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. ↩
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