The Nice Guys

The Nice Guys ★★★★★

BACK ON MY BULLSHIT: Existential edition

Rewatching this movie naturally got me to think about my history here on this here website, which naturally led to an identity crisis, enjoy!

I found Letterboxd nearly three years ago now which is actually ridiculous. Three years is a long time. In that time, I’ve grown up a lot and almost everything about who I am has changed but one thing that has stayed the same is my insane love for movies.

It’s been wild to be able to document all of the movies I’ve watched and loved over the last few years. But it’s been even more interesting to watch the way the communities on this site have changed too.

Now, I am well aware that a lot of people here resent the jokey one-line reviews I tend to write (maybe you are one of those people). And I understand the opinion- it may not be well communicated at times, but I understand where you’re coming from, nonetheless. That being said, I can’t help but disagree still.

I’m in the middle of a mini social media detox at the moment and it has led me to thinking about the ways I’m using it, and more importantly, why. Letterboxd is an interesting case for me because when deleting my apps, I forgot it was even technically a social media. And what’s worse is, upon reflection I've realised that Letterboxd is the social media site that has the greatest impact on my life.

I spend a lot of time watching movies so I’m referring to the site all the time. But recently this thing I used to love has become a chore more than anything else.

I joined the site because I loved movies. That’s it. Period. Originally, I just thought it was cool that I could have a place to make and store lists of all my favourite movies. Then I started to find new films and soon I was discovering movies that I’d never heard of and finding new favourites. It was that simple. I just wanted to watch movies.

That’s ultimately why I’ve always written my dumb short reviews. Movies to me are my primary hobby (please ignore how sad that is, I already know), they’re an enjoyable thing to me. And I still feel that now to an extent, but there are times when enjoyment has been replaces by pressure. The pressure of staying relevant and writing something for a film that is popular rather than I think I'll enjoy more or the pressure of having the ‘right’ opinion on a certain film that is doing well so people wouldn’t think less of you.

It’s exhausting. And yes, I’m aware that these my problems and I should just toughen up and stop letting other people rule my life. But after having spoken to other people about it, I’ve realised this is something that is affecting more and more people and is probably a site-wide thing.

In addition to this, I found that more than any other social media, Letterboxd is where I find I’m comparing myself to other people. Because the site is a part of such a prominent part of my life (aka, watching movies) what I do on here matters a lot more to me. I get stuck into the classic loop of waiting for likes or followers, and constantly half-watching movies while multitasking rather than paying attention just so I can see my total watched number go up.

I find myself comparing to other, more successful people on this site so I too could be good. And in an attempt to be like them, I momentarily considered writing more long form review content.

I’m no writer. I’m never going to be a film critic, and that is so okay! It took me a bit of time to realise it, but I am so fine with that fact now. But it's easy to see what the idea came from. I feel like there's a sort of pressure here to be an articulate writer in order to be at all credible. This is part of my problem at the moment, and it's what made me want to take a step back for a moment.

Just being here because you like movies is okay! There's no strict guideline that says you have to produce publishable pieces every time you watch a movie.

But that's not an idea everyone seems to understand. And part of what was pushing me to be a writer was the negative reception one-line reviewers were getting.

(Before anyone says it, I’m not saying this applies to all long form reviewers obviously! Most of you are fab, there are just some idiots sometimes)

Film criticism is hard! I know, I tried. I really do mean it when I say I admire anyone that can do it. Given the nature of the site, it makes sense that a lot of users are pursuing film criticism at a professional level and if Letterboxd is the site that encouraged you to do that then congratulations, I genuinely am happy for you. By all means, it’s a free country, use this as a vehicle for your writing, I’d love to read it. But just because some people chose to be less serious and write a quick joke instead of a 1000 word essay, it doesn’t make them any less valid and it certainly doesn’t make them an inferior film fan.

Film is supposed to be fun, for many of us it’s an escape and just because there are people out there that want to make a quick joke and spread joy that way, doesn’t make them inferior to someone who can write published articles on the same topic.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I love movies and I’m forever grateful that I found Letterboxd and the community here to open my eyes to even more great movies. That being said I feel there’s a certain sense of perceived superiority amongst certain groups and the fact it’s kinda been ignored is bugging me. Everyone has a right to be on the site. One-line reviews aren’t hurting anyone. Please just let people enjoy the movies they want to enjoy.

Feel free to tell me I’m wrong in the comments x

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