A Letterboxd Error Message

I haven’t been on here in awhile, but I have been around. I have been on the networks. I have been using Get Glue and Letterboxd. Get Glue can be useful for getting your comments on something targeted to an audience that will appreciate them. Letterboxd is impressive. It basically takes the features that IMDb and icheckmovies were offering and ties them all together in a social network. It’s obviously having an effect on those two services since icheckmovies is fleshing out it’s social features and IMDb is improving list making and adding a check-in service. Both sites are trying to change what people use them for. In the case of icheckmovies, they want people to do more than keep a big list of everything they watch. IMDb wants to be more than the Wikipedia of film. I personally think both are too late to change their spots. However, both still serve those purposes and do it better than Letterboxd. At least that is for now.

The biggest stumbling block is that while IMDb has their database to do with as they please and icheckmovies scrapes it for their needs; Letterboxd is using TMDb. Never heard of it? Neither had I, till I found I needed to add films to it before I could use them on Letterboxd. TMDb is basically trying to reinvent the wheel. A few months back I found a movie IMDb didn’t have in their database. And they have been around for how long now? My point is that Letterboxd’s reliance on TMDb is a huge stumbling block. Right now Letterboxd is in beta and it has drawn the attention of many cinephiles like yours truly. This means that movies are being added like crazy prior to a wide release.

If you are on Letterboxd and need to add a film: Don’t be afraid of TMDb. There are three fields that must be filled: Title, Overview, and IMDb ID. The overview can be “No Overview” and the other two you grab from IMDb. Then you have a new movie entered. If you are adding a release date. Please do everyone a favor and only add the earliest one. Also make use of the “primary” check box. The issue is that Letterboxd will grab one date from that database and suddenly Letterboxd features that make use of dates become spotty. There is nothing you can do to enter a Soviet or Czechoslovakian film. TMDb only has a list of current countries and a policy of using the modern equivalent for a defunct country. The problem arises with films like Ecstasy (1933), which is a Czechoslovakian-Austrian co-production in German with an Austrian star and a Czech director. So which country of release do you use to make up for not having Czechoslovakia? The point is that not only is TMDb re-inventing the wheel, they are making obvious mistakes along the way.

I am sure that the people at TMDb will find and fix their mistakes eventually. IMDb went through this and apparently so must TMDb. The issue is that Letterboxd is dependent and limited by TMDb. I make it sound bad. It’s only annoying. If you are willing to deal with a few database additions from time to time then I highly recommend Letterboxd.

On a separate note:

Why Is Bruno Waving Sideways?

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