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That Book Is Back

A book? In the Internet age? Yes, the 2012 edition of Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide is now available, in two formats: a mass-market paperback (which still retails for $9.99) and a trade paperback edition. Apparently there are plenty of people who still use books—and enjoy consulting this particular one—thank goodness.

And in spite of all the hard work—which never gets easier, believe it or not—I’m not sure what I’d do without this book, which has been part of my life for more than forty years!

As always, we’ve added more than 300 new reviews, and made hundreds of changes and—

—corrections to last year’s volume. We’ve also had to prune a number of older titles, which now exist only in our companion volume, Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide. It’s painful to drop anything, but at 1,643 pages we’ve reached our limit and something has to go. (The director’s index is another casualty this year; it was that or cut 150 more movies.)

This is where the Internet has an advantage over the print medium—and just one reason the iPhone app version of the Movie Guide is so useful (the new 2012 edition is now available HERE.

But as someone who researches movies every day, I know how difficult it is to get accurate information on the ‘net. For instance, if you go online to find out who costars with Matt Damon in The Adjustment Bureau, you’ll be confronted with an avalanche of names like Lisa Thoreson and Florence Kastriner. No offense to those performers, but they probably aren’t the ones you’re looking for: they appear at the top of many cast lists because they’re cited in order of appearance onscreen. You have to scroll way down to find Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie, John Slattery, or Terence Stamp. Having seen these movies, we try to compile the most useful cast list possible, and we usually stick with “billing order.”

One of the first lessons I learned when I first worked on this book, so many years ago, was the need for checks and balances. That’s why several of my colleagues inspect each review to look for errors and make suggestions. Mistakes still occur now and then, but thankfully we can rectify them in the following year’s edition.

A project like this can’t be accomplished by computers alone: it takes people, and the right kind of people, who not only know and love movies but care about the details. That’s why I’m grateful to all of my colleagues: Darwyn Carson, Luke Sader, Mike Clark, Rob Edelman, Spencer Green, Pete Hammond, Joe Leydon, Michael Scheinfeld, Bill Warren, Casey St. Charnez, Jerry Beck, and my daughter Jessie Maltin. Many of them have been working with me for decades, and without them there would be no book—in print or on your iPhone.

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