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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I Must Take Issue With Entertainment Weekly's C-Plus Grade For The DVD Release Of The Patriot

I usually enjoy Entertainment Weekly a great deal, devouring everything from Jim Mullen's Hot Sheet to the Gimme Shelter profiles of on-the-market celebrity homes to the always cheeky CyberDigest column. And, as a rule, I trust the magazine's reviews, confident that if Ken Tucker says the new CBS show The Fugitive is an A-minus, it's an A-minus. I must, however, take strong issue with the C-plus grade for the DVD release of The Patriot.

While I concede that The Patriot had its flaws, it hardly deserves the pitiful C-plus rating the usually reliable Ty Burr mystifyingly chose to bestow upon it. In dismissing The Patriot as a "revolutionary ruckus," Burr willfully ignores all that was worthwhile about this Revolutionary War epic, including the kinetic, vibrantly directed battle scenes that put moviegoers mere inches from the Redcoats. And Aussie heartthrob Heath Ledger's (10 Things I Hate About You) star-making performance as Mel Gibson's (Braveheart) eager-to-fight teenage son. And the numerous extra goodies on the DVD, including director Roland Emmerich's (Independence Day) surprisingly illuminating commentary track.

I'm not saying the movie deserved an A. Or even a B-plus, for that matter. The Patriot is rife with historical inaccuracies, and the German-born Emmerich's grasp of the colonial political climate of 1776 is tenuous at best. But don't you think at least a B would have been in order? Is this really the sort of movie that would cause one to muse that "the narrative breakthroughs of Saving Private Ryan... have been swallowed by the mainstream and digested into pap"? Apparently so, provided your name is Ty Burr.

I don't know what was going on over there at the EW offices this week, but something was definitely off. I mean, rating Fatboy Slim's new single "Ya Mama" a C? Giving a B to the WB fansite Doling out a C-minus for Keri Russell's delightful new hairdo? None of these, however, got my goat quite like the C-plus for The Patriot.

Then there's the not-so-small matter of the title of the review. "Soldier Ploy"? Upon what, pray tell, is that supposed to be a pun? When The Patriot first hit theaters, EW cleverly titled its review "Revolutionary Bore." You may have disagreed with that assessment (I certainly did), but there's no denying that it's a clear, direct play on "Revolutionary War." But "Soldier Ploy"? What's that? My only guess is that it's a play on "Soldier Boy." Should that be the case, such punnery would have to be regarded as a stretch, to be kind.

The only aspect of The Patriot review that was dead-on was the caption accompanying the photo of Gibson as lead character Benjamin Martin. The movie is, indeed, "all about the Benjamin." Gibson is in top form throughout, virtually exploding off the screen with brooding, musket-wielding bravado. But one good photo caption is not much to recommend about an entire review.

To prove that injustice was, indeed, served by Mr. Burr, we need only look at the "What We Said Then" addendum which follows "Soldier Ploy." The addendum, a paragraph-long distillation of Owen Gleiberman's June 30 review of The Patriot, concludes with his original grade for the film: B-minus. The grade is a far more accurate appraisal of the movie's worth. For some reason, though, four months later, the magazine's editors made a cowardly retreat from Glieberman's more Patriot-friendly stance, docking the film a notch. They say hindsight is 20/20, but in Entertainment Weekly's case, it seems to be more like 20/80.

I'd give Ty Burr's review a C-minus. No, make that a D-plus.

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