I can't imagine a time before Leonard Maltin's invaluable movie guides. How did one look for films to rent or record? Surely it was a dark age.
If you've never been introduced, Maltin's 2009 Movie Guide is a 1,644-page tome of movie info, including more than 17,000 entries and whether these films can be found on DVD, Laserdisc, or VHS (remember that quaint technology?). Each film is rated from **** to * 1/2; anything below that is rated
BOMB. Ebert has his thumb, the wondrous Boolean tool that has become his curse and trademark, Maltin has BOMB.
It's a great guide, but limited by the need to keep the book a reasonable size. Seventeen thousand entries sounds like a lot, but Maltin and his crack staff have to decide which films are not included in the guide. Some of the titles have been moved to his Classic Movie Guide, but
that still leaves a great number of noteworthy films in the dust.
The reviews are useful for some, but may as well not be included. If he likes a film I like, I feel bolstered. If he rates a film I like a BOMB, he's a know-nothing bozo. What's more important is the brief description listed and which actors are in the film. Another recurring
feature that has value is the 50 More Films You May Have Missed page.
Good for checking out if you're not sure what you're in the mood for.
Leonard Maltin's 2009 Movie Guide is a pretty good tool for the film lover, but if access to the
Internet is available, more powerful resources are at hand. Since they're still printing this guide, I have to think that there is demand for a printed guide. But for how much longer? I think it's time Maltin moved this guide to the
'Net and put in the hundreds, if not thousands of films that cannot be included in the book.