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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If Someone Wanted To Publish My Blog Entries For Money, I Wouldn't Say No

Let me make one thing clear right off the bat: I started my blog because I needed an outlet for my thoughts and feelings during the 2004 elections, not for the prestige and loyal readership it might bring me. I just needed a personal creative space where I could jot some things down that someone might be able to Google.

Now, if my friends happen to read my blog, great. If they e-mail others about it, fantastic. If people I don't even know check it out—and according to my hit counter, as many as 62 a day have—so much the better. And if, say, Harper's, Rolling Stone, or any other publication ever wanted to publish some of my blog entries for money, I guess that's their prerogative.

My blog is more of a hobby than anything else, something to do for fun when I get home from my bookstore job. I've never dreamed of making a living from it. Though hypothetically speaking, if The New Yorker—a publication that I'm sure pays top dollar—wanted to publish my August 9, 2005 post "Creative Thinking Spots" in its "Shouts And Murmurs" section, I'd consider it. Didn't cross my mind when I wrote that post, and that's certainly not why I wrote it, nor why I have a Google news alert set up for New Yorker  editor David Remnick, but I can understand how someone on their staff might think the piece is a good fit for that section. 

The No. 1 rule of my blog is that there are no rules. I write about everything from movies I've seen to crazy observations that just pop into my head about Starbucks. And sometimes I'll just write, "Had a pretty boring day today," take a picture of myself eating cereal for dinner, and call it a night. It's a web log, people. I'm not striving to be a great essayist, but if by chance some amazing commentary flows out of my keyboard, so be it. I don't write my blog to entertain anyone else, especially not some uptight Esquire editor. But if an Esquire editor is crazy about my work, and wants to run a three-page spread on my hilarious reviews of horrible movies, who am I to dismiss it out of hand?  

If the Old Media bigwigs ever do decide to visit my blog ( they would see it doesn't have that familiar opportunistic "look at me, look at me" feel of so many others. They'd see I'm just a small-town guy, humbly making his way in the big city, who happens to have a lot of unique and humorous outsider perspectives on that experience. For example, I got a few comments (from as far away as Boise!) on how interesting my post was about how in my hometown of Akron everyone is really laid-back, but in New York City, everyone is always on edge. I could see how these types of entries could be adapted into a syndicated column with a title like "Small Town Takes A Bite From Big Apple" that could run in a dozen papers. Though I'm not one to put myself out there and try to initiate these things, I wouldn't turn my nose up at them either.

Some of you are thinking that I'm just a sellout. But the true sellouts are blogs like Daily Kos and Talking Points Memo that blatantly rely on advertising. Sellouts are bandwagon bloggers like my colleague AudreyGrrrl, who recently got written up in Wired as one of the best bloggers under 30. Have I spent the last three and a half years trying to get profiled in Wired? No. Do I think some of my daily musings, such as the times I've blogged about missing the bus, are more interesting than the entries posted by those so called "best bloggers"? Yes. But blogging shouldn't be a competition. It's not about getting published in an anthology with a foreword by David Foster Wallace and going on a 30-stop book tour. I don't need that kind of attention. AudreyGrrrl might, but not me. 

Look, if I wanted to be a "professional" print writer, I could easily do it. Last week I posted a very insightful piece on why Saturday Night Live is emerging from the bleak shadows of the past several years and may be on the cusp of experiencing a renaissance. Nearly three of the seven people who commented on the posting said they could envision the piece being published in the New York Times' Arts & Leisure section. Hey, I didn't say it, they did. And to be honest, by the looks of the section, they could use some new blood over there. Just saying.

I'm not some pathetic, lonely soul who sits in front of his computer refreshing his e-mail in hopes that somebody from HarperCollins, Three Rivers Press, or Random House will offer me a book deal. In fact, to prove how little I'm expecting from the blog career-wise, I'm taking the next few weeks off to focus on my spec script for Two And A Half Men—which I'm doing strictly for the practice, you understand. I could care less if it lands me an agent and a three-movie deal with Paramount.

I'm just doing this for me, after all.

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