By EW Staff
October 02, 1998 at 04:00 AM EDT

MOVIES

Greatest Films (www.filmsite.org) Why shouldn’t West Coast movie fan Tim Dirks name his own top 100 films — especially when his list is so detailed? Dirks proffers essays, synopses, dialogue snippets, a quotes quiz, and a rundown of famous scenes; he even links to other best-movies lists. In contrast to those controversial rankings, Dirks lists his picks alphabetically — from The Adventures of Robin Hood to Yankee Doodle Dandy — and that may be the very smartest thing about this site. A

Movie Review Query Engine (www.mrqe.com) Everyone’s a critic. Witness the 70,000-plus film reviews you can access on this narrowly focused yet widely linked site. Reviewers from publications ranging from Australia’s Urban Cinefile to the Winston-Salem Journal offer up their insights at the click of a Search button. And it’s bound to help you keep the plot straight even if those people behind you insist on talking through the movie. A-

MOVIES BEST OF BREED The Astounding B Monster (www.bmonster.com) Behold the grotesque masterpiece of evil genius Marty Baumann! The writer/website designer has created a clever tribute to sci-fi, horror, and cult movies that covers the genre like a baptism of blood. In the Padded Celluloid section, ”Janet Leigh, the star of Psycho, remembers her finest shower.” Fans will howl at lists like ”Werewolf Redux: Ten most likable lycanthropes,” and revel in such juicy period blurbs as ”Yesterday they were cold and dead. Today, they’re hot and bothered!” (for 1971’s Dracula vs. Frankenstein). B-yootiful. A+

Cinema 1 E-Zine (www.cinema1.com) At first glance, Cinema 1 is just another online movie ‘zine, with news blurbs, paparazzi photos, and actor bios that link to the video purveyor Reel.com. What sets this U.S.-based site apart, however, is that there are English and Spanish versions of many of the sections — one ironic exception is a feature story about a Buenos Aires movie palace, which appears only in English. B+

Celebrity Corner (www.premrad.com/entertainment/celeb/bytes.html) You won’t find Jack Horner here. Instead, the Premiere Radio Network offers RealAudio interviews with celebs. Blade’s Stephen Dorff describes how his villainous character is based on Jack Nicholson’s Joker in Batman, and Rick Schroeder admits his total ignorance of the NYPD Blue character he’ll play this fall. But, hey — no archive? What gives? B- — Caren Weiner

TV

Bunim/Murray Productions (www.bunim-murray.com) The home page for the pair of voyeuristic producers behind MTV’s The Real World allows fans to take a virtual tour of Seattle’s Pier 70, send an e-mail to their favorite World-er from this season (Hey, Stephen, stop whining!), and view some off-camera tidbits from excerpted cast interviews. Wannabes will love the essay on ”How to Get Into Show Business.” Oh, and there’s some stuff about Bunim/Murray’s other show, Road Rules. B+

TV BEST OF BREED Cartoon Network (www.cartoonnetwork.com) After touring this cable net’s home page, we have one thing to say: Neat-o! Now Saturday morning can be any time of the week: Watch clips from Huckleberry Hound or Jonny Quest, study Flintstones storyboards and sketches of Barney Rubble’s living room, or listen to Joe Barbera discuss why he cast Scatman Crothers as Hong Kong Phooey. Actually, it’s more fun than watching the channel. A

The People’s Court (www.peoplescourt.com) Sadly, the superior television legal show, Judge Judy, doesn’t have an official Web page, so let’s go to the runner-up: former NYC mayor Ed Koch, on the bench once occupied by the Solomonic Judge Wapner. The site’s biggest draw is the live daily webcast (Windows Media Player is required), which lets justice-aholics watch a grainy video feed of episodes filled with property-damage disputes and messy divorce squabbles. Links to legal sites like the FBI Web page are included for Net surfers in real trouble. B

The Home of Television Theme Lyrics (www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Academy/4760/) Revisit a bygone era when TV shows actually had theme songs — with words, even! Television addict Tom Hayes’ text-only compilation of verses is spotty and lacking in the drama-series department, but the site does boast an impressive collection of sitcom themes from the ’50s (”I love Lucy, and she loves me…”) to the ’90s (”I’ll be there for you…”). No more pulling your hair out over knowing only the first line to the Growing Pains theme. B+

Dawson’s Creek Fan Fiction (www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/Studio/5314) If you don’t wanna wait for the summer to be over — and for Creek to get out of reruns — to experience some teen angst, log on here. The mostly female stable of amateur authors serves up alternative story lines (e.g., Dawson realizes his true feelings for Joey but then a bus accident leaves her comatose) with prose that ranges from sweetly silly to absolutely wretched. And spelling, apparently, doesn’t count. B- — Kristen Baldwin

MUSIC

MUSIC BEST OF BREED Vidnet (www.vidnetusa.com) Looking for the latest videos from Richard Davies, Fu Manchu, or Ron Sexsmith? You won’t find them in MTV’s regular rotation. Instead, tune in to Entertainment Boulevard’s Vidnet, a site that lets you play a large variety of clips at will via the VivoActive Player plug-in. Even if you just want to check out MTV staples like the Backstreet Boys’ ”Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” you can call them up without having to wait out yet another Road Rules marathon. A-

Smithsonian Folkways (www.si.edu/folkways) So you’ve memorized every lyric of the Anthology of American Folk Music box and you’re craving more. Here you can search Folkways’ entire catalog of musical Americana and download selected audio samples. There are more than 150 CDs in print (including the recent Deep Polka) and, for the real fanatic, more than 2,000 additional recordings of artists like Dock Boggs and Lead Belly available on cassette by special order. Too bad the site design is so rudimentary, especially given the great packaging afforded Folkways’ CD releases. A-

8-Track Heaven (www.8trackheaven.com) For a real 8-track flashback, check out this fanatically detailed site devoted to those bulky tapes you probably haven’t thought about since you threw out that old Foghat album. Maintained by a dedicated group of preservationists, the site is packed with info both useful and goofy (you’ll learn how to repair a damaged player and giggle at photos of wacky 8-tracks like Sgt. Pepper as performed by Atlanta Connection). You can even listen to the sound an 8-track makes when switching tracks. Yes, these folks are serious. Sort of. B+

Marilyn Manson (www.marilynmanson.net) If you’re after a creepy gothic horror show, don’t bother looking at the recently launched official Marilyn Manson website: The sleek, modern design is more Bauhaus (the German design movement) than Bauhaus (the British rockers). In addition to the usual news, lyrics, and message boards, the site features fun tidbits like original lyrics scrawled on notebook paper, the homemade cover of Manson’s old demo tape, and a picture of Marilyn with Corey Feldman (okay, so that last one’s not so hot). B+

The Totally Unofficial Rap Dictionary (www.sci.kun.nl/thalia/rapdict/) What’s a ”berry”? When exactly was ”tha nine nickel”? This rap dictionary will teach you these and many, many other hip-hop terms (a police car and 1995, in case you were wondering). Compiled, strangely enough, by a pair of Dutchmen, the site also provides rappers’ real names — the Fugees’ Pras’ is also known as Prakazrel Michel — and gives album recommendations based on your personal tastes. One caveat: The site seems not to have been updated in almost a year. B+ — Rob Brunner

REALLY USEFUL

EBAY (www.ebay.com) Need to unload that collection of New Kids on the Block memorabilia? Looking for a mint copy of Action Comics No. 1? Try this California-based virtual auction house, which entices e-consumers with hundreds of thousands of listings in categories from antiques to computers to Beanie Babies, complete with archived feedback about buyers and sellers and photos of some of the sale items. For shoppers, there’s a search engine that can locate the Honus Wagner baseball bat or Rubik’s Cube key chain you’ve been aching for. After you bid, daily e-mail updates keep track of your auction standings. As if retail therapy weren’t hard enough to resist. A

REALLY USEFUL BEST OF BREED Usenet FAQ Archive (www.faqs.org/faqs) Looking for info about the history of Lego or Howard Stern’s religious background? Check the FAQs — answers to ”frequently asked questions” posted on Usenet newsgroups. Thanks to FAQ daddy Kent Landfield, you can search by newsgroup name, topic, or even phrase. Well, maybe you can’t find out everything: The ”Whitewater” FAQ listed here is all about river rafting. Sorry, Ken. A

AJR Newslink (www.newslink.org) Media mania made manifest: This eye-poppingly comprehensive compilation site, sponsored by the American Journalism Review, links to some 8,000 traditional and new-media publications, including magazines as general as Time and as specific as Everton’s Genealogical Helper, and newspapers that circulate worldwide and campus-wide. And for once, online journalism — the new breed of ”wire service” exemplified by The Nando Times and Pointcast — gets equal coverage. A-

Showbizwire (www.showbizwire.com) If you want to be a showbiz macher — or just talk like one — check out Jason Hirschhorn’s oh-so-convenient site. Hollywood info is harvested daily from 42 online publications and cataloged by topic: Theater, books, music, TV, film, and video — there are even separate headings for news about individual celebrities and industry arcana. For the ultimate in high-tech sloth, you can subscribe to Hirschhorn’s newsletter and have a list of these links e-mailed to you. A-

Job Hunt (www.job-hunt.org) Recent grad? Downsized? Is your cubicle reminding you of a veal-fattening pen? If a new calling is calling to you, Dane Spearing — who started this list back in 1993, when he himself was hunting for a job — lists hundreds of links to university career offices, employment agencies, recruiters, academic associations, and international resources. While the site is heavily weighted toward technical fields, almost anyone is likely to find something useful here. Now, if only you could search by office size… B+

Library & Related Resources (www.ex.ac.uk/~ijtilsed/lib/wwwlibs.html) Now that the Internet explosion has turned librarians into cybrarians, you can scope out collections all over the world. This University of Exeter library site cataloges the holdings of libraries around the world, from the National Library of Singapore to the Winhall Elementary School Library in Bondville, Vt. Eye online exhibits or check out (figuratively) a library’s holdings — with no overdue fees! B — Caren Weiner

GOSSIP

CyberSleaze (www.metaverse.com/vibe/sleaze) What CyberSleaze lacks in visuals it makes up for in dish. Sleazehound editrix Jill ”The Diva” Stempel reports on everything from The Artist’s recent interest in becoming a Jehovah’s Witness to Keanu Reeves’ weak showing at an Aussie gym to the Backstreet Boys’ possible split (she snarkily quotes a Brit tabloid on their need to ”seek out challenges and have their individual talents recognized”). A-

The Velvet Rope (www.velvetrope.com) It’s Studio 54 in cyberspace! You have to pass gatekeeper Julie Gordon’s screening to get beyond this site’s cyber-rope, but if she accepts, consider yourself part of a select group of A&R suits, music crits, and even rock & rollers. Read postings on the music world, or offer up a juicy tidbit of your own. Log on soon, though, because Gordon may start charging for access. B+

News Askew (www.newsaskew.com) Aimed at fans of indie director Kevin Smith (Chasing Amy, Clerks), this site also tracks such neo-heavyweights as Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. It even includes posts from the actors themselves: Last March, Affleck logged on to deny the rumors that he and Damon hadn’t written Good Will Hunting. A

The Smoking Gun (www.thesmokinggun.com) This ”Pierre Salinger-free zone” offers minimal editorializing and maximum dirt in the form of actual documents on the misdeeds of celebs. With the aid of Freedom of Information Act requests, editors William Bastone and Daniel Green post such files as the documents surrounding Kurt Cobain’s death (from the missing person’s report presumably filed by Courtney Love to a crime-scene evidence log) or the military reports documenting the deaths of the Campagnone brothers, the real war-hero siblings who, in part, inspired the story of Saving Private Ryan. Oh, yeah, there are also court documents detailing Mark Wahlberg’s brushes with the law. Come on, you know you wanna. A

Tabloid (www.tabloid.net) Editors Charles Hornberger and Ken Layne maintain a ”tabloid ethic” when it comes to their publication: ”Liars, frauds, and bores must be punished; headlines must be extremely large; and the voice of outrage is the enemy of evil.” On a self-styled mission to keep the reading public at large from the boredom of ”America’s tired gray newspapers,” they seek out such subjects as drunken husbands being beaten by their wives in India or transsexual Welsh pastors. News is a relative term here. Entertainment isn’t. A- — Alexandria Dionne

GOSSIP BEST OF BREED Ain’t It Cool News (www.aint-it-cool-news.com) It started in a bedroom of his father’s house, but Harry Knowles, 26, has turned his passion into a global haven for film buffs and gossipmongers. The site offers early reviews of upcoming films (he loves Robin Williams’ What Dreams May Come), behind-the-scenes info, but no dirt on who’s sleeping with whom. Regardless of where he writes from, Knowles doesn’t ”do” bedroom. A

FAMILY

The Case (www.thecase.com) Solve brief whodunits, catch up on the latest thriller and mystery books, and create brainteasers on this site from the Online Mystery Network. Junior sleuths will find mini-mysteries, magic tricks, and ”chiller” stories, but the site is also home to Nancy Drew online, and fans of the young detective can play Shockwave games or check out the heroine’s latest adventures. A

The ArithmAttack (www.dep.anl.gov/aattack.htm) ”How many computer-generated arithmetic problems can you answer in 60 seconds?” That’s the challenge posed to visitors at this visually simple, math-driven website sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory. Kids (and parents!) can choose addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division problems or ask the computer to offer a random selection. More effective and much more fun than flash cards. B+

FAMILY BEST OF BREED Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey (www.Ringling.com) A three-ring circus of comedic clowns, amazing animals, and acrobat acts, this site lets you play trampoline basketball, find your place in the show with an aptitude test, and visit the Center for Elephant Conservation. With the greatest of ease, your family can download authentic circus sounds and free screensavers. If only they could figure out how to get cotton candy through your printer. A+

You Be the Historian (www.si.edu/organiza/museums/nmah/notkid/ubh/00intro.htm) At this fascinating Smithsonian site, young historians are introduced to the Springers, an 18th-century family living in Delaware, and are asked to figure out facts about them by examining everyday objects found in their house. Trying to recognize betty lamps and candle molds is a hoot, and guessing what future historians will learn about your family from the Nintendos and Nikes in your own home is guaranteed to spark lively discussion. A-

FunBrain (www.funbrain.com) Schools should take a lesson from this clever, colorful site from PM Publishing, which focuses on skills from map reading to piano playing. Lively games like ”Grammar Gorillas” encourage kids to find their own words to write wacky tales or to create customized word-search puzzles. This site teaches children how to use the most important tool of all — their brains. A — Lois Alter Mark

Hotlink to these sites at http://www.ew.com

Tired of typing URLs? Hotlink at http://www.ew.com

Advertisement