IMDb and I

George M. Cohan: My mother thanks you, my father thanks you, my sister thanks you, and I thank you.

Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)

IMDb turned 25. For those who don’t know what IMDb is; it’s described as an online movie database. In truth it is a website like Wikipedia: for the users, by the users. The content however is restricted to films, documentaries, short films, TV serials and the like. The site gave me one of my favorite hobbies and helped develop what has turned out to be an enormous passion for movies. It was like fuel and to my burning obsession with movies when I started out as a movie buff. Today, it is much bigger and broader in terms of its offerings than, when I joined as a member back in 2008. Every day they release new features and are constantly updating the look and feel of the site,

As I was graduating in 2004 – 07 there was an big transition in digital storage devices (from floppy disk to pen drives anyone) and one of the things that were frequently exchanged were movies and TV soap operas, all bootleg and pirated. As part of the loop I started to get curious when I saw movie titles I had never heard of. Then in 2008 at work I stumbled on IMDb. From that moment on, there was no looking back. I was completely hooked and I would spend hours on the site, I devoured everything on there. As a trainee with free internet access and minimum work load I could afford to invest as much time as I wanted and boy did I.

Not much has changed in terms of my interaction on IMDb since I became a member in 2008. After watching any movie, I usually read through the trivia section, the quotes and sometimes the message boards. I have never written a review for any movie so far, however I do avail of the IMDb rating system and give my rating. My rating history shows around 668 movies. I have obviously seen many more movies than that, but just not rated them. Other times, I will read through profiles of directors, actors and actresses. I have re-read the same content multiple times. With a sharp memory, I show off all this knowledge at various times to friends and families but, in truth I am just like the school boy who knew too much GK and wanted to share it.

One of the most controversial and used sections (among film buffs) on IMDb is the top 250 which is a list of movies that have the highest user rating on IMDb. IMDb has a published formula they use to calculate how movies end up on the list. Now if you are a beginner in this realm of being a movie buff, this section is very helpful and was definitely a starting point for me. But if you become a more seasoned and serious movie lover, you will realize the limitations of the list. I don’t think anyone can blame IMDb for the limitations. You can’t imagine the number of times I have seen message boards of movies contain “How can this movie not be in top 250?” or “How can this movie be in the top 250?”. Movies are subjective, what appeals to one may not do so to another. Its best just to use the list as a starting point for your journey to becoming a cinephile.

By no means has IMDb been my only source for building my movie knowledge but, it was the starting point and to this day remains very important. Looking back I know for sure that my life would have been very different had it not been for IMDb. It is amazing to realize that one site in the whole world wide web has had such a huge impact on my life. I hope IMDb create a separate site just for Indian content. Their current database does have most of the Indian movie titles though, the depth of content in these titles is very limited and moreover you can’t really focus on Indian cinema when you have so much of the international output to keep up with. A dedicated site would definitely help Indian cinema buffs, I know I would be indulging for sure. Happy 25th birthday IMDb and I thank you….

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