It's hard to find a major motion picture that doesn't have an Internet home page. For marketing and promotional purposes, Hollywood clearly has embraced the Internet in a big way.
Take, for example, the official "Titanic" Web site (http://www.titanicmovie.com). Here you can take a virtual reality tour of the Titanic as it appeared on April 10, 1912, see clips from the movie, learn about its stars and even download a Titanic screen saver. It's the place for the Titanic fan.
Providing a huge amount of detailed information is one area where the Internet really excels. When it comes to movies, the World Wide Web offers a forum where producers can communicate with viewers via an official Web page, and fans can create (subject to copyright restrictions) their own sites highlighting their favorite films.
"Titanic" fans who are more interested in hearing from one another instead of director James Cameron can visit such places as Cazz's Titanic Page (http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Academy/8384/titanic.html) or Vicky's Titanic Page (http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Theater/1553).
"Titanic" haters may want to consider joining BOAT (Brotherhood of Anti-Titanicism at http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Museum/5601/boat.html) or Operation PATH (People Against Titanic Hype at http://members.tripod.com/~anti_titanic).
From "Apocalypse Now" (http://film.tierranet.com/films/a.now) to "Austin Powers" (http://www.austinpowers.com), from "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes" (http://web.wt.net/~dsolomon/ktpage.html) to "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" (http://www.cosmosfactory.org), official and unofficial movie Web sites abound.
But the information isn't limited to already released films. Also available on the Web is information about upcoming movies. For example, when I checked the Release Dates & Movie Links page (http://web.starlinx.com/jwoerner), I discovered that "Lethal Weapon 4," with hunky Mel Gibson, is set to premiere July 10. I also found a link to the official "Lethal Weapon 4" site (http://www.lw4.com).
Trivia aficionados should bookmark the Internet Movie Database (http://www.imdb.com), which includes detailed information about more than 140,000 movies and the actors, writers, producers, directors and even crew members who made the films.
And don't forget there's more to the Internet than the Web. Among Usenet newsgroups of interest to movie junkies are alt.cult-movies, alt.movies.independent, rec.arts.movies.announce, rec.arts.movies.current-films, rec.arts.movies.misc, rec.arts.movies.people, rec.arts.movies.reviews, rec.arts.movies.tech and rec.music.movies. Simply log into any of these newsgroups using your favorite newsreader software, and you can join in spirited discussions.
No summary of Hollywood online would be complete without some mention of the various versions of the "Kevin Bacon Game." For the uninitiated, the purpose of this game is to connect any actor or actress to Kevin Bacon using the smallest number of movies possible.
I visited the Oracle of Bacon at Virginia (http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~bct7m/bacon.html) thinking I might be able to stump the game with an old-timer like W.C. Fields. The joke was on me. I learned that W.C. Fields was in "Show Business at War" (1943) with Bette Davis, who was in "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" (1962) with Michael Fox, who was in "Quicksilver" (1986) with Kevin Bacon. This gave W.C. Fields a Bacon number of 3. When I failed to stump the game using a dog (Benji, who also had a Bacon number of 3), I gave up.
Some people make a hobby of catching little mistakes in movies. If searching out such things sounds like fun to you, check out one of the many movie blooper pages such as Awesome Movie Mistakes (http://www.everwonder.com/david/mistakes.html).
Although the Internet is great when you're looking for more detailed information, its usefulness is questionable when it comes to things such as local movie listings. Sure, there are sites that let you find them. But for the most part, I can grab the newspaper and have all the information I need in about 30 seconds. To find the same information on the Web, I'd have to boot up my computer, launch my Web browser, go to the appropriate page and type in the name of the movie I want to see. That takes at least five minutes.
If I want to ogle pictures of my favorite actor or read the shooting script for this summer's blockbuster, I'll be on the Web in an instant. But for simple stuff like movie listings, I'll stick with the good old-fashioned newspaper, or go the high-tech route and pick up the phone.
Kim Komando is a TV host, syndicated talk radio host and author. You can visit her on the Internet at http://www.komando.com or e-mail her at email@example.com.