Quantified Self – Letterboxd

I’m obsessed with data and have often found ways to use it to monitor and measure my own life. There is a (pretty silly) name for this movement – the Quantified Self. One of the metrics I keep track of is the movies I watch, which won’t come as a surprise if you know how much of a cinephile I am.

When Letterboxd first launched in late 2012 I quickly realized that I could finally do away with my antiquated approach to logging movie watches and ratings. Letterboxd is the perfect social networking and movie review site, and I can’t recommend it enough.

I had first logged my film watching habits in a Google Spreadsheet, tracking numerous data points. I could use this at the end of each year to get some interesting information about my watching habits, favorite movies/directors, and total movies/hours watched. I tracked the following:

  • Title
  • My rating
  • Director
  • Release year
  • If I had seen it before
  • Genre
  • Length
  • Date of viewing

Letterboxd took all of these things, and more, and baked them into the most beautiful user interface. The addition of standard, modern social interactivity on their site makes it the ultimate cinephile’s tool. There is no better site out there for tracking your movie habits – I highly recommend it. I’m even a paid member – it’s worth it!

Everything Looks The Same

This is a great read about the homogeneity of websites that has transpired over the last several years. I don’t necessarily see this trend as a bad thing – the author certainly paints a doom & gloom scenario. The form factor of a product or service-based website can only take on so many styles or patterns – it is conceivable that the web could land at a nirvana state.

Film Taste

Everyone has different tastes. As a man obsessed with film, I’ve come to evolve certain tastes that I’ve been able to more clearly identify lately.

When I watch a film, I don’t want to be told everything. I want some level of mystery, confusion, and uncertainty in a film. I seek that type of movie because it provokes discussion, multiple points of view, and a high-degree of rewatchability. I don’t even know how many times I’ve watched Michael Haneke’s Cache in the last 5 years… maybe as much as Star Wars in my youth.

If I watch a film and it is chock full of clarity, exposition, and directness, I feel as though I’m just being beaten over the head with a story. Even if a movie like this reveals some deeper meaning after the credits have rolled, it won’t have lasting power with me.  I want a film that treats me like a person capable of complexity – not a child in need of a bed time story.

Interstellar is a movie that definitely reinforced my understanding of my current tastes. There were a number of times throughout that movie that I rolled my eyes in frustration. But the unfortunate part is that I found long stretches of that movie to be quite fantastic, but those were only to be undone by trite dialogue explaining practically everything.

I’ve come across a lot of these types of movies – otherwise great pictures that have too much exposition for my taste. If I could just have some magic editing-room powers, I would edit these films down, pulling out their overt descriptions and directness. I bet I could pair Interstellar down to a fantastic film with a 2-2:15 run-time. But then a movie like Transformers 4: Age of Extinction would probably only last about 30 minutes – definitely not a film for my editing.

Words of Wisdom

I want leaders in my team who confidently establish, communicate, and build support for a clear plan, under conditions of uncertainty and chaos.

I spoke these words with a pensive brow to a mentor of mind, and he hastily wrote them down. It was the first time in our exchanges that he was doing the transcribing, and not the other way round.