Opinion | Toxic ‘film bros’ ruin Letterboxd

By Caroline Tadla, Columnist

In a world of insecure film majors, Letterboxd is the outlet for frustration and aggression.

Letterboxd defines itself as a social platform for sharing taste in film. However, Letterboxd can also be defined as a space for pretentious “movie buffs” to assert their dominance. A phenomenon I call “Toxic Letterboxd Syndrome.” Something I’ve fallen victim to many times.

Despite the overwhelming toxicity of Letterboxd, the app intends to connect film lovers. Yet, it’s spiraled into a cesspool of lukewarm takes.

Allow me to demonstrate: You walk into a media and cinema studies classroom on campus. You enter a room full of individuality complexes, an oxymoron.

You meet somebody new. They are dressed nicely, they seem well informed, they bring up foreign films you’ve never heard of. You get nervous. What else did they do, win Sundance?

Your individuality complex begins to crumble. They ask for your Letterboxd. Your nervousness turns into a panic. Is your top four good enough? Are your reviews witty enough? Is your bio niche enough?

God forbid this person is cooler than you. A sigh of relief flows over you as you see “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” is placed in their top four. How uncool of them. Crisis averted.

You read their essay long reviews as if it would be a sin for their precious thoughts about the “art of film” to go unheard. You shake your head as they clearly don’t understand the deeper meaning of “Midsommar.”

And just like that, you’ve become a part of the problem.

The competition, the pretension — these have become your raison d’être. You’ve seen so many boring black and white films to impress these “Pulp Fiction” fanatics that your color receptors are dying. You need a breath of fresh air. Perhaps you’ll watch a Marvel movie with your younger sibling to cleanse the pallet.

You look in the mirror horrified at what is staring back at you: the ominous “film bro.” You wonder how you got this way. You wonder how you became the thing you once so despised.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Take Letterboxd back from the “Joker” worshippers; make Letterboxd wholesome again.

Letterboxd should be utilized to bond with fellow film enthusiasts and amateur critics. If people took themselves a little less seriously, they’d realize it’s one of the most enjoyable apps on the market. Still, Letterboxd isn’t real life, and film majors at the University are exceedingly sweeter than any “film bro’s” five-star review of “Fight Club.”

We must remember to keep our egos in check as we enjoy Letterboxd. Unless, of course, you have won Sundance — in that case, write that novel of a review.

Caroline is a freshman in Media.

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