April 3, 2011

Bad Movie Locator

My friend Andy and I like to go see bad movies. Last night we saw Sucker Punch. Nothing lifts the soul like snickering at a total failure. The process of finding the bad movies involved checking listings at local theatres in Google and then cross referencing with Rotten Tomatoes reviews. A snowy Sunday morning in Denver gave me plenty of time to put everything together in a neat package. Join me in welcoming the Bad Movie Locator!! (It's embedded in iframe below.)

My work was made much easier by the API that Rotten Tomatoes just released in March, 2011. The API, developed by Mashery, allows access to the huge Rotten Tomatoes database of reviews, movie details, posters and lists. The responses are either in JSON or JSONP allowing JavaScript applications easy access. One huge limitation is that the API only allows 2 queries per second, and is limited to 5,000 queries total per day. Not sure if that's key-based, cookie-based, or domain-based. I've learned to love the throttle limit, as it provides a climactic moment while the ratings are loading.

The other API that allows listing of theatres, showtimes, and which movies are playing at particular theatres, is a great API from Tribune Media Services. TMSDataDirect provides data for Google and Yahoo movie listings. The documentation to their API is password protected, but the sample calls are not, so you can check those out on their site. Their API can also provide latitude/longitude for movie theatres, posters, MPAA ratings, showtimes, and ticket affiliates.

Thanks to the Bad Movie Locator, I realized I could have picked a worse movie to see: Red Riding Hood, which was playing at the same theatre. If I was willing to travel a bit, the Elvis was showing Yogi Bear, a worse movie still