Connecting with other movie fans and discussing films you select from Netflix can be fun. Although sites like IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes have become important parts of the online experience for movie buffs, they aren't exactly the forums for engaging movie chat and social networking that the sites in this roundup are. Below are some of the best I've found.
Movie social networks
Filmcrave Filmcrave lets you create lists of all the movies you love, rate films, and discuss those ratings with friends in the site's forums. You can also find other members who might have similar movie tastes by comparing their reviews to yours. Filmcrave is designed well but doesn't stand out from the competition.
Flixster Once you sign up for Flixster, you'll immediately be asked to find friends who are already on the service. It takes only a few seconds, so it's worth trying.
When complete, you can take a test that will help determine how compatible your movie tastes are with your friends'. You can check out movies, tell others what your favorite films are, use widgets that let you add voice comments to Flixster, and more.
The site even has a chat function, so you can instant-message with others while reading up on films. And unlike the other services in this roundup, Flixster is available for mobile phones, including the iPhone and BlackBerry. It also has applications on MySpace and Facebook. It's everywhere for good reason--it's the best movie social network on the Web.
I Heart Movies I Heart Movies has some bugs that it needs to overcome before it can really compete on the same level as its competitors. That said, it's still worth trying out, if you can get past those issues.
When you sign up for I Heart Movies, you'll fill out your profile and find friends on the site. But the real value of I Heart Movies is its recommendation engine, which is based on your ratings and what your friends like. It works great--I found that my recommendations were spot-on. Overall, I Heart Movies is a fine service, but I would like it more, if its bugs were addressed.
After you sign up for the site's community, you can find friends on the service. Once you have linked up with some friends, you can see how they're rating films. If you have an opinion on those ratings, you can send them notes about the review. The site's Notebook feature lets you see all the notes you have sent and received.
Netflix has an active community of movie lovers. You can join groups, discuss films with other users, or just chat about Netflix in general. The community makes Netflix even more compelling. It's a great service.
Real Movie News Although its name might not suggest it, Real Movie News is a capable social network for movie fans. After you sign up, you'll be brought to a page allowing you fill out your profile with information on your movie tastes. You can then find some friends on the site, based on their film preferences.
Real Movie News gets its name by allowing you to post movie news for the community to check out. Since the site isn't big, you won't find a ton of news. But most of the stories are interesting, since the users have opinions on practically everything in the space. Like the other sites in this roundup, you can review movies. You can also chat it up with friends in the forums.
Spout Spout is a great social network. It's not as powerful as Flixster, but its profile creation experience is the best of any social network I tested. You can input basic information about yourself, but you can also add a tagline to your profile. You can even write a blurb about yourself in a WYSIWYG editor.
Spout gives you a variety of options, including adding your Netflix queue to your profile, reviewing movies, and joining film groups. You can also create lists of your favorite movies, which you can then share with the rest of the community. It's a neat site.
The Auteurs The Auteurs is unique in this roundup. Instead of catering to general film buffs who want to make friends with others, The Auteurs is for the film expert. From "Seven Samurai" to Antonini's complete filmography, the site has a variety of classics that will satisfy film professors and those who want to see the titles that left an indelible mark on the industry.
The Auteurs enables you to discuss films with others who have an expertise in film theory and cinematography. In fact, many of the discussions talk about the meaning of different scenes. It's a little advanced, but if you're a real movie buff, you might like it.
My top 3
1. Flixster: Was there any doubt? Flixster easily bests the competition.
2. Netflix: It's not quite as nice as Flixster, but with such a great community, it's close.
3. Spout: Spout profiles are better than those on any other service.