Welcome to the next CHUD List.

We’ve
tackled our our disappointments, our essentials list and slowly exhumed
our Kills List from 2003, and now that we’ve begun the beguine, we must
continue. Behold:

The CHUD.com Top 50 Guilty Pleasures.

We’ve
all got those little flicks that we know are wrong, but feel so right.
And after our preceding list of disappointment, we decided to cleanse
the palate by honoring our favorite guilty pleasures. These are films
that are flawed and often completely indefensible, but we can’t help but
love them anyway. As before, from a master list of over 100, the
involved parties (Devin, Jeremy, Micah, Russ, and Nick) all killed
off a choice for each one we claimed. As a result, we’ll run a big list
at the end of this of the ‘ones that got away’. So, here are the Top 50
Guilty Pleasures. Two a day, every week day for five weeks. In no
particular order:

 #40

Mallrats
(1995, Dir. Kevin Smith)




Why It’s a Guilty Pleasure: There
are movies on this list that some people would be embarrassed to show to
friends; this is the movie I’m embarrassed to tell myself I enjoy. I’m serious
— every time I see Mallrats a significant portion of my psyche rebels utterly.
Maybe it’s because I recognize too much of myself in the subhuman losers that populate
the film, and yet I still never got to nail Joey Lauren Adams.

Instead
of pushing off from the critical success of Clerks, Kevin Smith made a film
that proved he might actually be the voice of a generation, if Generation X was
the lazy, unmotivated bunch of bums some claimed it to be. The characters in
Mallrats occupy some neutral zone between junior high and college, and instead
of the relatively accurate, if exaggerated dialogue of his debut, they all spew
the verbose fantasties and monologues which would later be proven as
Smith’s de facto m.o. The only time the dialogue works this time is during the game show finale, where I have to admit it’s actually funny as hell, even if Jason Lee’s jabs at Brian O’Halloran amount to shooting fish in a barrel. “I should know — we can smell our own,” gets me every time.

And
yet there’s a core of geek love, from the opening comic book parody covers
(which are, Mike Allred’s aside, uniformly weak) to the superheroic and
jedi-like antics of Silent Bob. Michael Rooker brings some legit cred while Ben
Affleck plays true to type, or so we all assumed. At it’s best Mallrats is sort
of a vulgar Warner Brothers cartoon, and since that was obviously the point I
have to give Smith credit for achieving something with this vapid definition of
the sophomore slump.

And
for the record, part of my soul dies with every line Jason Mews speaks, and yet
I giggle when he flashes the devil horns as he and Silent Bob Batman themselves
away from the security force. This movie makes me hate myself, and still I
continue to watch.

Signature Moment: Jason
Lee getting Michael Rooker to take the stinkpalm and ingest an ass-polluted
treat before Rooker gets his own revenge, courtesy of the mall’s over-competent
security guard.

What It’s Missing: Style
and ambition. If anything, this is a step back from Clerks. Mallrats is
arguably the antithesis of cinematic style and craftsmanship. It’s created with
enough energy to rival the best high school plays. Ironically the only scene in
the film that feels like it comes from a real movie is Brodie’s conversation
with Stan Lee, which is also Lee’s one movie appearance that doesn’t feel
egregious and, well, bullshit. Guys can make chick flicks, too, as long as the
guy who created the X-Men is on deck to talk truth.

My Personal Connection to It: Clerks
was my first and last endeavor with a Kevin Smith film in the theater, and
Mallrats came out at a time when I was 100% broke and was only going to see
films that were important to me. So I saw it on video years later through a roommate
who was always driven into gales of laughter by the fact that Brodie wakes up
and unpauses his game. Me, I just thought that was how everyone rolled. And
thanks to Jason Lee, I was hooked.

Watch It With: Apologists

Russ Fischer


http://chud.com/nextraimages/mobsterCHUD.jpg#39

Mobsters (1991, Dir. Michael Karbelnikoff)

Why It’s A Guilty Pleasure:
It’s such a hammy debacle of overcooked accents, Ragu-caliber authenticity in terms of ethnic casting, and silly plotting that you can’t help but enjoy it…assuming you never paid a cent to see this, that is. Starting with the couldn’t-be-more-inappropriate casting of Christian Slater as Lucky Luciano (who apparently didn’t get the “Try a horrible New Yaaaawk/faux-Italian accent, willya?” memo the rest of the cast did and instead just recycles his Diet Jack Nicholson schtick), the film chronicles the rise of a street urchin and his similarly notorious pals as they try to establish themselves as top dog criminals in a city run by two competing bosses (Anthony Quinn and Michael Gambon, each of whom should’ve been throwing up scenery between takes).

This is also probably as close as Robert Z’Dar (playing a thug notable only for his scene where he pummels a bound Slater into mincemeat as he gets in touch with his inner Olive Garden and wheezes out gems like “Charlie…Charlie…tough little bambino, eh?….”) ever got to mainstream success.

Signature Moment: Nicholas Sadler’s Mad Dog Coll decides to get a jump on abstract expressionism, and with an unwilling Lara Flynn Boyle and a hand cannon as his brush, he paints a masterpiece on the wall of her hotel room using her innards. You thought the dame was making it out of this movie? You thought wrong!

What’s it Missing:
Anything vaguely original.

My Personal Connection To It:
It’s one of my TV staples, and that’s because of the fact that despite being a supposedly violent gangster film, it plays exactly the same if you watch it on basic cable as it does on pay cable. It even has commercial break-like transitions built in. Oddly, the director went on to do…his taxes.

Watch it With:
People who like safe, sappy depictions of mob wars. Richard Grieco. Seriously, he’ll show up in person if you give him 48 hours notice.

- Micah Robinson