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Entertainment

How Movies Receive Their Ratings

Many Americans use the MPAA’s formalized rating system as a guide for which films to see. The Onion provides a step-by-step view into how these ratings are chosen:

‘Winnie-The-Pooh’ Turns 90

Winnie-The-Pooh, the A.A. Milne series featuring a stuffed bear and his toy animal friends, debuted 90 years ago this week. Here are some milestones from the franchise’s nearly century-long run:

50 Years Of ‘Star Trek’

Star Trek, the science-fiction show about the crew of the starship Enterprise, premiered 50 years ago today on NBC, spawning a cult following and decades of spin-offs. Here are some milestones from the franchise’s 50-year history

How Big-Budget Movies Flop

Despite the recent box-office failures of Exodus, Ben-Hur, and Gods Of Egypt, studios continue to fund big-budget movies they hope will achieve blockbuster success. The Onion provides a step-by-step breakdown of how one of these movies becomes a flop:

Your Horoscopes — Week Of August 30, 2016

ARIES: Sometimes in life, you just need to stop whatever it is you’re doing and take a step back. Actually, maybe it’s two steps back. Yeah, that’s good. Keep going. The stars will let you know when you’re far enough.

‘Rugrats’ Turns 25

This August marks the 25th anniversary of the premiere of Rugrats, the beloved Nickelodeon cartoon about intrepid baby Tommy Pickles and his group of toddler friends. Here are some milestones from the show’s nine-season run

Your Horoscopes — Week Of August 9, 2016

ARIES: Your life’s story will soon play out in front of movie theater audiences across the country, though it’ll only last about 30 seconds and advertise free soft drink refills in the main lobby.

Director Has Clear Vision Of How Studio Will Destroy Movie

LOS ANGELES—Saying he can already picture exactly what the finished cut will look like on the big screen, Hollywood film director Paul Stanton told reporters Wednesday he has a clear vision of how studio executives will totally destroy his upcoming movie.

Your Horoscopes — Week Of June 14, 2016

ARIES: Once the laughter dies down, the party favors are put away, and the monkeys led back inside their cages, you’ll finally be given a chance to explain your side of the story.

Lost Jack London Manuscript, ‘The Doggy,’ Found

RYE, NY—Workers inventorying the estate of a recently deceased Westchester County art dealer earlier this month reportedly stumbled upon a draft of a previously unknown Jack London novel titled The Doggy, and the work is already being hailed by many within the literary world as a masterpiece.

Guide To The Characters Of ‘The Force Awakens’

The highly anticipated seventh episode in the ‘Star Wars’ series, ‘The Force Awakens,’ which will be released December 18, will feature several returning characters as well as a host of new ones. Here is a guide to the characters of ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens.’

Robert De Niro Stunned To Learn Of Man Who Can Quote ‘Goodfellas’

‘Bring Him To Me,’ Actor Demands

NEW YORK—Immediately halting production on his latest project after hearing of the incredible talent, legendary actor Robert De Niro was reportedly stunned to learn Wednesday that Bayonne, NJ resident Eric Sullivan, 33, can quote the critically acclaimed 1990 Martin Scorsese film Goodfellas at length.

Timeline Of The James Bond Series

This week marks the release of the 24th film in the James Bond franchise, Spectre, featuring Daniel Craig in his fourth appearance as the British secret agent. Here are some notable moments from the film series’s 53-year history
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Entertainment

Matchbox Twenty Finally Finishes Watering Down Long-Awaited New Album

LOS ANGELES—Executives at Atlantic Records announced Monday that multi-platinum recording artist Matchbox Twenty, which set sales records in 2000 for its mega-hit release Mad Season, has finally finished watering down tracks on its long-awaited new album Beige.

Matchbox Twenty.

"Everyone here at Atlantic is thrilled about what's sure to be the biggest-selling, least-rocking record of the year," Atlantic public-relations spokeswoman Janet Cosgrove said. "It's been a long wait, but the incredibly boring results speak for themselves. Beige is bigger and blander than anything Matchbox Twenty has ever done."

"Grab a chair, America!" she added. "The most uninteresting band in formulaic, corporate radio is back!"

The release has been eagerly awaited by Matchbox Twenty's enormous fan base, composed of American record buyers who have a limited interest in music but enjoy the act of shopping. In order to satisfy the undemanding non-tastes of this lucrative market, Matchbox Twenty has made every effort to create what record-industry insiders say is the band's least distinctive album yet.

Matchbox Twenty - Beige

"Some were disappointed with the relatively limited reception to Matchbox Twenty's 2002 release More Than You Think You Are," Rolling Stone contributing editor Nathan Brackett said. "That album proved what record executives have known for years: It's actually very difficult to record a rock record that has no rock in it at all. But with this new release, Matchbox Twenty has really delivered on its signature non-sound."

After the enormous commercial success of 1996's Yourself Or Someone Like You, demand for simplistic, cookie-cutter output from the band has been high. Yet, according to Grammy-winning lead vocalist Rob Thomas, the new record's release was delayed repeatedly because of Matchbox Twenty's perfectionism in the studio.

"Our goal was to follow in the tradition of great multi-platinum artists like Elton John, Phil Collins, and the Dave Matthews Band—sales powerhouses who relied on the musical ignorance of their fans," Thomas told reporters following Monday's announcement. "We knew that if we wanted to match those historic giants for sheer lack of energy, we couldn't settle for anything less than total banality. And, though it took a lot of time and effort, I think we achieved that—an album that sets a new standard for trite crapola."

"It's really derivative and boring," he added.

Thomas said it was the expectations of listeners that drove the band to create the most average music possible.

"We wanted to give our fans exactly what they've come to expect: music so inoffensive and indistinct that it could be played virtually anywhere—a bank lobby, an SUV stuck in traffic, a party full of aging stockbrokers and their girlfriends. That's no small task. Even a lot of the most vacant and unimaginative people have some capacity to actively engage in the music they're listening to."

According to band members, hundreds of hours were spent in the studio trying to render the sound adequately benign.

"No matter how many times we recorded the new single 'Sitting Down (Hands At My Side),' there was still a certain 'oomph' coming through in the drums, a loud-ish, slightly gripping sound that we couldn't remove," drummer Paul Doucette said. "Finally, after running them through about two dozen filters, we managed to get that 'plastic spork hitting mashed potatoes' sound we were after."

There was a similar problem, band members said, with the guitar solos, some of which contained trace elements of what musicians call "passion." In addition, the interplay among bass, drums, and guitars occasionally produced uncomfortable polyrhythmic effects that provoked unintentional toe-tapping or head-bobbing in listeners. The problems were fixed through extensive re-recording.

"I'm satisfied that all the watering-down we put into this album was worth it," Thomas said. "My lyrics are super-bland, the bass might as well have been recorded on a keyboard, and just wait until you hear how dull we managed to make the guitars sound. It's amazing."

The band will introduce the album's first single next week on MTV's hugely popular, entirely insipid show Total Request Live.

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