Quarantivities: Letterboxd movie reviews
September 30, 2020
During quarantine- and since the beginning of the pandemic- boredom has been very common for all age groups. Not being able to participate in regular extracurriculars throughout the summer and beginning of the school year has inspired many students to learn new skills and develop hobbies. Students’ growing interest in new activities has made the pandemic more bearable.
Cole Kreber, senior, began watching movies and logging them in an app called Letterboxd. The app includes “all” movies, short films, and comedy specials. Kreber has seen 573 of the films/specials on the app- 39 of which he watched during quarantine. After becoming obsessed with watching movies and forming his own opinions on his watching experience, Kreber began logging and reviewing movies in the app. Kreber found the app in January of this year, shortly before quarantine in March. Concerning his initial encounter with the app, he says, “I discovered Letterboxd when I was on Twitter and I found this account called @insaneletterboxreviews and I thought, ‘I need to get this app,’ so I downloaded it.”
Kreber has always enjoyed watching movies, but his interest really sparked in the eighth grade after watching The Florida Project on a pirated site. “The Florida Project was the first artsy-indie film I watched,” Kreber recalls, “I started really liking movies when my mom took my family to see It’s a Wonderful Life around Christmas, that’s my favorite movie.”
Letterboxd has various features its users find attractive. In the AppStore it is rated 4.8 stars by 38000 people. Users praise the app’s watchlist, diary entries, easy operation, and the ability to log where and when a user watches a film. The app allows users to create multiple lists. Kreber has lists for friends to watch, seasons, most loved movies and specific categories including: “Need to read the book then watch” and “Movies I saw on the big screen.” “I mostly use the app for the diary entries and all my entries are from the movies I’ve watched most recently. I took the app really seriously at first, for some reason, but now I just write about what I liked or didn’t like,” he says. Commenting on how the app works, Kreber states, “It [Letterboxd] has a sort of Netflix layout but, instead of being able to watch the movie, you can look at the synopsis, trailer, reviews/ratings and other details.”
When rating movies, Kreber’s criteria varies. For a film to earn four stars he simply must enjoy it without disruption, but a four-star film does not overwhelm him with emotion. A film earning two or three stars would be a film that is decent; these films may be used as background while scrolling through social media or being preoccupied in some way. Films with one star or less earn this rating by either being terrible or unbelievably cringeworthy (to the point where one must shut the movie off). Kreber’s criteria for five-star films is more thought-provoking than the others: “If I watch a movie and it sits with me for a long time and challenges the way I make decisions or view life or it’s a cathartic experience that makes me elicit a lot of emotions, it gets a five-star review.”