The Online Tools of a Film Nerd’s Trade

FilmToolHeader

Being a movie nerd can be difficult… insofar as watching an absurd amount of movies can be difficult. Fortunately, there are a lot of fun online resources out there to help nerds on their journey. Here are some of my favorites.

iCheckMovies_howiCheckMovies
It’s the simplest concept in the world, concocted by a handful of guys from the Netherlands. Go to the site, create a profile, and check the movies that you’ve seen. It’s that simple. Where it really kicks into obsessive compulsive territory is when users discover their lists. “It sure would be great to say that I’ve seen every film in the IMDb top 250″, one might say. It doesn’t take long to get hooked.

Flick Chart
Flick Chart is almost as simple as iCheckMovies. Flick Chart runs you through their matrix of films, presenting two films side-by-side. Users have only one goal- to choose the film that they prefer between the two. Rinse, repeat until several films have been placed on the list. What comes out in the wash is a list of their favorite films, ranked in order. For some perspective, it comes in very handy when I make this list each year.

The Movie Timeline
Choose any date, and the Movie Timeline will tell you what has happened in fictional movie universes on that date. Or search by film for a timeline for that individual film. For example, the Movie Timeline tells me that on August 23rd (my birthday), in 1989, “Yusuf K. Hawkins, an African-American youth is murdered by a mob of Italian youths. (Jungle Fever)”

box office mojo 620Box Office Mojo
Box Office Mojo is the best site available for raw data about the film industry. Pages for most films include both domestic and worldwide box office numbers, the production budget, release dates, and all-time ranking within the various genres they fill. Data can also be broken down by individual directors and actors, or by month, season, or quarter. It’s an invaluable resource.

IMDb
Most people don’t need to see IMDb listed as a resource, but this list would be incomplete without it. For most film nerds, it’s the first place they’ll visit if they want to know something about a movie, actor, director, cinematographer, studio, foley artist, and everything else under the sun that’s movie-related. The Advanced Search feature is especially helpful, a quick and easy way to find any number of fun and unique combinations within the database.

Rotten Tomatoes
Like IMDb, most movie nerds are well aware of Rotten Tomatoes, but it’s still worth listing. There’s plenty of debate about the merit of their system. Ultimately, there’s something to be said for the wisdom of the herd. Given enough time and reviews from accepted critics, the Tomatometer typically finds a reasonable consensus.

movies.comMovies.com
Choose whatever daily movie news site you prefer. Personally, I’m very fond of Movies.com, which strikes a great balance between news, reviews, interviews, and fun and games.

Facets
The people who run Facets are the heroes of the movie industry. Their stated mission is to “preserve, present, distribute, and educate about film.” Sign up for a small amount each month, and they’ll allow you access to their deep film library, which is loaded with rare and obscure titles. They even offer a film portal to discover free films online. If you’re in the US, I strongly encourage you to check them out.

Hollywood Stock Exchange
If you enjoy all the fun of the stock exchange but don’t want to risk major money, or educate yourself on dry, boring commodities, HSX is the place for you. To quote their Wikipedia page, the Hollywood Stock Exchange is “a web-based, multiplayer game in which players use simulated money to buy and sell ‘shares’ of actors, directors, upcoming films, and film-related options.” In addition to serving as a unique challenge, it’s a fun way to stay current about which upcoming films are garnering the most buzz, and which actors and actresses make high-grossing films.


19 Comments

Filed under Movies

19 responses to “The Online Tools of a Film Nerd’s Trade

  1. Rotten Tomatoes is like my movie bible! Great list here.

  2. Thanks,got to keep this bookmarked for future use!

  3. Really like icheckmovies and flick chart. Not heard of them and consider myself a film buff, so thanks!

  4. biochick

    You are officially an enabler :P

  5. Phil

    Great list. I’ll take Metacritic.com over Rotten Tomatoes. RT uses a lot of online critics, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but they all seem to have the same views. Also, as it has been mentioned here before, They Shoot Movies, Don’t They? has a very good breakdown of the best films and best directors. They should be updating their lists in January.

    • I know exactly what you mean re: Rotten Tomatoes. Great tip on They Shoot Movies.

      I’m almost positive that you’re the one who turned me on to iCheck. I’ve gotten so much use out of it. It’s part of my movie routine now, where it’s the first thing I do when I’m done with a movie- go check it off.

  6. I started reading this article and got stuck using Flick Chart over two hours ago! I can see where it will be a useful tool the next time I do a post in a list format.

  7. Dan

    John, I’m definitely on board with icheckmovies. The lists sometimes make me sad when I realize how few movies I’ve seen in certain subjects (particularly from some countries). Another good one is letterboxd, which I use to rate movies and keep up a watchlist of what I’m planning to see.

  8. I really only use icheckmovies and IMDb from this list. Narry a day passes (sometimes not even an hour) where I haven’t checked both of these sites for some kind of information. I’ve tried most of the others and for whatever reason they didn’t last long for me.

  9. No love for Letterboxd? I have an addiction where almost immediately after viewing a film I hit up icheckmovies, IMDB and Letterboxd, usually in that order. Flickchart is good fun, too, even though there’s only so much mileage you can get out of it.

  10. Nice to see some love for Flickchart! I’m a huge fan of that site myself. Playing around with it utilizes different ways of evaluating a film other than just putting a number score to it, and it has actually taught me a fair bit about what I love and don’t love in movies.

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