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
(1993, Dir. Marco Brambilla)
Why It’s a Guilty Pleasure: Somebody happened to vaguely remember reading Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and decided we needed a movie version.
With lots of product placement.
And shit blowing up.
And Grand L. Bush.
Seeing the finished product of Demolition Man, it’s hard to argue with that brilliant strategy. As directed by Marco Brambilla of….oh, right…no fame whatsoever, this Stallone vehicle works on so many different levels. First, Sly finally gets an equal onscreen in the form of Wesley Snipes’ Simon Phoenix. He’s cock-D, does great fight scenes, and he’s also vertically-challenged. And where Stallone’s John Spartan is a monosyllabic slab, Phoenix is a chatty and charismatic day-glo villain that never gets old. They’re one of the great onscreen pairings.
Beyond that, the film is one of the last great blasts of late 80s/early 90s action, wherein quips were plentiful, people could run away from fireballs without irony, and lots of bullets were fired, but no one important got hit until the movie’s final reels. And as the carnage erupts between Sly and Snipes, the supporting cast here steps up to keep things nice including a silly Sandra Bullock, Bill Cobbs and Grand L. Bush playing the same person (Amiable, but Useless Black Supporting Character, in case you were wondering), and a mercifully brief comic relief supporting turn from Rob Schneider. The only real weak spot comes in the form of Denis Leary, who basically does his standup schtick at the time here almost verbatim and adds very little to the proceedings. In fact, this is a film in which Rob Schneider was funnier than Denis Leary.
Fuck, this is a film in which Rob Schneider was not the least funny person onscreen. That’s kinda special.
The movie has been overexposed thanks to hourly showings on TNT and TBS (Speaking of films airing on Turner stations, what the hell is up with them speeding up films to fit their weird time schedule? I happened to see The Matrix Reloaded there recently whilst channel-flipping, and when the mega-brawl between Neo and the 100 Agent Smiths popped off, it was going so fast, it looked like archival Vaudeville footage). But don’t mistake it for a cheesy relic from a bygone era. This is a great relic from a bygone era, and there’s something remarkably fresh about an action epic that doesn’t take itself seriously, eschews fancy-schmancy stunts and mythology, and just gets right down to a mano-a-mano battle across a utopian future landscape.
Signature Moment: Simon Phoenix, upon first awakening in the future, has to deal with being bound up and talked down to by a snooty warden. Ah, but thanks to lots of cryo-learnin’, our villain now knows Spanish, explosives, Kung-fu, and what evil lurks in the hearts of men. So it’s not much for him to bust out of his cuffs, whoop the guards’ ass, and then let the Warden know that he doesn’t exactly see eye-to-eye with him.
What It’s Missing: The only way this could be more entertaining is if Sly had a crew of action guys that got frozen like he and Phoenix did, and he was allowed to defrost them in time for the end brawl against Phoenix’s gang (featured player: Jesse “The Body” Ventura).
My Personal Connection to It:
It was when I finally realized what a star Snipes was going be. In another world where he wasn’t a weedhead with ego problems, that is.
Watch It With: Everyone else watching TNT between Braves’ games.
– Micah Robinson
Bad Boys II (2003, Dir. Michael Bay)
Why It’s a Guilty Pleasure: I don’t know what this movie is about. In fact, I’m not even sure it’s about anything in the usual meaning of the word about when it applies to plotted narratives. You’ll often read critics saying that an action movie’s plotline is just an excuse for a series of set pieces; Bad Boys II makes no such excuses and just throws action set pieces at us one after another. If the plotline is there for any excuse, it’s to give Martin Lawrence and Will Smith a reason to have some repartee when they are not blowing the shit out of things.
Bad Boys II is maybe my ultimate guilty pleasure because I hate movies as stupid as this, and I definitely hate movies as overindulgent as this – just when you think the film is over our leads head to Cuba to decimate a chunk of that country. Actually, I take back the claim that Bad Boys II is stupid: that would indicate there is some sort of thought process behind the film, no matter how insipid. Bad Boys II is pure chaos corralled into cinematic form, full of sound and fury and signifying nothing’ except one great fucking time at the movies.
People say that Transformers was the movie Michael Bay was born to make, but I really think that film was Bad Boys II. He takes action choreography to such a new level of amorality and wastefulness – just imagine the costs of the first chase scene, when he even throws a fucking boat into the mix! – that you feel like this is the action spectacle Caligula would have made, except maybe with more horse fucking or something. Bad Boys II is sensation without sense, a film whose sensibility is hyperviolence thats so hyper it’s no longer cartoonish but just sort of ugly, a juggernaut of metal on metal and director on audience.
Signature Moment: Will Smith and Martin Lawrence carjack Dan Marino and then engage in a high speed chase with a van that is spitting corpses at them. Dead bodies slam into the windshield and get splattered under the wheels of the car and you realize how unlikely it is that any chase scene will ever top this one in terms of sheer disregard for basic humanity.
What It’s Missing: Coherence. Story. Characters. Any of the things that have made up narrative since the days of the Greeks.
My Personal Connection to It: I did not see Bad Boys II when it hit theaters. I skipped it on home video for years. When I saw Hot Fuzz I began thinking that maybe I should see this film after all! and then Rogue sent me a Hot Fuzz gift basket that included a Bad Boys II DVD. The rest, as they say, is history.
Watch It With: The hyperactive and inattentive.
- Devin Faraci