Monday, August 3, 2009

Do Your Homework on 'Film General'

Movies are entertainment, or, I should say, movies are entertaining, but we should also think of them as cultural homework. Every year approximately 150 major films are released, and over time keeping up becomes an insurmountable task. Deciding what to see and what not to see becomes an important decision considering how many choices you have. Luckily there's a place you can go where someone has seen virtually every movie ever made: Film General.It's the general discussion message board about movies on, the best film information resource on the Web. It can easily be found by clicking on the 'Message Boards' tab on the IMDB homepage, but be warned! Enter at your own peril. Once you step in the door and take a look around you'll find an endless stream of debates about film by people who seem to have known each other for years, because they have, and this can be slightly intimidating if you're not prepared.

First, you have to register a username (I bet you can't guess mine), and once you have your alter-ego in place you can post until the cows come home on any of IMDB's 130 message boards. The topics range from specific, like the Harry Potter board, to the general, like the Oscar Buzz board, but the best and most interesting board on IMDB is Film General.

It's the kind of place where you get everything from serious, in-depth discussion on films to random, off-topic non-sense, but it all comes together to form a unique community of "like-minded" individuals. I use the term like-minded loosely because the debates are fierce, and at times, I'll admit, not always the most productive. However, it's still the best place on the Net to learn about film and to measure your own knowledge against others.

My friends (in real life) will sometimes say that I'm the biggest film snob they know and my response is always the same: Just go to Film General and hang out for a while, and you'll meet some REAL film snobs that make me look like nothing. I've seen 1,335 movies so far in my 25 years, which some might think is a lot; but compared to many FGers I'm still a rookie.

The amazing thing about FG is the diversity. All the regulars there share a love for film, but we all love it for different reasons, and we all enjoy it in our own individual ways. You can always find people who love (or hate) almost every film imaginable and give impeccable arguments to defend their positions. Spending time on this web forum allows you to really get to know film on a deeper level. After a while you'll find yourself seeking out older films and foreign films so you can take part in those conversations in addition to the always raging debate about the state of modern cinema.

I encourage everyone who has even a mild interest in movies to drop by FG and read some of the threads. Even if you don't agree with the opinions expressed you'll quickly see how far down the rabbit hole you really can go if you choose to. Most people don't ever look beyond the surface when they go to the movies, but the regulars of FG are looking for a higher meaning and an artistic value in the films they see, and they can help you to discover that side of movies too.

IMDB's Film General

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