to pay the bills and for a site like this, it’s a minor inconvenience) and then you’ll be taken to a page listing the theaters that are showing your movie. Select the date you want to see the film and select the theater you want to go to. You’ll be presented with information about the movie, showtimes, ratings, and a voter rating tally. The tally is compiled through votes registered by people who have seen the films listed. Pick your movie. If your movie is part of a theater complex, all the movies that are playing at the complex will be listed.
Once you pick your movie, you can read a plot outline, get filmography information about the cast, writers, directors, and even viewers’ comments. The comments are basically reviews arranged something along the lines of Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com. Want to know what films are scheduled for release through the end of the year? Click the "Coming Soon" link [http://us.imdb.com/Recent/USA] or the "more" link [http://us.imdb.com/nowplaying/] on the left side of the page and feast your eyes on the list of movies scheduled for release from now until the end of the year. However, if you’re really curious about what films will be coming out beyond next year, just type in that year in the appropriate field. If something is scheduled for release, it will appear here with limited information about the project.
Want pictures? IMDb has them. Looking for celebrity interviews and news? This site’s got them. Are you a connoisseur of independent films? If you are, there’s a link called "Independent Film" [http://indie.imdb.com/index.indie] dedicated just to them.
The "Browse" link [http://us.imdb.com/Browse/] (located below the tabs at the top of the page) is a great jumping-off point for the site. It’s basically a directory of all the available databases. For all of you movie aficionados out there who love to discuss and share your knowledge with others, there are message boards. You can read what others have said, but to get your two cents worth read, you must become a registered member. Registration is free.
Aside from what I’ve mentioned so far, there’s a Top Goofs Page [http://indie.imdb.com/Top/topgoofs], a Random Movie Quote page [http://indie.imdb.com/Games/randomquote], and even a page for gamers; the Game Base! page [http://indie.imdb.com/sections/games/], which is basically a list of computer games available for sale at Amazon.
In fact, it was because of a discussion about computer games I had with one of our work study students that I was introduced to IMDb. The student and I were talking about a couple of video games we each like to play. I mentioned to him that I thought a sixties TV actor did the voice of one of the characters in the game I like to play, but I wasn’t sure. The student suggested I check IMDb. We did a people search from the homepage for the actor, Frank Gorshin, and sure enough, the video game was listed among the actor’s many other credits. I was impressed. You can perform more comprehensive searches from the Search page [http://us.imdb.com/search].
There is more to this site than I can mention in this review, you’ll just have to go visit IMDb and see everything for yourself. Once you visit, you may want to make the Internet Movie Database your first stop for everything movie related.