One year when I was eleven or so, she struck gold with one of my gifts. She got me Videohound's Golden Movie Retriever. It is a huge volume of movie knowledge. It lists the vast majority of films ever made (I think I only found one or two titles missing from it) and rates them from zero to four bones. It also has other useful information like what movies or actors won what awards and who else was nominated each year.
This became my bible. This is before there was imdb or rotten tomatoes. It was my main source for movie information. I went through the awards section and made it my mission to watch all the nominated films. I voraciously rented movies from the fifties to current times. I evaluated what movies had unjustly won and what actors had been slighted.
I have grown into what my friends call a "walking imdb". I've seen movies most people my age haven't even heard of. Keep in mind, I have this movie knowledge at the cost of a social life growing up. Sometimes, I miss what I may have given up but I am mostly content. It's fun to introduce people to obscure films and I come in very handy on pub trivia nights. With netflix, I am still constantly building my knowledge base with new release, cult horror, foreign, classics, comedy and drama flicks.
I thought the Videohound Golden Movie Retriever and movie ratings books had gone the way of the dinosaur until I saw one of them at Blockbuster yesterday. I was filled with a warm feeling like I was seeing a long lost friend. Is imdb more knowledgeable and easy to use? Yes, most likely. Is it inconvenient to lug out a giant book and thumb through until you find a title? Definitely. Does it get expensive buying the new book every year so the current movies are in it? Sure. I mean, imdb is free and unbeatably up to date.
That wasn't always the case, though. We have not always had the access to information that we do now. My Golden Movie Retriever opened up a world of knowledge that I am grateful for. I hope they still make them as the years go by.