(Or to use your full Christian name)
Dear Internet Movie Database
I thought it was about time you knew how honestly and earnestly I love you.
I’ve loved you for years, from the very first time we met across a crowded search engine.
I remember that day like it was yesterday. The flutter of excitement when my hand brushed against the space bar. The unadulterated joy I felt when I realised you could quote my favourite films, explain in eloquent detail why some scenes were shot in a particular way and know how many Police Academy movies there had actually been made! It was the perfect first date.
Since then you’ve only grown more beautiful and smarter than I could have imagined. You have the return key to my heart.
Oh IMDb! How did I ever watch movies without you?
Probably the way my elderly Auntie still watches movies. Punctuating the air of the Odeon and the ears of the other cinemagoers with as many questions as possible.
“Wasn’t she in that film about the thing?” “Wasn’t he in that tele programme? You know THAT tele programme!” “She was! She was in that thing about the thing!”
Without ever seeking the validation that said girl was in fact, in that thing.
Well I can’t live like that! I NEED to know if the man Jude Law just asked for a lighter also tried to chat up Amy Adams in a sleazy suit which was before he batted a homerun in Brad Pitt’s baseball team but just after he was rather imaginatively murdered by a Wes Craven Serial killer*.
As a bit of a movie geek, it’s nice to know what the big names are up to next and what films are pencilled in for the future but that’s not what IMDb is for. It’s for those “Hey wasn’t that the bird who was in Hollyoaks yeeeaaarrss ago?” times and the “He definitely died on the operating table in ER awhile back!” moments. It’s for winning those arguments at two o’clock in the morning with your mate when you’ve had too much wine and you KNOW that dude was in the Goonies when he was a kid.
But that is why I adore you IMDb. You give a voice to the smaller actor. You magnify the minor role. You put the pivotal albeit puny person on a pedestal! And what’s more IMDb I don’t think you even know you’re doing it! Some of my favourite actors of all time are the ones that are always the bridesmaid and never the bride. The reliable supporting cast members. The ones that are so very often referred to as ‘character’ actors, which really grinds my gears. Aren’t all actors character actors? What they mean when they say ‘character’ actors is ‘not attractive enough to be up front’ actors. Here are some prime examples.
Exhibit A. ‘The best friend’ Bonnie Hunt, see also Judy Greer. Their natural habitat is the Rom Com. Hunt was the go to lady and the pioneer for the best friend/sister/ shoulder to cry on. Glorious in Jerry Maguire…actually glorious full stop. In recent years the leading lady’s go to sidekick is Judy Greer who looks like a really fit Fraggle from Fraggle rock. She’s like Lauren Laverne but with superb comic timing. When Greer leaves the screen the films tend to get duller (27 dresses).
Exhibit B. ‘The ethnic dude’ Luiz Guzman, see also Omid Djalili. I can imagine a big hot shot Hollywood producer reclining in his chair on the phone to another hot shot producer saying “what we need is someone in a film about drugs or a period drama to play a cultural stereotype but with depth and humanity? *PAUSE* Luiz Guzman OBVIOUSLY!
Exhibit C. ‘The lovable funny guy’ Steve Zahn, see also Ethan Embry. I’m thinking about the 90s here. In recent years the unlikely leading man has become a more likely scenario, ta very much Mister ‘my films are about half an hour too long’ Apatow. Zahn and Embry (who both starred in the fantastically underrated, That Thing You Do) have that lovable and goofy boymate quality. Like Hollywood versions of Buttons in the Panto Cinderella.
Exhibit D. ‘The I’m going to steal this movie from all of you woman’ Joan Cusack, See also Jane Lynch. Both of these women are Goddesses. Lynch is now a leading character in the hit series Glee. Cast your mind back to the 40 year old Virgin and in all the Christopher Guest films she’s in and she pretty much out funnies EVERYBODYELSE! And Cusack. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Cusack. Sometimes stuck herself, in the ‘best friend’ role but always makes it so much more. Propositioning Harrison Ford (with the biggest hair since T’Pau) in Working Girl, setting fire to the office in Grosse Pointe Blank, all of In And Out and not to mention making nine months watchable. Boy can she act, just look at her deeply unsettling turn in Arlington Road. LOVE LOVE LOVE the Cusack.
Exhibit E. “The dependables’ William H Macy, see also Ciaran Hinds. Awwww you guys. You know. You are always there, around, generally in epic ensemble pieces. You’re solid, brilliant, dependable and utterly more watchable than the actors given better billing than you. You guysss!
And… Exhibit F. “Probably the best actors of their generation but never got the credit” Karl Malden, see also Fred MacMurray. My description wouldn’t do either of them justice so for Malden watch ‘A Streetcar named Desire’ and for MacMurray ‘Double Indemnity’.
Phew. So I suppose this blog isn’t just a love letter to IMDb but a love letter to the unsung heroes of the silver screen. To the ones I have and haven’t mentioned. I love you too.
So let’s hear it for them all! For the scene fillers. For the walk ons. For the extras and to the two or three liners.
Here’s to the uncredited or the credited under ‘SMOKING WOMAN’ or ‘LAUGHING MAN’. I raise a glass to you. To all of you. Cheers!
I’m ready for my long shot Mr. DeMille…
Oh and This week
Mostly listening to: Reba McEntire. Really. She’s like a country version of Rita from Corrie. Listen to the song Fancy. It’s gloriously dramatic.
Mostly watching: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. I liked. Really liked it. Although I liked the film Brick. Really liked it. Still have no idea what either are on about though.
Put in my Face: Free Nandos. Yep FREE FRICKIN NANDOS! Although even free Nandos comes with a price when the entire branch of the Leicester chicken chain seemed to be on work experience.
Belting audience member: The two young teenage lads who were sat at the front of mine and Tony Jameson’s Leicester comedy show. I wrote each topic I wanted to talk about on post it notes and let them pick the order. Of course they insisted on choosing the rudest topics. I genuinely thought I was going to be put on a register by the end of the show.
*I made this person up.