A Forum’s Dying Words on La La Land
What IMDb’s Forums Had to Say about the Best Picture Favorite
On February 20th, 2017, The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) shut down their forums. The venue’s setup felt very early-internet and attracted the same trolls that many of us last encountered in AOL Chat Rooms and Myspace comments sections.
As La La Land makes its way to an almost-inevitable Oscar win for Best Picture, I thought it might be interesting (but certainly not productive) to see what the members of IMDb’s La La Land forum had to say about the film.
Thread 1: Everything feels like a lie
In a thread ominously titled “Everything feels like a lie”, created five days before the forum’s demolition, user davidguy-77904 speculates that the Oscars exist only to market financially unstable movies.
Davidguy-77904 is, of course, on the verge of articulating something we already know, that one of the perks of being an Oscar front-runner is getting a little extra money in your pocket. Yet davidguy misses the mark by speaking in absolutes and generally sounding like a conspiracy theorist.
Meanwhile, user pedro-alceu utilizes this thread to remind us all that his friends thought La La Land was cool before the Oscar nods.
By the end of the thread’s first page, nxgn_not_not asks us to imagine a Gosling and Tom Hanks romance. The IMDb veteran speculates this love affair would cause audiences to say “MMMMMMmmmmmmMMMMMMM”,which seems like a good opportunity to depart “Everything feels like a lie”.
Thread 2: Is this essentially a Woody Allen movie…
The thread’s creator, kathy84, does not finish her thought but the people of IMDb know where to go with this one.
Morris45’s interprets this thread as an attack on Oscar front-runner La La Land and decides to fire back.
After typing out so many lowercase screennames, I have to look back and remember whether or not users had the option to capitalize their names.
Turns out they did.
I get so depressed that I quickly move to the next forum thread.
Thread 3: LA LA LAME
WeluvDogs critiques La La Land’s casting. With a catchy and straight-forward name, “LA LA LAME” is the forum’s most straight forward attack on the Oscar darling.
You’re right, WeluvDogs, that’s not the point! And might I say, I am almost completely satisfied with the capitalization in your screen name.
Wait, am I complementing WeluvDogs? We better move on.
What I’ve Learned Today: Never romanticize the early-internet.
Seriously. For one thing, the brand of shitposting indicative of the early-internet is not that far away. I always knew 4chan, Reddit, and YouTube offered a home for what might be a close cousin of the original forum troll, but forgotten to me were the spaces like IMDb’s forums. At best, these forums provided mildly interesting content and at worst, particularly on IMDb’s Fences and Hidden Figures forums, became a platform for hate speech.
It is worth noting, however, that WeluvDogs and davidguy-77904’s critiques of La La Land and the Academy are not entirely removed from the larger discussion occurring. Even without the forum’s presence, the discussion surrounding La La Land will no doubt reach davidguy-levels of contention after Sunday’s results.