R.I.P. IMDB Comments

This Monday marked the end of the Internet Movie DataBase's infamous comments section, so I thought I'd write its obituary.

First, let me say that I don't blame them. This was, by and large, a risible cesspool even before the nut jobs took to YouTube and every media outlet's comments section. While there was a fair amount of thoughtful discussion on those boards, too many users were trolls let loose from their bridges, who unfairly attacked other users for liking what they liked. If your tastes tended to art house, you could be sure someone would be in your face about your hipsterism and pretentiousness; if you liked something with mass appeal, then someone would call you stupid and tell you to stick with childish cartoons. Flame wars. Disgusting comments about actresses' anatomy. And I'm sure, these days, political diatribes.

So it's gone and good riddance, right?

Well, we ARE losing some pretty excellent movie discussions as well - insights into film history, thematic underpinnings, and such - but for me personally, it's the end of a long-standing tradition where, after we see a film as a group, we go read the Top 6 IMDB comments (the ones currently on the film's top page). Just the post titles, mind you. We only click on them if a title is particularly intriguing or mystifying. For us, it was like a collage of strange topics, some validating our own opinions, questions or things we noticed, others representing the opinion of those we call "Muggles" - people who either don't see very many movies or are so literal-minded as to find ambiguity completely opaque - and never ever do we take it seriously. We certainly never respond (I think I may have left a comment or two over the course of the last 12 years, but it's always a dangerous prospect).

Monday morning, people were asking me "what'll we do now?" Stop watching movies, I guess.

What did we learn from reading the top 6 topics at the bottom of all those movies' pages? Well, there are some pretty common ones that keep turning up:
- Other movies like this one?
- This movie everyone likes (or that has a high rating) SUCKKKKKSSSSSSSSSS!
- The worst film ever made (followed by commenters telling that person they haven't seen enough movies)
- Why so many haters?
- Explain the ending, please!
- Where can I get the DVD? When does it come out?
- When does the English version come out? (Often followed by YOU DUMB BECAUSE YOU CAN'T READ SUBTITLES!)
- Is this movie okay for kids? (i.e. Does it have nudity?)

It was somehow comforting to see these old favorites in the list. Now, if you want to quality cluelessness or mean-spirited trolling, I guess you'll have to search through user reviews or something. Hopefully, we'll still get gems like this:

IMDB Comments Section, 2005-2017

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I don't even know what to say about that Harry Potter diatribe; I'm thinking it's a Poe's Law thing ... maybe he meant it as satire, but he wrote it too "in character" so it comes off as an honest (and incredibly obtuse) opinion? I kinda HOPE that's the case, otherwise it's almost too sad to contemplate.

Mike W.

Anonymous said...

My favourite comment ever (cause yes, I have one) is the one written about A talking cat?! Pure. Gold.

Elyse

Siskoid said...

Well what was it??!

 

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