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!!!

Stu Needs a Keg Fridge, Good and Bad Movies, Bears in the Super Bowl, and Did Blossom Ever Get Naked?

By: The Dude on the Right

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As Stu Gotz and I eagerly await what Apple has up their sleeve with their cryptic announcement of “Tomorrow is just another day. That you’ll never forget.”, to be, well, announced tomorrow at 10AM EST, (I’m guessing it’s The Beatles catalog, just in time for the Holidays, or streaming TV, or cloud based iTunes, or free iPhones to the people who send the most e-mails to Bill Gates telling him to buy an iPhone, but that’s just my guesses), we get back to pondering more important things, like our respective weekends which means it’s time for another podcast episode of Stu & The Dude’s Weekend Wrap-Up!

Me, I saw the movie “Unstoppable” and actually liked it, and I tell Stu why. Stu, he saw “Megamind” and actually didn’t like it, and Stu tells me why. We reminisce about a keg fridge and the scariness of getting some CO2, Stu tries to calm my hopes that the Chicago Bears will be going to the Super Bowl, and did you know that “Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows” opens this weekend?

Stu is liking the Blossom girl (Mayim Bialik) on “The Big Bang Theory” and wonders if she ever got naked, I had some alone time from my BFF, Stu knows a lot about tee-pees, and wouldn’t you know it, “Burn Notice” and “Psych” are back, much to the delight of Stu.

Thanks for listening! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!


MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:39 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: 11/12/2010
Kiddie Movie: Not too you, they might not like trains anymore.
Date Movie: She might get suspenseful and snuggle.
Gratuitous Sex: None.
Gratuitous Violence: Things get run over by the train.
Action: It’s mostly a thriller and suspense film rather than action, although it still is action.
Laughs: There are a couple of one-liners to make you chuckle.
Memorable Scene: Frank and Will getting to know each other in the train.
Memorable Quote: Oh my God! Galvin, you asshole!
Directed By: Tony Scott
Produced By: Julie Yorn, Tony Scott, Mimi Rogers, Eric McLeod, Alex Young

I saw the trailer for “Unstoppable.” Yup, there he was, Denzel, in all of his Denzellness, as a train engineer, and there it was, a train, with no one at the controls, set on a collision course for releasing toxic stuff into a large town. Yup, I also get it, there’s a newbie involved, in this case Captain Kirk, I mean Chris Pine, and somehow they will save the town, and maybe one of them might die. And finally, yup, I thought, “How exciting can this movie be? “ As it would be, I had no desire to really see this movie, but when my BFF had something to do and I had some free time, the choice was “Unstoppable” and Denzel or “Morning Glory” and Harrison (Ford that is). I can’t really say anything about the romantic comedy movie, but I will say that “Unstoppable” was a thrilling movie, my fingernails are bitten, and simply, “Who knew?”

The plot is simple: Two oafs in the rail yard don’t follow protocol and one of the trains ends up rolling down the track with no one in the cab to stop it, and, oh yea, the safety mechanism off because of our oafs. As Rosario Dawson tries to figure out what is going on (she plays the rail yard manager), she also finds out that there is volatile liquid being transported and a rather large Pennsylvania town in its path. Meanwhile, Will (Pine) and Frank (Washington), find themselves on a different train, with Will being the newbie, being trained by Frank (Who knew there was so much to learn about driving a train, but the movie shows that a hell of a lot goes into being an engineer instead of just hanging out in that cab, tooting the horn, and waving at traffic stopped at the crossing?). As luck would have it for the town, Frank’s train is on the same track as the rogue train, and, oh why am I bothering telling you any of the plot?

Look, for a fun time at the movie, and a movie that is pretty much non-stop in thrilldom and excitement, you can fare a lot worse than “Unstoppable.” Tony Scott keeps the action going at a nice pace, and in a weird way, what really makes this movie work is the cinematography, which nicely builds the suspense of the movie from start to finish. I mean, we pretty much know how things are going to turn out from the minute our oafs screw up by not hitching the air brakes, about the only question would be if any of our stars bite the dust. There is enough back-story to make you interested in the characters just enough, you can find yourself despising the corporate morons, and sure, there is some unbelievability and over-the-top-ed-ness about the film, but in the end you can sit back, relax, and know that the town is safe because Denzel is at the helm!

So, for a nice thrill ride during an evening at the theater, and I know this sounds weird, but go ahead and see a movie about a train. “Unstoppable was fun, Denzel and Chris had great rapport, I nibbled my fingernails off even though I knew the basic ending, and it’s 4 stars out of 5 for “Unstoppable.” Yes, I couldn’t believe it myself that it was that much fun.

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

Due Date

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:40 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Due Date
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Zach Galifianakis, Michelle Monaghan, Jamie Foxx, Juliette Lewis
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Warner Bros.
Release Date: November 5, 2010
Kiddie Movie: Oh no, please leave them at home.
Date Movie: My BFF liked it – yours might, too.
Gratuitous Sex: “Sort of” is probably the best way to put it.
Gratuitous Violence: Slapstick, and a gunshot.
Action: There’s some chasing by the Mexican border police.
Laughs: Lots of them, and many that hit you out of thin air.
Memorable Scene: I would say either the scene with the little kid, or the scene with the dog.
Memorable Quote: Too many to list.
Directed By: Todd Phillips

There was an instant comparison to “The Hangover” when “Due Date” was going to be released, mostly because the commercials for the movie stated something like “From the people who brought you ‘The Hangover,” but let me say this, even thought “Due Date” is a funny movie, unlike “The Hangover,” which, in the stretches of your mind you can actually, almost believe, most everything that happened could happen, there are a number of scenes in “Due Date” where even I couldn’t suspend reality, and for that “Due Date” is no “The Hangover.”

That said, it is funny.

Let’s get to the story…

Robert Downey Jr. is Peter. He’s a business traveler with the good looking wife Sarah (Michelle Monaghan), and they live in Los Angeles. There he is, away on a trip to Atlanta, or somewhere thereabouts, and Sarah is pregnant, ready to pop as it would be, and he’s looking forward to coming home to be there at the birth of their child. He makes his way to the airport when who does he run in to? Well, it’s Ethan (Zach Galifianakis). Ethan is quite the character, on his way to Hollywood, and through a comedy of errors, yup, Peter is booted from his flight, has no ID, and who comes to his aid? Well, it’s Ethan, again. Yup, it’s part Ethan’s fault for Peter’s trouble, Ethan feels a tad guilty (or maybe he just wants a friend), and our two polar opposites are now on a cross-country drive to the wonderful west coast.

So, sure, along the way, since this is a comedy after all, there are a lot of hilarities ensuing, maybe some drug use, and Mexican cops who are anything but clean. We find out a lot about Ethan, especially since in the world of Chatty Charlie’s he’s right up there with the best of them, and Peter really just wants to get to L.A. and sometimes his temper gets in the way.

Yup, it’s a buddy movie, and the other comparison people are making is to “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles,” only this movie doesn’t have any pillows (Thinking about it, it almost would have been a nice little tribute by the movie makers to make a nod to that scene, but hey, that’s just me), instead we get Jamie Foxx as Darryl, who may or may not be the father of Sarah’s child, we get Juliette Lewis who is a pretty funny pot dealer, and we get a scene where probably each and every one of us would like to “discipline” a child in the manner Peter does, only we know we would probably end up in jail.

I really liked “Due Date,” and really don’t want to give away any of the jokes because when they hit they usually come out of left field, and are better left to be served up in the moment, but the one scene I will ruin, and it’s the scene that took me out of the movie, was when Peter gets arrested by some Mexican border police dudes, and then Ethan steals not only the border police vehicle, but also is able to hitch up the trailer the police are keeping Peter in, and bring Peter along for the ride. This is the scene that, for me, took all plausibility of the movie out of reality (Okay, it wasn’t the only scene,) although, I will state, that a number of people in the theater did find the ensuing police chase funny.

In the end “Due Date” made me laugh, and made me laugh hard at times. There were some slow moments, maybe things got a little too serious at times, but for the scenes where Peter disciplines the child, and that dog, I have to recommend “Due Date.” And mucho credit to the duo of Downey Jr and Galifianakis because they really pulled off the “buddy” comedy well, thus putting Robert Downey Jr. up there, in my book, as the world’s second greatest actor. (Michael Keaton will always be the first). I liked it, my BFF liked it, and for a fun, adult trip to the movies, I says it’s a 3 1/2 star flick out of 5.

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