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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

New Video Game Designed To Have No Influence On Kids' Behavior

NEW YORK— Electronic-entertainment giant Take-Two Interactive, parent company of Grand Theft Auto series creator Rockstar Games, released Stacker Tuesday, a first-person vertical-crate-arranger guaranteed not to influence young people's behavior in any way.

"With Stacker, the player interacts with an environment full of boxes—lightweight, uniformly brown boxes with rounded corners—and uses diligence and repetitive hard work to complete his mission," said Doug Benzies, Stacker's chief developer. "We're confident that the new 'reluctantly interactive' content engine we designed will prevent any excitement or emotional involvement, inappropriate or otherwise, on the part of the player."

To avoid any appearance of suggestive or adult situations, the graphics consist entirely of rectangular polygons rendered in shades of brown against a simulated gray cinderblock wall. The game is free-roaming inside the warehouse environment, meaning that no goals are set for stacking a certain number of boxes, nor is there a time limit for the stacking. The health-level bar remains at a constant peak, and the first-person perspective avoids the problem of players identifying too closely with the main character, whose name is never specified and to whom nothing actually happens.

While the game, like most other newer entries, has a three-dimensional platform, it features little else that could make an impression on the player.

"We tried to narrow in on anything that could imply suggestive content, and eliminate it," Benzies said. "Sound effects are limited to the barely audible sounds of scraping cardboard, the dull thuds of boxes against cement, and the white noise of a cavernous workplace setting."

A demo version of Stacker was unveiled at the Tokyo Game Show in September and garnered praise from parents' groups who lauded its unstimulating visuals, utter lack of storyline, and non-immersive game play.

<I>Stacker</I>, the first-person cardboard-box-sorter game that parents' groups are applauding.

"After playing Stacker, there is absolutely no reason for anyone to want to take boxes, crates, or any other polygonal object, and place them atop one another, as seen in this gem of a game," said Laura Keitel of the D.C.-based Center For Entertainment And The Family. "No kid in the world could possibly get anything out of it. There's no reason why the video-game industry shouldn't be making a lot more games like this."

Take-Two executives said they were inspired by "real critics."

"We're just giving kids what their parents say they need," said Take-Two vice president of marketing Allyson Spicer. "In today's economic environment, it's foolish not to listen to the people who dislike everything about our products."

Though some have compared Stacker to Tetris, those within the industry have been quick to draw distinctions between the two games.

"Tetris' suggestively twisting and turning blocks, violent falling motions, and increasingly frenzied suspense are a potential influence on children," said video-game ethicist Steve Contreras. "By contrast, after playing Stacker, with its eternally unchanging shapes and gentle lowering actions, I doubt a child would ever want to arrange any sort of virtual block again. This is exactly what this controversial industry needed to rescue its reputation."

Added Contreras: "We could really use a good first-person stander game."

Yet several parents of teenagers who work in warehouses and box factories are already threatening Take-Two with civil lawsuits, claiming that Stacker may adversely affect children of low-income workers.

"My kid certainly doesn't want to stack cases of instant coffee in a hot warehouse all day, like his old man did," said Loretto, PA father Reginald Hauser. "Now they're saying there's a video game that might glamorize the activity. Those video-game honchos are up to the same old tricks."

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