By Dan Moren
March 16, 2016 7:21 AM PT
Letterboxd’s native iOS app is one to watch
Books, TV shows, movies: there’s so much media to consume these days that it can get difficult to remember exactly which you’ve read/seen/watched, even with a portable memory supplement—read: smartphone—in your pocket. Luckily for us, app developers are here to make that task a little easier. For books, there’s Goodreads; for TV, apps like the previously mentioned Television Time; and for movies, there’s Letterboxd.
The web-based version of Letterboxd has been around for quite some time—I was using it back in 2013—but it wasn’t until this week that the service released a native iOS app. I’m hoping that will actually help me remember to use the service: when I logged in, it told me the last movie I’d put down was in February of 2015.1 Whoops!
Previously, Letterboxd had relied on its mobile website which, while quite good, turned out to be no substitute for a great native experience. (Sorry, Steve Jobs: web apps were never really a sweet solution.) I gave the app a spin and went ahead and put in the last few movies I’d seen, along with dates and ratings, and it was a speedy, elegant experience. I do wish that Letterboxd had fields for entering things like the location where I saw a film or with whom I watched it; you can probably appropriate tags for that, but it would be interesting to have location data integrated so you could, say, see a map of your movie viewing activity. I’d also prefer if the date picker had a calendar interface—I often can’t remember the date I saw a movie, but know, for example, that it was a Friday in November.
Letterboxd also has a social component, which is one reason I broke down and decided to give it another try: I kept getting notifications that people were following me there and felt a little guilty about not having updated in such a long time. (All part of their nefarious, Bond-villainesque plan, no doubt.) That said, the social component is probably only of ancillary interest to me—honestly, I just want to be able to look up whether I liked a movie or not.
Overall, Letterboxd is a very pretty and smooth app, especially when it comes to adding movies to your diary, which is what I want to do nine times out of ten when opening the app. I do wish that Diary were a little more front-and-center in the interface, but it’s certainly not hard to access. The true test will be to see if I manage to stick with it this time.2
I’ve put a lot of info in Goodreads, which leaves me kind of locked in, but it is a terrible app in some ways. Thanks to Amazon buying it, however, it’s become the de facto book social network, for better or worse. ↩
[If you appreciate articles like this one, help us continue doing Six Colors (and get some fun benefits) by becoming a Six Colors subscriber.]