Entertainment Weekly


Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content


What to surf

From an Angelina Jolie page to ABC’s ”Once and Again” site, we rate the best of the season’s internet

Posted on

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (geocities.com/Hollywood/Makeup/8156)
This sparsely decorated, quietly classy fan tribute to Frank Capra’s Christmas evergreen offers black-and-white stills, a detailed history of the film’s making and marketing, reproductions of the original posters and ads, and plentiful sound bites. Plus, what better way to ignite the Christmas spirit than to hear Jimmy Stewart declaring, ”You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down.” B

MAUREEN O’HARA TRIBUTE (geocities.com/Hollywood/Location/3477)
Try to squint past the unappealing green background and excessive shamrocks and focus instead on the love showered on the redheaded actress who starred in Miracle on 34th Street, among other classics. Though devoid of biographical info, the site centers on a sentimental journey: sound bites of O’Hara singing traditional Irish tunes, video clips from her films and TV appearances, and movie stills. B-

THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS TOY STORE (nightmarebeforechristmas-toys.com)
Whether fans of Tim Burton’s macabre yuletide carnival are in the market for a Smiling Sally silver coffin doll or a Grinning Jack eyeglass strap, they’ll be pleasantly surprised at this Nightmare hub’s vast array of collectible cinematic artifacts (some of which are tough-to-find Japanese imports). Still, gift givers must be prepared to wade through key chains, resin statues, and lots of magnets. B

A CHRISTMAS STORY: SOUND CLIPS (wilstar.net/xmas/c-story.htm)
Fans of Jean Shepherd’s holiday coming-of-age classic will appreciate the whimsical selection of WAV files at this minimally decorated extension of ”Jerry’s Christmas Wonderland,” but they’ll surely be left wanting more in their stockings. Jerry’s picked 11 of the best dialogue clips — but only 11. It’s nothing to shoot your eye out over. B-
Ann Limpert

NEW! THE GRINCH (www.grinched.com)
Universal’s virtual Whoville is as colorful as an ornamented Christmas tree, and as you explore the hidden corners of Cindy Lou Who’s firelit living room and the green monster’s Mount Crumpit, you’ll unwrap loads of surprises. Find things silly (discover your Who Name), crafty (design your own gift tags), and tech-y (download a Grinch browser and screensavers), and come away feeling that these equal measures of learning and fun are exactly what Dr. Seuss would have hoped for in a website. A

CHRISTMAS WITH BING, FRANK & JUDY (tvparty.com/xmasjudy.html)
This subsection of TVParty’s extensive Christmas coverage purports to be all about those brassy, campy TV variety specials that were once an American tradition. But its real purpose is dissecting the oft-tipsy conditions under which Liza’s mommy and her friends arrived for their many holiday television appearances. Mean-spirited? Sorta. Nonetheless, a timeless QuickTime clip of a fading Garland and Velvet Fogy Mel Torme singing ”The Christmas Song” could have the hardest of hearts crying in their snifters. B+

WWW.HENSON.COM (henson.com/television/specials/index.html)
John Denver’s Christmas collaborations with the Muppets have attained near-cult status for Gen-Xers weaned on The Muppet Show, so it’s nice to see them remembered on late creator Jim Henson’s official site. (Unfortunately, no video clips of Denver crooning with Kermie are available.) But downloadable scenes from other specials like Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree and A Muppet Family Christmas had moi, like Miss Piggy, feeling très warm and fuzzy. And vous will, too. B+
Nicholas Fonseca

PEANUTS ANIMATION AND VIDEO PAGE (www.mit.edu/people/smcguire/peanuts-animation.html)
This endless, artless compendium details the Peanuts gang’s specials — like the still-makes-me-cry A Charlie Brown Christmas — and it’s the perfect stop for addicts who’ve forgotten the names of Snoopy’s brothers and sisters. (Andy, Belle, Marbles, Molly, Olaf, Rover, and Spike, if you were wondering.) It’s also a sweet salute to Charles Schulz’s genius, linking items like a Nightline transcript and Peanuts sheet music. Charlie Brown may never have kicked that football, but this well-researched page scores a touchdown. A

REGGAE CHANUKAH HOMEPAGE (www.reggaepassover.com/RCindex.html)
Dancehall and dub aren’t always associated with the Jewish festival of lights, but musicologist Alan Eder has a taste for dreadlocks and bagels. Eder’s holiday album combines Caribbean, West African, and Middle Eastern influences. The site is small and hardly elaborate, but where else can you send those who crave ”salsa on their latkes”? B
MUST-VISIT: http://www.reggaepassover.com/RCmusic.htm#
Full lyrics and RealAudio files for each track, including a twangy steel-drum update of the traditional Chanukah blessings and a ska interpretation of ”The Dreidel Song.”
Caryn Ganz

DR. ELMO’S OFFICIAL SITE (www.drelmo.com)
In 1979, Dr. Elmo, a San Francisco vet, recorded ”Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” and even today carol-lovers can’t get enough of the multimillion-selling single. At his cyber-home, Elmo proves he’s wacky as ever and still motivated to churn out folksy holiday recordings. C+

MOST SATIRIZED SONG EVER: THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS? (www.cs.umd.edu/users/gasarch)
So you think your spin on the holiday counting rhyme is the wittiest? Check with University of Maryland prof William Gasarch, who’s compiled 142 satirical versions of ”The 12 Days of Christmas” here. Examples: ”12 Days of Frasier” (eight slobbering Eddies); ”12 Days of South Park” (nine deaths for Kenny); and ”12 Days of The X-Files” (mysteriously missing day 10) — and a partridge in a pear tree. B
Noah Robischon

EXTREME CHRISTMAS LIGHTS (www.extremelighting.com)
The light guru is one-upping himself with 21,000 computer controlled lights (well, 2,515-upping himself from last year). When you’re finished eyeing goodies like animated shrubs synchronized with music, stroll over to the links and visit Andy and Barb’s Christmas Wonderland or Franklin Kiser’s Kuntry Christmas. B

Yes, this webmaster (Adrienne Hefter) is most definitely obsessed. Witness the meticulous gathering of Angie news and press clippings, the detailed list of her tattoos, the second-precise countdown to her 26th birthday (June 4), the photo-crammed gallery (834 images and counting!). It’s kinda creepy, kinda intriguing, much like Angie herself. A-
Ann Limpert

ONCE AND AGAIN (abc.go.com/primetime/onceandagain)
ABC’s thirtysomething for fortysomethings is the perfect way to get in touch with your inner divorce, and its Web complement is truly a family affair. Skip the standard info and episode guide, and download clips of the drama’s hokey ”inner views” (those overused, confessional-style ruminations that interrupt each episode). Also amusing is Resources, with its Family Finance Center, a mix-and-match Parent Problem Solver, and advice from a child-development specialist. B+
Nicholas Fonseca

VMATIONS (vmations.com)
”Vmations killed the video star,” proclaims Sudden Industries’ Vmations.com. Well, not quite. These Flash-based music videos aren’t as flashy as an MTV flick, relying mostly on two-dimensional collages of animation, live-action, and moving text. The 13 current offerings are wildly diverse, including tracks from Boston ska-poppers Mighty Mighty Bosstones, metal goddesses Kittie, and electronica wizard Dimitri from Paris. The videos load quickly and don’t require extra hard-drive space, but rest assured that Hype Williams won’t be filing for unemployment anytime soon. B+
MUST-VISIT: vmations.com Vmations’ oddball animation shines on ”Pocket Calculator” by German electronica pioneers Kraftwerk.
Caryn Ganz

This isn’t a group dedicated to preventing muscle atrophy, so leave your Soloflex at the door. Millions of Unusual Small Creatures Lurking Everywhere — or M.U.S.C.L.E. — was a line of tiny oddball wrestler action figures popularized by Mattel in the mid-’80s. Darrin M. Vindiola Sr.’s exuberant fan site provides resources for filling out that grade-school M.U.S.C.L.E. collection, pictorial documentation of mucho M.U.S.C.L.E. merch, and a petition to get M.U.S.C.L.E. figures back on store shelves. A
MUST-VISIT: members.aol.com/VINDI/FAKES.html Learn how to tell the difference between the real M.U.S.C.L.E. deal and knock-offs with this handy, graphics-laden guide.
Erin Podolsky