Feb 19, 2017

In Remembrance: IMDB Message Boards



The very first time I ever came across IMDB.com was in 2000, when I was obsessively researching the new Charlie's Angels movie that was set to come out. I was a wee baby then, my age in the single digits, and upon clicking the link to the Charlie's Angels main page, my mind was blown. Here was comprehensive archive that would feed me with all the movie trivia my little mini-cinephile-in-the-making ass could possibly need.



It wasn't too long after that I signed up for IMDB's message boards. My purpose: to discuss the third season of American Idol. I was a pre-teen, but it was exciting to be able to exercise my (admittedly, immature) debate chops within a forum of anonymous, like-minded individuals.

And then: I discovered the Oscars board. And it was grand. I've said before that I enjoy the comments I receive on Oscargasms, because it's indicative that no matter how segmented your interests may be (in this case - acting and film and the Academy Awards given to the best acting and films) - you're not alone. There's likely people out in the world who enjoy the same. That was what the Movie Awards board on IMDB meant to me. It was a gathering of intellectual, often times snobby Oscars/awards/film lovers, who'd discuss a plethora of topics falling under that umbrella.

Did you just watch The French Lieutenant's Woman and come away with an indifferent opinion of Meryl's performance? Talk about it on Movie Awards. Did you just watch both Casablanca and To Whom the Bell Tolls? Ask everyone on Movie Awards which role Ingrid should have been nominated for. Curious how other people rank all the Best Actress winners from the 1970s? Ask on Movie Awards. Do you think Amy Adams is slightly overrated and shouldn't get a nomination for Big Eyes over Marion Cotillard in Two Days, One Night? Bitch about it on Movie Awards and ignite a dialogue about it. Never watched Three Colors: Blue? Well, someone on Movie Awards just did and they've posted their opinions on Juliette Binoche's work for you to read.

This was a forum so rich with insight and cinematic viewing expertise - I've spent countless hours talking movies and Oscars and performances on Movie Awards. A lot of the time I'll just go there to peruse through conversation topics and read everyone's opinions. A board is, in essence, a community of people, and I feel as though I know so many vibrant personalities on Movie Awards well, as if they're my (digital) friends. Most people get their news via Google or Twitter - I got my film news from the Movie Awards board.

The board wasn't without its flaws. In recent years, offensive online trolling had made an advanced presence on Movie Awards - an issue made worse considering IMDB does not utilize moderators. Rudeness and belittling from users became more frequent when there was a difference in opinion. Users got cliquey. The IMDB of 2016/2017 was had become a much more toxic environment than the one I'd joined long ago.

So when I heard that IMDB was shutting down all of its message boards two weeks ago, a part of me wasn't surprised. But now that it's in effect and the boards are effectively dead - I'm sad.

I've been a member of IMDB message boards for 13 years - roughly half of my life. Half of my life of talking Oscars on this site. Much of the cinephile I am today is attributed to those boards. And now it's gone.



This post may fly right over your head. That's okay. Truthfully, I'm not suffering from depression and I'll get over it. But it's sad to know that I'll never be able to go there again, and it's disheartening to know that a place I've sought refuge in for years and years to discuss my passions is no longer accessible.

RIP to the IMDB message boards. RIP to Movie Awards. I'm beyond grateful for the 13 years of learning and discourse.

5 comments:

  1. I have to say I really disliked any discussions about current movies or actors since the trolls were insufferable. Also, message boards for TV Shows were a mess. But I loved to read threads about older movies, old Oscar races etc and the seperate message boards for various movies.

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  2. First, I would say that I did find the message boards interesting when looking up an old movie/actor to see what others thought or experienced. Often, opinions didn't line up with critical history but they were no less valid. I was never a member, though. I started to more often come across what sounded like the unbridled fandom of youngsters rather than grounded opinions, so I visited less. And I must say, in recent years I often found interesting discussions devolving into petty, childish and cruel attacks between members that had nothing to do with the subject. I wasn't completely surprised when I heard the boards were shuttering; IMDB should have done a better job at moderating them (or, at least, ANY job at moderating them). Still, I'm disappointed. It was a place to go to hear thoughts about classic and less mainstream films at the click of a button.

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  3. Let's see, I discussed more television series there than movies.

    Judge Judy, Bewitched, Roseanne, Man Men, and of course, plenty of Norma Shearer. While you encounter the occasion bird-brain, I don't remember getting into a flame war with anyone. Using my Photobucket account I could supply click-able URL screensaves from DVD recordings of that day's Judy, which didn't make me unpopular, or somebody to attack. I haven't been there since Mad Men folded in mid-'15, but I too will miss it.

    Besides, in my experience and by far, our society's knuckle-draggers congregate much more robustly in YouTube comments than anything I read at IMDB. Enough to convince you evolution has shaken its head and given up.

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  4. This was really saddening news.

    These boards were extremely helpful, trolls aside, whenever I am trying to find out something very specific in a film that I can't find anywhere. Everyone's like on the same page (well, not always) so posters do get to the point whenever they ask something or just want to discuss. Learned a lot from the boards.

    I've been reading your blog for a long time already. Weren't able to comment yet since you're doing the earlier years of the Oscars, but fantastic job; I really enjoy reading your articles. Keep it up! :)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for the kind words, I've been checking yours out for some time as well! :)

      One of these days I'll be out of these older years and you'll have thoughts to share!

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