Zombie Zen

Posts tagged "Movies"

Rewriting moviegolf.com

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In April, I relaunched moviegolf.com, a website I’ve operated since 2009. Since this is one of the flashier programs I’ve written and certainly one of the longest-lasting, I wanted to recount its history. My style of programming has definitely shifted in the intervening years.

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moviegolf.com lives on!

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It’s long overdue, but… moviegolf.com is back and better than ever! Give it a try!

A quick recap of this saga: moviegolf.com is a website I created in high school to find the optimal path between two movies based on shared actors. However, in the years since, it has bit-rotted significantly. At the time, I used Freebase, which Google acquired for use in the Knowledge Graph, but shut down in 2015. Since then, the site has limped on, forever stuck with an outdated set of movies. moviegolf.com was in a deep coma with an uncertain future.

My goal in doing a rewrite was twofold: I wanted to have a Go service running in production that I understood intimately and I wanted to make the service more self-sustaining. I made an unsuccessful attempt to do this about five years ago. At the time, I was discouraged by App Engine limitations and the difficulty of acquiring data. Luckily, the data from Freebase lives on in Wikidata with a much better data crawling story, but the file formats and API are totally different. Getting the data automatically required a total rewrite of my lousy ~10 year old data ingestion pipeline. I took the opportunity to rewrite the search algorithm, storage backend, and UI while I was in there. I did scrap some features for the sake of time, but nothing that I felt was critical for the experience. I wanted to focus on the core “golf” experience. From start to finish, this took a little over a month of weekends and evenings. I’m planning on doing a write-up of the salient technical details soon, but in short: GCP rocks and simple components make for robust services.

Golf on!

This is truly an amazing achievement. It’s a nice little contained film, even if you don’t know too much about Portal.

A Day at the Movies

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Let me get this out of the way first: I watched Prince of Persia today and it was awful. Don’t go see it; not even the fight scenes were particularly well-constructed.

My real delight today was watching the film adaptation of Hamlet with Mel Gibson. For what it’s worth, I think that it is the best film adaptation of that play. Its emotional depth is surprising given most other adaptations are rather dreary.

And what lovely acting! Mel Gibson presents a memorable Hamlet, but it’s fascinating to watch the other brilliant actors in the supporting roles. Ian Holm gave a memorable performance as Polonius—witty and wise, just as Shakespeare intended. I was shocked to discover that Helena Bonham Carter (who played Ophelia) is a talented actress when she doesn’t hide behind eye liner and Alan Rickman.

I know this came out a year ago, but it being Friday the 13th and all, I thought I’d share. Enjoy!

The First Rule is...

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you do not talk about Fight Club, but I’m going to anyway. Today is the tenth anniversary of the movie, Fight Club. That just seems odd to me that a movie that affected my life so profoundly was released that long ago.

I am Jack’s filmic nostalgia.

An Analysis of Se7en

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Se7en was the best detective film to have come out of the 90s. Unfortunately, most people don’t remember this movie as much as they do David Fincher’s other masterpiece, Fight Club. I just rewatched Se7en on Wednesday, and I made a few interesting revelations about the movie’s symbolism and themes. Take this all with a grain of salt; I’m sure the movie is open to many different interpretations.


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