By Sammi Brennan
With a diverse range of college students comes a diverse range of movie tastes. The girl in front of you at Starbucks may have a love for suspenseful dramas. The boy waiting behind you in line for Pandini’s could have a collection of cult slasher films. The couple feeding each other eggs in the cafeteria might have a burning passion for sci-fi adventures. Whatever the appeal may be, Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes have joined forces to create an app perfect for every audience.
After installation, users are greeted with the “Box Office” home screen which allows you to navigate between films opening this week as well as future films of the current month and beyond. It also shows the top films at the box office and how much each film has accumulated thus far. There’s a tab for cinema news in general, ranging from cast interviews to recently released trailers.
For those unfamiliar with Rotten Tomatoes, the site uses a “Tomatometer” which distributes ratings to each film based on the collected opinions of professional critics. If a film is “fresh,” it has received a rating of 60 percent or higher. Below the film title will be a tomato symbol if it is “fresh.” If a film is “rotten,” it has received a rating of 59 percent or less. Below the film title will be a green splat as if a tomato was thrown at it. If a film is “certified fresh,” it has received a rating of 75 percent or higher. Below the film title will be a badge declaring that it is indeed, certified fresh.
There is also the audience score, which is based on the opinions of Rotten Tomatoes users. If an audience score is high, there will be a symbol of a filled popcorn bucket. If an audience score is low, there will be green, spilled popcorn… and no one likes green, spilled popcorn. In several cases, a film might have a high rating on the tomatometer but a low audience score, or vice versa. According to the Rotten Tomatoes website, the Rotten Tomatoes database consists of “more than 250,00 movies, 2.3 billion user reviews, 500,000 critic reviews” as well as “more than 20,000 trailers and videos.”
The Flixster app gives the user a film’s rating on the tomatometer, the audience score, the release date, the runtime, the MPAA rating, and the names of two lead cast members. If you click on the film’s graphic, you can watch the trailer. For example, if you look at Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016), currently displayed on the Box Office home screen, it shows that the film has an 80 percent on the tomatometer, an 89 percent audience score, the release date of January 29th, a PG rating, a one-hour-and-forty-minute runtime, and the names Jack Black and Angelina Jolie as the film’s featured stars.
Additionally, the “Theaters” option shows the theaters in your area, from one mile to more than ten miles away. Clicking on the appropriate theater will allow you to access the list of films and showtimes for that week. The theater’s information is shown along with options to call the theater, get directions, or see reviews on Yelp. Using the app, you can purchase your tickets quickly and easily.
Next is the “DVD” option. Here, you can browse through different genres and find out what’s new to dvd, coming to dvd, and currently streaming on Netflix. If you browse “Cult Movies,” the app takes you to a list with Spring Breakers (2013) featured at the top. It shows Spring Breakers has a 66 percent on the tomatometer, a 38 percent audience score, an R rating, a one-hour-and-33-minute runtime, and Selena Gomez and James Franco as the two selected stars.
Finally, there is the “Rewards” option, where you gain “Mpoints” by accumulating achievements. The more times you use the app, the more achievements you accomplish, and the more Mpoints you are awarded. You can use these Mpoints to enter various sweepstakes, browse the shopping category, or donate to charity.
According to the Flixster website, the app has been installed over fifty million times, making it “one of the most downloaded entertainment mobile apps in history.” So the next time your friend asks if you are interested in seeing a movie, make sure to check the Flixster app, because if that film has a 9 percent on the tomatometer (I’m looking at you, Fantastic Four (2015)), it might be better to pocket that money for something else.
Sammi Brennan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.