The New Year is Here, I Loved “The Fighter,” Advice for Carol Mosley Braun, and Yup, I’m Watching “The Bachelor.”

By: The Dude on the Right

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It’s a New Year, it’s a “Weekend Wrap-Up!” podcast, and Stu Gotz isn’t here because, as it turns out, you can’t really just leave your kids at their school when school is not in session. Alas, I’m flying solo for this podcast, that, for reasons beyond my control, couldn’t get posted until tonight even though I recorded it a few days ago, but during it I give my recap of my New Year’s Eve festivities, my take on Dick Clark, my strange addiction to Janet Davies handling the Chicago countdown, and wouldn’t you know it, I saw some movies!

Yup, the extended weekend allowed me to catch “The Fighter” and really like it, allowed me to watch “The Kids are All Right” and like it, and watch “Wall Street: Money Never Sleep” and play Cityville at the same time.  And in further review, I realize I don’t have “Eat. Pray. Love.” up next on my Netflix queue as I mention in the podcast, so we’ll see how My BFF enjoys something a little different, or hits me with a frying pan.

Also, “The Bachelor” has kicked back in to TV land, and I’m not totally into it, find the vampire girl creepy, and am sad the Palos Hills, IL, girl did not get a rose, but, I’m sure once we get rid of some of the dead weight, I’ll be sucked right back into it!

Hopefully Stu will be back next week where we can recap his holiday travels, recap CES that neither of us attended, talk about movies we want to see, see if Stu agrees with my mayoral advice for Carol Mosley Braun, and maybe he’ll find out if my wife hits me over the head with a frying pan or not for my Netflix selection.

Thanks for listening!

That’s it for this podcast! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 2:13 Long
A Blu-ray Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Movie Stats & Links

Starring: Michael Douglas, Shia LeBeouf, Josh Brolin, Carey Mulligan, Frank Langella
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Kiddie Movie: I don’t think they’ll get it, nor enjoy it.
Date Movie: My wife fell asleep during it.
Gratuitous Sex: I’d like to say it would have helped, but I doubt it.
Gratuitous Violence: Nah.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Nah.
Memorable Scene: Nothing really.
Memorable Quote: None really.
Directed By: Oliver Stone
Cool Things About the Blu-ray The normal audio commentary stuff, conversation with the cast, and stuff that was left on the cutting room floor, among other stuff.

Yes, I will admit that I didn’t see the original “Wall Street,” at least I don’t think I did. I mean, that was 1987, I was just out of high school and wanting to be an engineer, so high finance was the furthest thing from my mind. What I do remember is that Michael Douglas was in it, and he was a bad man, and that is all. Yet here we are, 2011, I no longer want to be an engineer, “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” is here, and as much as I want to be involved in high finance, and after even watching the movie, I think I cared even less about the movie franchise.

I do know that Shia LaBeouf is in this version. He’s Jake, a young whippersnapper on Wall Street, with desires of saving the world by helping a fusion energy source get funded, or something to that effect. He’s also in love, with Winnie (Carey Mulligan), who also happens to be Gordon Gekko’s daughter. Yup, that’s Gordon played again by Michael Douglas. Well, Gordon is getting out of jail for the bad stuff he did in the original movie, I guess, and as the firm Jake works at is on the brink of disaster, and his boss kills himself, Jake decides to enlist the help of Gordon, the old master, to set things right.

Gordon, of course, can’t easily be swayed, and what better way to get Gordon back into the picture than to try to get him and his estranged daughter back together, so there Jake is, trusting a snake like Gordon to help humanity, himself, and his daughter. And yup, you can guess it, Gordon is still up to his old tricks, even in this new, digital age that he isn’t very familiar with, but yup, there is some “awakening” by Gordon thanks to, well, I won’t spoil that.

Look, “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” wants to play off of the market crash we just experienced, wants to have some heart and soul, and seems to want to send some kind of message, only I’m not sure what that message is, other than don’t trust Gordon Gekko. Michaell Dougles is great in his role, but I’m sorry Shia, you’ve’ already been typecast with the “Transformers” seriously so there isn’t any way I’m buying you as the go-getter Wall Street whippersnapper sometimes with a conscience, and sometimes without.

Sadly this movie seems like something just put together like “Hey, the markets collapsed, we need another ‘Wall Street’ movie to explain it all,” and in the end, I pretty much had forgotten most of it by the time the inevitable ending came about. I’ll give Michael Douglas a 3 star performance, dropped the movie some because Shia just is not the person for his role, and drop it a little more for the goofy “technology/internet” montages. With that it’s 2 stars out of 5 for “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” I really wanted more, and just didn’t get it.

The Blu-ray does have some extras that seem interesting enough, namely things like a conversation with Oliver Stone and the rest of the cast, some deleted scenes that are probably best deleted (but at least Oliver Stone might explain why since he also does some commentary for them), and some extra character analysis and Wall Street analysis. I was pretty bored with the movie, so I’m not going to lie and say I watched the extras because I didn’t, but I’m guessing that if you like the movie, well, they will give you some fun insight into the movie-making.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

The A-Team

MPAA Rated – Unrated
It’s 1:59 Long
A Blu-ray Review by:
The Dude on the Right

The A-Team
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Jessica Biel, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Sharlto Copley
MPAA Rated: Unrated Blu-ray
Released By: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Kiddie Movie: Not too young, but the boys will like the explosions.
Date Movie: Only if she likes explosions.
Gratuitous Sex: Mostly talk.
Gratuitous Violence: Lots of it, but on the PG-13 level.
Action: There’s a whole lot of chasing going on.
Laughs: Ehh.
Memorable Scene: Nothing really.
Memorable Quote: None really.
Directed By: Joe Carnahan
Cool Things About the Blu-ray It’s got some extra insight into the characters, how things were made, and some deleted stuff/bloopers that are, ehh.

When I was a kid I loved “The A-Team” and for the longest time I heard about them wanting to make a big-screen movie based on the series, but I figured that as long as there was some fun action, some goofy stunts, and not taking themselves too seriously that things might work out. As the trailers began to come out for the movie I was mildly excited because there seemed to be all of these. Sadly, though, in my assessment of the TV series I forgot about one necessity that made it work, and that was chemistry. In the TV show there was tons of it, carried a lot by Mr. T and George Peppard in the roles of Hannibal and B.A. respectively. Sadly, in the movie, chemistry seemed to have been an afterthought.

As it is, the movie version that hit the theaters and is now out on Blu-ray adapts itself for the 2000’s, shifting our heroes from Vietnam veterans to Gulf War veterans, but instead of diving right into the theme of the TV series, about veterans framed for a crime they didn’t commit and helping others who are innocent, the current version decides to focus on the early days, how the team came together, and the mission that set them up for their being framed. All along it’s just a bunch of explosions, followed by explosions, followed by a thin story, followed by explosions.

As things move along it’s to prison they all go, it’s breaking out of prison they next go, and then it’s to the boys working to track down who originally set them up who might be trying to sell some treasury plates (Hey, we can make money!) to the Arabs. So, of course, there’s this elaborate plan to stop the bad guys, lots of things blow up some more, and our heroes are heroes, only they still aren’t getting the credit, still are considered criminals even though they saved the world economy, and the movie ends setting up a sequel if this one makes enough money.

If you’ll notice, during this synopsis I didn’t mention of the players. I sort of did that on purpose because this version of “The A-Team” focuses more on the explosions and dumb story rather than the players involved, but the thing is, what made the TV series so enjoyable was the players, the interaction, and the chemistry.

For what it’s worth, the main players are Bradley Cooper as “Faceman,” Quinton “Rampage” Jackson as B.A., and Sharlto Copley as Murdock, and, oh yea, I almost forgot Liam Neeson as Hannibal, who I think was the worst of the mis-cast people. Look, I love Liam Neeson as an actor, but for me it always seems like a loner, an stand-off-ish kind of guy, and that seems to translate into the roles he plays. As Hannibal he just wasn’t fun, you didn’t seem him as the Colonel, and I just plain didn’t like him in that role.

As it is, if you want a movie with a lot of things blowing up in a hail of gunfire, go ahead and get “The A-Team,” but for characters with chemistry, with story, with actually caring about them, this isn’t the movie. It’s 2 stars out of 5 for the movie version of “The A-Team.”

As far as the Blu-ray extras, the set actually has an “Extended Untrated Cut” that I didn’t watch because, well, I didn’t really need to see anything else blow up. There is some more detailed explanations of the characters, which is nice, and I’m always liking seeing how various action scenes are done, so that is nice, too.

American Idol is Coming, Sex and the City 2 Sucks, The A-Team Sucks Less, and Happy New Year!

By: The Dude on the Right

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With Stu Gotz out playing with his family it’s time for a solo “Weekend Wrap-Up!” podcast, and what better weekend to wrap up than Christmas weekend!  Yup, mine was nice, what with my new wife and all, but it was also nice because it was a time to be with my new family, the Chicago Bears won, and it brings us a little closer to the 2011 season of “American Idol.” (How’s that for a brief summary of topics included in this podcast?!?)

With the weekend also came movies, and although My BFF Wifey and I didn’t go to see “Little Fockers” due to my grumpiness, we did see “Sex and the City 2,” and as much as I couldn’t believe how bad that movie was, I was as much shocked that my BFF thought it totally sucked, only saying it might be deserving of ½ star in total suckiness.  She found it flabbergasting, okay, maybe not flabbergasting, but just wondered how those involved in the franchise that has been so successful could make the movie so bad.  Oh well.

In other movie news I saw “The A-Team” on Blu-ray, and although my full review will be coming later this week, during the podcast I let you know if you should rent it.  I guess I’ll just tease things with “There’s a lot of action.”

Stu should be back next week for a recap of his time off, maybe a reflective look back at a busy year, and maybe a look ahead at what 2011 may have in store.  That, or he’ll just talk about “Burn Notice” and “Psych” some more.

Thanks for listening!

That’s it for this podcast! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

Bells v Founders, Taft v Skilling, Bears v Patriots, and What’s a Snapback Cap?

By: The Dude on the Right

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With the weather here in Chicago not nearly as bad as it is in Indiana, Stu Gotz and I were easily able to record this episode of our “Weekend Wrap-Up!” podcast, and I tell Stu who won, in my opinion, in the battle between Jerry Taft v. Tom Skilling and their respective” last weekend” forecasts. Here’s a hint – I’m fascinated by Mr. Skilling’s weather maps, but I’m a bigger fan of The Taftman! Stu, meanwhile, had his own battle to report on, one that left him a little tipsy, a battle of beer as it would be, specifically a couple of Michigan brews, Bells v. Founders. We also discuss some box office battling that was done over the weekend, but with the crappy weather here in Chicago, we can’t really comment if any of the movies were andy good or not because we didn’t see them. Stu, however, was able to catch an Indiana Jones’ Marathon on cable, and oddly enough likes the scene with Indy, the nuclear blast, and a refrigerator.

With Christmas coming we do talk a bit about the season of gift giving, and I have to hip Stu to what a snapback hat is, made famous now thanks to the likes of Tyga and Chris Brown. We also talk a bit about movies coming out this weekend, but more about a movie coming out next summer, “Cowboys & Aliens,” with hit director Jon Favreau.

Stu won’t be around for next week’s podcast so if you might want to be a guest podcaster, feel free to shoot me an e-mail or comment, and, as always, thanks for listening!

I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

A Boatload of Meat, Hawaii Five-0 No Go, Chicago Bear Talk, and A New Facebook, sort of.

By: The Dude on the Right

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A nice weekend at a restaraurant called Texas de Brazil brought Stu Gotz and I together over the weekend, so for this “Weekend Wrap-Up!” podcast there is talk about a lot of meat, a good meal, and a nice time with old friends! Eating, however, wasn’t all we did over the weekend, as both of us got to experience Santa Claus and his magical ability to be in many places at nearly the same time!

And as weekends go, neither of us did much movie watching, and aren’t really sure if we will catch “The Tourist” this weekend, but we both agree that it might be time to put a fork in “The Chronicles of Narnia” series as neither of us have any desire to see the new version coming out and feel it is done. As TV goes, I’m still a fan of this year’s “The Apprentice” and look forward to it’s finale, I can’t believe people quit on “Survivor,” and Stu says that Mama Gotz is pretty much done with the re-make of “Hawaii Five-0.”

We disect another Chicago Bears’ win, although it might take a win over the New England Patriots next weekend for Stu to finally jump on the bandwagon; Stu doesn’t want to call the old Marshall Field’s store, Macy’s; and I’m not a fan of the new Facebook design because it impeeds my trolling for cool stuff as I play Cityville while Stu did change his profile picture to a cartoon character from his youth because, well, Facebook, or rather some meaningless person on Facebook, told him to.

As always, thanks for listening! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

MPAA Rated – PG
It’s 1:49 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina
MPAA Rated: PG
Released By: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Kiddie Movie: Not too young, and probably better for the closer-to-teen-group.
Date Movie: My BFF liked it, so go ahead and snuggle.
Gratuitous Sex: Nah.
Gratuitous Violence: Lots of flying lightning bolts.
Action: There is some chasing.
Laughs: Quite a few chuckles.
Memorable Scene: I like anything with Tesla coils.
Memorable Quote: Nothing really.
Directed By: Jon Turteltaub

The good that I liked about “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice:” I like Nicolas Cage in that kind of role, and the effects were great.

The not-so-great-but-not-really-bad about “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice:” I didn’t think Jay Baruchel was a good fit for the role of Dave, a.k.a. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and neither did my buddy Stu Gotz who saw the movie in the theater, and neither did my BFF, who thought that he seemed like a young Garry Shandling, which normally isn’t a bad thing, just not for this role.

So let’s get to the movie first…

In “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” we get Nicolas Cage as Balthazar. In the old days, namely back in the 700’s, he’s an apprentice of the great wizard, Merlin, along with a few others. He’s also in love with Veronica (Monica Bellucci). But there is badness in wizard world, and Morgana (Alice Krige) goes after Merlin and wants to take over the world, but Balthazar and Veronica won’t have any of it, and in order to save humanity Veronica sacrifices herself and ends up in a jar, trapped for eternity with the soul of Morgana, or something like that. In any case, on his deathbed, or deathfloor I guess it really was, Merlin gives Balthazar a little dragon and tells Balth that the dragon will tell Balth who will be the next wizard person who can finally defeat Morgana, at which time it will be safe to let Morgana out because the chosen one has been found.

Enter almost present day… and here’s Dave as a young boy, having the little boy hots for a young girl, Becky, and a note back from Becky leads Dave on a wild good chase to Balthazar’s shop, and his destiny, only an accident gives him the reputation as a boy who pees his pants.

Enter present day… Dave’s back! Balthazar and some other magician/wizard type dude, Maxim (Alfred Molina), are let out of the vase they stuck themselves in (it makes sense in the context of the movie), Balthazar convinces Dave that Dave is the apprentice and they must find the jar his love is trapped in, in order to save the world, and Maxim also wants the jar so that he can let out Morgana and us mere mortals of human-kind can suffer at the will of Morgana. Whew.

And so, along the way, there is much peril as Maxim tries to get the jar, beat up Balthazar, and kill Dave, there is also some love as Dave still has the hots for Becky and Balthazar has the hots for his love stuck in the jar, and there is a lot of cool training and effects as, well, this is a movie about a Sorcerer’s apprentice which lends itself to things flying and lightning bolts sparking.

In terms of movies, I thought “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” was a good movie, especially for the getting-a-little-older kid crowd. It had excitement, it had a little bit of love, it had great effects, and I love Nicolas Cage in that kind of role. The only problem I did have, and sorry Jay, but Jay Baruchel as Dave didn’t seem like a good fit for the role. I wish I great reason why, but unfortunately the only thing I have to go with was in talking with my BFF while we were watching the movie and saying I didn’t like the kid playing Dave, to which she agreed and said he seemed like a young Garry Shandling. Oh well. It’s still 3 ½ stars out of 5 for “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.” A really good rental for the almost teens and teen crowd, and even for the geeky adults!

As far as the Blu-ray special stuff goes, there is a ton of “making of” bonus features, from the clothing to the car, as well as trying to link he science involved with some of the movie. As usual the deleted scenes were fine being deleted, and I’ve got to think there were better bloopers, but the montage feature was pretty lame. But the Blu-ray more for the fact that the movie looks great in Blu-ray, unless you are really a geeky fan, in which case some of the “making of” stuff will cause you to go back and re-watch for true geekiness!

3 ½ stars out of 5 for “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” it look great on Blu-ray, and for the fan there are enough “making of” stuff to make them happy as well.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

Turkey Day is Over, Good and Bad Movies, RIP Leslie Nielsen, and Decorating for Christmas

By: The Dude on the Right

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We survived! Yup, Stu Gotz and I survived our repsective Thanksgivings and during this episode of our “Weekend Wrap-Up!” podcast we tell you how. Part of my surviving was just rolling with the weekend and relaxing, and for me relaxing meant watching some movies, or at least a movie, and the Chicago Bears. Yup, I got to see “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” with My BFF, and while we both liked the movie, we didn’t like the apprentice actor. I also got to watch the Bears beat the Philadelphia Eagles – Super Bowl here we come! Stu, meanwhile, still can’t figure out who thought “The Last Airbender” would be a good movie, let alone sell Airbender stuff, but there Stu was, not liking “The Last Airbender,” and not liking “Eat. Pray. Love.” that much, either.

And with Thanksgiving also comes Christmas decorating, and Stu and I give our advice on how to survive that escapade as well. Leslie Nielsen died and both of us are sad, both of us highly recommend using the internet for your Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or all-in-all not getting in a fight at the big box store line shopping, and Stu thinks I should watch Bridalplasty.

And lastly, we both got to meet our biggest fan recently, so here we are! Lord knows what I’m looking at, but at least Stu knew which way the camera was and wasn’t trying to look down her shirt.

And finally, as always, thanks for listening! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

The Sound of Music – 45th Anniversary Edition

MPAA Rated – G
It’s 2:55 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

The Sound of Music
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer
MPAA Rated: G
Released By: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Kiddie Movie: Good for the whole family!
Date Movie: Unless she likes lots of violence and nudity.
Gratuitous Sex: Nope.
Gratuitous Violence: Hinted.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Some chuckles.
Memorable Scene: Yes, you can sing-a-long to everything.
Memorable Quote: Nothing stands out.
Directed By: Roger Wise

Generally I’m not a fan of Blu-ray extras. Why? Because many a time they are useless add-ons, too complicated to play, or just seem like they are put there to make you feel better for spending extra bucks. This is definitely not the case with the 45th Anniversary Edition of “The Sound of Music” because, for a change, I thought they were a great addition, a real reason to upgrade to the Blu-ray generation if you’ve been waiting to do so, and the movie looks great, too.

I don’t know if I really have to explain the story of “The Sound of Music,” but the basic of this classic is simply that it tells the adapted for stage and screen story of the Von Trapp family, living their lives in Austria at the time Hitler is starting his rise. Maria (Julie Andres) ends up out of the convent and at the household to take care of the Von Trapp children while Dad Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer) attends to his Captain duties. Meanwhile, the good Captain is sweet on The Baroness (Eleanor Parker). While Maria works on taming the children and helping them learn to sing, she falls for the Captain, the Captain falls for her, the children love Maria, they become a family, and Hitler becomes a monster (though we don’t really see this part).

Torn between his duty and his family, we know how the good Captain wants to live his life, the Von Trapp singers woo a crowd, and freedom is right across the mountains.

Look, everyone knows this classic, even me, now, as for years I had never seen the movie in its entirety until I met my BFF (She loves the movie – and rightly so), and yes, even I think it’s a classic. Any other release of this movie would just lend itself to a “Yup, it’s a classic, go ahead and get the disc so you can watch it whenever the feeling strikes you,” but this Blu-ray release lends itself to, if you are any kind of fan of “The Sound of Music,” to full-blown Blu-rayness. For one, combine the Blu-ray player with your way-cool big screen that you are getting this Christmas, and this movie just looks great. It’s a scenic masterpiece to begin with, so put those aspects together and you’ll love the movie even more.

Along with its looking good-ness, the Blu-ray extras don’t stop there. Nope, you also get a sing-a-long track – adding the lyrics to all of the songs as the movie plays (Sure, you may think you know all of the words, but give it a shot!), a trivia track that gives you lots of little tidbits about the movie and the people involved, and some fun photos from while the movie was being made. Then, if that isn’t enough, there is a second Blu-ray disc with even more, like a very detailed “Making of” which also talks about the stage version, and also a nice feature on the Von Trapp family. Here is also where you will find more stuff about Rodgers and Hammerstein, screen tests, and more.

And yes, I know there is a basic DVD for those of you who still have one of those, so that’s nice, and it does give you some sing-a-long goodness along with some more, but for full 5 star out of 5-ness, the Blu-ray with your widescreen TV is really the way to go for this bundle.

And finally, for the uber-fan, the Collector’s Set gives you all of the DVD’s, but also the soundtrack, a 100 page scrapbook, a reproduction of the 1965 Souvenir program, and a letter of authenticity so you can bag to your “The Sound of Music” friends.

Look, in any case, if you have ever found yourself singing “The hills are alive, with the sound of music,” even in jest, this 45th Anniversary edition finally does a special release right by giving you tons of extras that you might actually watch, but most importantly, giving you a great looking version of the movie that yes, instead of renting, if you are a fan, you should really buy it.

I know I sound like a commercial, but for a change I really like a Blu-ray set, liked all of the extras even if I’m not an uber-fan of the movie, and think this release is really worth it for movie history.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

Living The Hangover, Harry Potter, Oprah Gives Away Stuff, Getting Felt Up, and Who’s The Dancing Star?

By: The Dude on the Right

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Neither Stu Gotz nor I were in the audience for Oprah’s favorite things, but during this episode of our “Weekend Wrap-Up!” podcast, we both agree that we wish were in the second group because really, if the choice is between a cruise and a car, we’re taking the car. But Oprah leaving us soon aside, Stu survived his weekend in Las Vegas, and a hangover, and I’m just worried about a lot of TV.

Yup, I’m wondering if “American Idol” can survive if it moves from Tuesday and Wednesday to Wednesday and Thursday, and I’m also wondering if Bristol Palin has the voting public to ruin Jennifer Gray’s night. Stu, meanwhile, remembered he didn’t like “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” that much, or at least the apprentice dude, and isn’t a fan of “Ramona and Beezus.” I laughed when I saw the WGN morning news folks miss seeing the bridge blow up, Stu is sort of indifferent about “Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows,” and wouldn’t you know it, Saturday Night Live was funny, or at least a couple of skits.

Turkey day is coming, so we’re also wishing a Happy Thanksgiving to you, yours, and others!

And as always, thanks for listening! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!