Welcome to the next CHUD List.
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
The CHUD.com Top 50 Guilty Pleasures.
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
Any Which Way You Can
(1980, Dir. Buddy Van Horn)
Why It’s a Guilty Pleasure: Clint Eastwood was already an estimable filmmaker when he lost his mind in the late 1970s and produced Every Which Way But Loose. Starring as Philo Beddoe, a great underground bare-knuckle brawler (the Kimbo Slice of his day, I guess), Eastwood used the film as a means to connect with the country-and-western crowd at the precise time the musical genre was about to peak behind the mainstream efforts of artists like Kenny Rogers and Charlie Daniels. To thoroughly captivate this discerning crowd, Clint did did what anyone else would do: he cast an orangutan as his comedic sidekick.
The result was one of 1978’s biggest hits. Two years later, the obligatory sequel, Any Which Way You Can, was just as big and twice as stupid. Returning all of the integral cast from the original (Eastwood, Geoffrey Lewis, Sondra Locke, Ruth Gordon and, of course, Clyde the orangutan), Any Which Way You Can is a master class in treating your target audience with contempt while entertaining them at the same time. In this case, craft trumps taste, and there’s no finer illustration of this than the elegantly executed tracking shot of Clyde wandering off from one of Beddoe’s clandestinely sanctioned bouts to take a crap in a squad car belonging to an obnoxious police officer. The punch line? The cop sits in it.
As the Jackass gang would illustrate two decades later, there’s nothing funnier than animals taking a dump where they ought not to. While there were monumentally important feces gags before Any Which Way You Can (e.g. Divine eating freshly dropped doggie doo at the end of Pink Flamingos), I’d like to think that Clyde’s errant elimination helped point the way to a brave new era in scatological humor. In any event, Eastwood definitely understood that audiences wanted more Clyde, as the narrative frequently stops cold to allow for some uninspired monkey business (some might prefer Clyde dismantling a car; I’ll go with the musical montage “Orangutang Hall of Fame”).
Speaking of narrative, there’s a half-hearted bit of intrigue involving the Mafia trying to force Philo into a prize fight with an opponent who once killed a man. And the Black Widows biker gang turns up again to cause trouble (and lose their hair). This is a markedly better movie than Every Which Way But Loose, but even the most ardent defenders of Eastwood filmmaking oeuvre have a hard time defending this one.
Signature Moment: What happens when the Black Widows roll up next to the passenger window of Philo’s truck to menace their sworn enemy? “Right turn, Clyde.” Warner Brothers wisely marketed Any Which Way You Can pretty much on this scene alone. I guess the crap-in-the-squad-car gag was just too involved.
What It’s Missing: Ruth Gordon crapping in a squad car?
My Personal Connection to It: I’ll never forget seeing this at the Cinema 1 & 2 in Bowling Green, Ohio on opening night. The house was packed with rowdy rednecks more interested in a fight than a movie. I don’t recall any brawls breaking out in the theater or in the parking lot afterwards, but that probably has a lot to do with my mother hustling us out of the shopping complex as if a tornado were about to touch down.
Watch It With: A sixer of High Life and a bowl of pork rinds. Beers to you, my friend!
– Jeremy Smith
Torque (2004, Dir. Joseph Kahn)
Why It’s a Guilty Pleasure: As we’ve gone through the Guilty Pleasures list so far I’ve found myself reflecting back on just what a guilty pleasure is, and I’ve come to the conclusion that there are all sorts of guilty pleasures: there are the truly awful films that you like for some sort of cheesy reason, there are the sappy chick flicks that make you cry every time. But there’s another category that Torque may inhabit all on its own, and that’s the defiant guilty pleasure.
Yes, I love Torque. Just saying this makes me feel like a patron at the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969 – I am excited to be standing up for my rights and yet more than a little bit ashamed of which rights I’m standing up for. A lot of people don’t understand my unabashed love for Torque, a movie that is like your liquored up retarded cousin at Thanksgiving dinner: shameful but so fucking funny.
The beauty of Torque is that it knows it’s stupid; the film is purposefully the end point of cinematic devolution in many ways, but by the end when motorcycles are going so fast as to set fires in their wake and people engage in cycle-fu, who cares? The film is giddy, gloriously so, and director Joseph Kahn has crafted something strange, special and essentially useless, like a dog that shits tin. Very shiny tin.
Martin Henderson: I live my life a quarter-mile at a time.
Monet Mazur: That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard.
What It’s Missing: The only thing keeping Torque from being perfect is the difference between a PG-13 and an R rating. An R rating would have let Ice Cube be free and perhaps let us see if Monet Mazur’s carpet matches the drapes. I’m tempted to say Torque is missing a good soundtrack, but a movie this dumb needs to have Static-X playing to complete the stupidity.
My Personal Connection to It: I saw Torque in a movie theater in Brooklyn that is now an American Apparel store, sadly enough. The crowd was vocal and very into the movie, and at one point, when some random hottie appeared onscreen, one of the guys in the audience shouted, “Yo, I fucked that bitch one time!” And at that moment the audience was joined together, and it was like we had all fucked that bitch. One time.
Watch It With: Mongoloids, lead poisoned people and connoisseurs of trash cinema.
- Devin Faraci