Harry Knowles

“That’s when it hit me. The site is more important than me.”
Harry Knowles

In 1994, Knowles fell while pushing a cart up a ramp at a convention, and was subsequently run over by the cart with its 1200 pound load of memorabilia. The accident injured his back and left him virtually bedridden. With money from his mother’s life insurance, he purchased a top-of-the-line computer and a friend arranged for Internet service allegedly so they could play Doom online together. After teaching himself how to navigate the Internet, Knowles began frequenting newsgroups to exchange gossip and rumors with other fans about upcoming films. After being chastised by future film critic Mike D’Angelo for posting binary image files to the newsgroups, Knowles launched the website that would become Ain’t It Cool News in February 1996.

Due to the popularity of the website, Knowles was sought out by the mainstream media, including magazines, newspapers, and television news programs. In 2000, he was ranked #95 in the Forbes Power List. Due to his unorthodox style of journalism, Quentin Tarantino referred to Knowles as “the Wolf Blitzer of the Internet”. Knowles has made guest appearances on the television shows Siskel & Ebert & the Movies and Politically Incorrect.

Find out more about Ben or contact him for to help Gavin’s How Many Days? mission here:

I spy a prime movie scoop!

Why he’s on the list?

I was in my last year of high school when the internet first caught my attention.  The world wide web.  The very first website I visited was a website for the original Toy Story movie in 1995.  It blew my mind.  I started thinking that if every film had one of these websites, it would be amazing!  The town I grew up in, Amherstburg, Ontario, had little in the way of movie news.  Heck, even our 2 cinema movie house at the local mall closed in the spring of 1989.  All I knew of movies and movie news came from my subscription to Entertainment Weekly.  I read it like the bible.  Read it in class.  Read the reviews while at my local video store wondering why all these great films like “Clerks” weren’t available for rent in my town.  I was starved for information.  I didn’t know of trade magazines like Variety, Hollywood Reporter… but there were a few others like Cinescape that I would find from time to time.

It was around the end of my final year of high school in 1996 or shortly after that when internet at home became common place.  It was with an AOL connection that I discovered my New Testament of movie news:


This wasn’t like the old Bible I was used to.  It was radical.  No longer did I have to go to the bookstore, special order, scrounge information from Entertainment Tonight.  E! didn’t exist yet… to put things into perspective.  I had been wandering through a dessert void of most, if not all, movie news.  Ain’t It Cool News was a website that reviewed movies, brought production updates on films currently in production, constantly had rumours about upcoming films… and they were talking about the Star Wars prequels!  Those three amazing films that were still unmade and so pure, you’d blush every time George Lucas flashed his panties at you with tidbits about their upcoming production (but we know how those turned out).  The point is, on Aint It Cool, I could chat and debate with other film fans in the message boards attached to the site as well!

I found filmmaker friends I still keep in contact with.  I found advice on my own filmmaking pursuits.  I saw set pictures of people in costumes that studios didn’t want you to see.  I learned that the site’s creator, Harry Knowles, was an average joe who set a new mould. He was reporting on Hollywood from his home in Austin, Texas and would soon become a force to be reckoned with… and still is.

Aint-It-Cool changed my life.  It was my first daily web addiction (soon to be followed with naked ladies, ICQ, MSN hexic, myspace and now the Lord Almighty herself: Facebook).  I still read Aint It Cool daily.  It thrills me to geek out about upcoming films and to be part of the “heard it first” community.  Harry has taught me a lot that anything is possible if you have a real passion and are willing to do the work it takes to share it with the world.  Harry has been an inspiration in how to use the world wide web to promote my own films.  I was honoured a few years back when Aint It Cool did a small feature on my first film “Leaving Town” on the site.  It was a moment of realization for me:  Anything is possible and the world wide web can connect me even to people that seem unreachable. Passion over family connections, money, and access.

I love that the site has stayed virtually advertising free and not cluttered… that the design doesn’t change much… even decade to decade.  It has remained what it was always about:  movie news.

Aint It Cool news is widely respected by the industry and the top level filmmakers.  It is a true marvel in the origins of entertainment blogging.  It was the first source that began to feed my hungry appetite for movie information.  It will remain until the day I die (or the day it goes offline) my morning newspaper.  A cup of tea, my oatmeal, and my movie news.

Are you in the film business or were you inspired by Harry Knowles?  Are you a fan of his films?  If so, what do you like about them?  Leave a comment below, post interviews from youtube with him.  I dare you!


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