Charles Petzold

IMDB Junkie Misses Big Movie Moment

February 6, 2006
New York City

I don't have ADD. I am entirely capable of watching a 3-hour movie in a theater without fidgiting, and I used to be able to do the same thing in my apartment. But for the past several years, I've found it impossible to watch a movie at home without simultaneously looking up all the actors, directors, and writers in Internet Movie Database and seeing what else they've done.

Normally, I'll use my Tablet for this job. (I've said before that accessing IMDB from the couch is the only reason we have WiFi in a 400 square foot studio apartment.) But the Tablet recharger stopped working recently, and I ordered a new one, but it hasn't arrived yet. So if I want to check IMDB while a movie is in progress, I have to get up and use the desktop machine, which isn't too far from the couch, but it's behind the TV.

So the other night we're watching The Upside of Anger on HBO, and I don't need IMDB to look up Joan Allen or Kevin Costner (two great performances, BTW) but I need to look up the four actresses who played Joan Allen's daughters. Was Erika Christensen in Traffic or American Beauty? Where have I seen Evan Rachel Wood before? How old is Keri Russell now (and what happened to her curly hair)? And has writer/director (and supporting actor) Mike Binder done anything worthwhile besides the ultimately repetitive and tedious Mind of the Married Man?

Fortunately The Upside of Anger is a rather talky movie, so I can consult IMDB and still listen to what's going on. A quick scurry to the computer seems particularly safe when everybody in the movie is seated down to dinner, but as I'm clicking through those wonderful IMDB links, I hear an explosion.

"What happened?" I ask.

"Mike Binder's head just exploded," Deirdre says, a touch of satisfaction in her voice. "Sprayed blood over everybody, and his nose fell in the soup."

Well, I missed it. (It was just a fantasy sequence, but still!) In consolation, I was able to recite all the movies we've seen with Alicia Witt.