Old MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

The 411 on IMDb

How many times a day do you visit IMDB?
How high up is http://www.imdb.com on your list of bookmarks?
To settle a movie trivia question or film credit query, IMDb is the first destination for most movie fans. It’s free, it’s easy to navigate (when those annoying Flash ads on the home page aren’t crashing your browser.
The New York Sunday Times, in its Business pages, explores IMDb’s past (it began in 1990 as Usenet bulletin board called rec.arts.movies) and its future (more prominent search-result placements on Google and Yahoo and downloads, downloads, downloads).
Amazon bought IMDb in 1998, and the site’s sales links (found in the upper right hand corner of the screen) are damnably convenient for online buyers. If the site takes on more movie ads, Please, IMDB, don’t take those Flash-and-Java heavy ads that suck up and crash web browsers.
What is good about IMDb:
1. It’s free

2. It’s fast.

3. The Search functions (particularly the People Working Together search).

4. Those “Star of Tomorrow” ads: As they say on Mystery Science Theatre 3000, “Introducing…and saying Goodbye to..”
What is not good about IMDB:
1. WENN: Celebrity News and Studio Briefing

Something had to in the right-hand column. Unfortunately for George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, Sienna Miller and Jude Law, it’s WENN, the online source for vaguely or completely unsourced gossip.


IMDb’s comment boards are filled with raves from studio and marketing company shills. the earliest comments for any new film range from urgent queries about the trailer (“I hate that song. What’s it called?” to fake buzz (“I”m so psyched to see THE SENTINEL. The trailer is rad and awesome and all the kids at my school think Michael Douglas TOTALLY ROOLZ!!!!!]

3. CV Padding
According to the Times, “Submissions are then monitored — vetted is too strong a word — by a team of editors who take their entertainment geekdom seriously. Any factual mistakes they may not find on their own are usually brought to their attention by users, who also make frequent accusations that some Hollywood wannabes who submit their biographies to the site are padding their résumés.
One last bit of trivia: Col Needham, the guy who founded IMDb, reveals that his favorite film is Vertigo. And he owns 7,500 DVDs.

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One Response to “The 411 on IMDb”

  1. Swampfox says:

    Strange timing: I just had a back and forth with Lew Archer who edits the Studio Briefing section (WENN does the gossip crap). I took issue with an item last week that gave away the death of a character on The Sopranos in the header line and without a spoiler warning. His weak defense was that it is service (Studio Briefing) used mainly by film industry professionals.
    Same is true on the bulletine boards, where the admins. have decided to wash their hands of the whole issue by saying “Hey, people come here to discuss a movie that they have probably seen, there will be spoilers.” In addition, if you find your posting deleted, there is no recourse or even a way to find out specifically what caused it. This can be very frustrating when you’ve spent 30mins writing one out and know that there wasn’t anything inheritantly offensive in it.
    They also seem to be overwhelmed at the moment, with corrections and additions to the listings themselves taking months to get recorded. If at all, as nearly half of the ones I’ve submitted lately have never been posted due to an internal deadline that deletes submissions after a certain time apparently.
    These days, the time I devote to such matters I reserve for Wikipedia which at least shows you your efforts instantly. Wonder how many others have done the same?

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon