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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

Netflix Board Of Directors Meets To Decide If 'Michael' Is Stream Worthy

Company sources say a majority of the board feels 'Michael' is a fondly remembered mid-'90s gem.
Company sources say a majority of the board feels 'Michael' is a fondly remembered mid-'90s gem.

LOS GATOS, CA—According to sources within the company, Netflix's board of directors held a tense series of meetings Friday to decide whether the 1996 fantasy-comedy Michael, starring actor John Travolta, should be included among the movies available through its instant-viewing program.

Netflix, which debuted its Watch Instantly service in 2007, boasts a library of tens of thousands of titles, each of which requires at least 70 percent approval from the seven-member board before it is cleared for streaming.

Reports indicated the final decision on whether to include the Nora Ephron–directed Michael, in which a vulgar, cigarette-smoking angel visits Earth, is still pending and has required numerous rounds of voting from the board.

"Michael would be an invaluable addition to our catalog, and I strongly recommend we act on this immediately," chief content officer Ted Sarandos reportedly said moments after the 8 a.m. meeting was officially called to order. "The film is a PG-rated romp with broad cross-generational appeal, and Travolta is a huge draw for the 45-to-60-year-old demographic, which we've really been struggling with lately."

"Some may call it a risk, but frankly, Michael is a risk I'm willing to take," Sarandos continued. "We can't afford to wait around on this. We need to push it through today."

As with any new film under consideration by Netflix, executives held two back-to-back screenings of Michael: the first to get a general feel for the picture, and the second for critical analysis. They then discussed the movie in detail, carefully scrutinizing each scene and reviewing such criteria as story, acting quality, number of quotable lines of dialogue, and level of enjoyment upon subsequent viewings.

Sources said that while the procedure to add a movie can be relatively straightforward, as with unanimously approved titles such as Iron Man 2 and, some films, like Never Been Kissed, Dante's Peak, and Rango, have been far more contentious, often resulting in fiery board room clashes and even threats to quit the company.

"The board quickly reached a favorable consensus on the bar scene where Michael dances to 'Chain Of Fools,'" said a source familiar with the proceedings, speaking on condition of anonymity. "But there were bitter disagreements over the film's ending, in which Michael and Pansy dance together while time is frozen. [Board members] Jay [Hoag] and Ann [Mather] felt it was an excellent way to wrap things up, but others found it both corny and totally anticlimactic. That pretty much brought the meeting to a standstill."

Stretching late into the evening, the Michael meetings were reportedly punctuated by several executives storming out of the conference room following particularly fierce disputes over the quality of Andie MacDowell's performance, as well as by heated exchanges over the quirky casting of actor William Hurt as cynical tabloid journalist Frank Quinlan.

"Obviously, I can't get into all the specifics of what we're discussing in there," said executive George Battle, speaking to reporters outside of Netflix headquarters during a short reprieve from the contentious talks. "But I will say that if [company director] Rich [Barton] honestly thinks Andie MacDowell was better in Michael than she was in Short Cuts—or even Multiplicity, for that matter—then he's out of his goddamn mind. And that you can quote me on."

At one point, sources said, frustrated board member Timothy Haley, known throughout the company as a strong Michael proponent, stood up and slammed his fists on the table, shouting that even questioning whether the film merited inclusion in the Watch Instantly program meant the company had "lost the very ideals upon which it was founded."

At approximately 11 p.m., Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings reportedly made one last effort to sway the board to approve the move.

"Michael represents the next step for our company," Hastings wrote in a company-wide e-mail obtained by reporters. "The stockholders may not approve of the decision initially, but I'm willing to stake my whole career on its success. And if I go down for this one, then so be it. That's how strongly I feel."

"I love the part when Michael brings the dog back to life after the truck accident, and then his wings fall off," Hastings added.

At press time, sources confirmed the board had narrowly passed the motion to introduce Michael into the Netflix streaming catalog, but remained deadlocked over the 1999 baseball-themed romantic drama For Love Of The Game.

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