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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

Even Though I'd Never Seen Major League, I Found Major League II Surprisingly Easy To Follow

Whew, what a relief. I hate when I can't follow a film, and I was afraid it'd happen again Friday night. But, to my delight, I was able to fully understand and enjoy Major League II, despite the fact that I'd never seen the original.

After a long, hard week of work at Apex Driving School, I decided to kick back on the couch and treat myself to a night of television-watching. After ordering a pizza, I started flipping through my TV Guide, hoping to find something good. But as hard as I looked, nothing really seemed up my alley: There were the Daytime Emmy Awards on ABC, some boring old musical on TNT, and four straight Saturday Night Live reruns on Comedy Central.

There was, admittedly, Major League II on Cinemax. But despite my love of baseball, I fretted that I'd likely be lost in the plot, not having seen the 1989 original.

Sure, I could've bravely forayed into the 1994 Sheen-Berenger vehicle, but what if every other line of dialogue referred obliquely to something from the original film, making it impossible for me to follow the plot? I certainly didn't want to relive my Mannequin 2 debacle of 1991. On the other hand, I needed something to watch, and I needed to make a fast decision before my pizza got cold. Besides, maybe I'd get lucky, and Major League II would open with a montage of clips from the original, a device many of the better sequels employ to help viewers "get in the spirit" of the original film.

After a few moments of deliberation, I resolved–not without some trepidation, mind you–to commit to the 8:10 p.m. showing of Major League II on Cinemax.

I needn't have worried! The film opened with a concise rundown of the major characters from Episode I, cunningly presented as "Indians talk" on a Bob Uecker-hosted sports-radio show! Uecker was not playing himself, though: He was Harry Doyle, a character who, from what I could gather, figured heavily in the first installment, as well.

At any rate, the opening recap, helpful as it was, was almost unnecessary: The movie's characters were so real, so richly textured, I instantly felt like I knew them. It was clear what was going on right from the get-go. In the previous season, the Cleveland Indians had rallied from being a rag-tag bunch of losers to winning the pennant. Episode II picks up at the start of the following season, with old pals reunited and ready for more good times. But an ominous question looms over their heads: Has success changed them?

I am sad to say that the answer was a resounding yes. No one illustrated this complacent, fat-cat mentality better than Charlie Sheen's Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn, who arrives for the first day of spring training in a limousine. Now, since I'd never seen this character before, you're probably thinking, "But, Don, how do you know it's a change? He might have ridden in a limousine throughout the first movie!"

In this scene, the screenwriters clearly took pains to anticipate any potential confusion on the part of those who didn't see the first film. Wild Thing's fans are all waiting for him to show up to spring training, and when a guy rolls up on a bad-ass motorcycle, they justifiably assume it's him. But, as it turns out, it's someone else, and the fans are all surprised. This surprised reaction is not merely funny; it gives the uninitiated a solid idea of what they're supposed to expect from Wild Thing. So when Wild Thing steps out of the limo in a suit and yuppie haircut, and the fans are disappointed and confused, we instantly recognize that a profound change has occurred in this character's life, whether or not we saw the first movie!

Needless to say, I am now hooked on the Major League franchise. In fact, when I was at Suncoast Motion Picture Company the next day, I made a point of picking up a copy of the prequel. Even better, they had a marked-down copy of the third installment, 1998's Major League–Episode III: Back To The Minors. I watched it that night and loved it, even though Wild Thing and a lot of the other central characters from the first two movies weren't even in it.

My best advice to the uninitiated would be to see the Major League movies in order. But if you can't, don't worry: Each movie truly does stand on its own.

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