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
Xanadu (1980, Dir. Robert Greenwald)
It’s a Guilty Pleasure: Do the math. Xanadu is released in 1980. John Lennon shot shortly thereafter. Fallout from Xanadu continues as Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan receive bullet lunches. There is a strong physical evidence to support that the polar ice caps were just fine until Xanadu. George Lucas was prepping Revenge of the Jedi when Xanadu was released and reportedly decided to soften the title, add Ewoks, and then start formulating an idea for the Prequels. Conspiracy theorists proclaim that Xanadu slipped a shiv into the pilot of United flight 92 on that fateful day. God damn you, Xanadu!
The film Xanadu is not unlike being forced to drink the semen of your enemies.
Yet I love it.
Scientists say that all men harbor the possibility to turn to the dark side and attain true homosexuality. Xanadu for me is my personal journey to Fag Island, 93 minutes of unabashed gay entertainment. First of all, Olivia Newton-John was dreamy back in the day. She was too good for straight. She was ideal for gay. The overproduced, syrupy soundtrack by ELO can only be enjoyed while buzzing from a contact Gay. I own the soundtrack to Xanadu because ‘Magic’ is a truly wonderful song and for that song’s magnificent running time all I can think about is two pipes. The pipes of Olivia and the meatpipe I ought to be ingesting. They should package the DVD in a little closet.
Xanadu is amazing. It killed Gene Kelly!
Signature Moment: When Olivia first ditches the soft focus and glowing effect to emerge… on Roller Skates!
What It’s Missing:
My Personal Connection to It: I popped my fictitious ass cherry when I saw Xanadu.
Watch It With: Transamerica.
– Nick Nunziata
Maximum Overdrive (1986, Dir. Stephen King)
Why It’s a Guilty Pleasure: In the summer of 1986, Stephen King promised to “scare the hell” out of us with his directorial debut, Maximum Overdrive. He did not succeed. He also never directed again. I’m not sure this is a good thing. It takes some kind of talent to even conceive of a movie as hopelessly idiotic as Maximum Overdrive, and, as a fan of hopelessly idiotic movies, a man of King’s cinematic “gifts” is rare.
King was allegedly motivated to direct this machines vs. people saga as a corrective: there had been too many bad movies made from his novels, and he aimed to put a stop to it. This seemed reasonable at the time, but, looking back, there were just as many good adaptations as there were bad. And movies as great as The Dead Zone or Carrie could offset ten Children of the Corns (who knew, twenty years ago, that it might actually come to that?). But it wasn’t shit like Cujo that really chafed King; it was Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, which the author felt had been travestied. King loathed the casting of Nicholson, bristled at the altering of the plot and didn’t enjoy Kubrick declaring his work “not literary” in a subsequent interview (understandable, because The Shining is easily King’s most “literary” novel).
So a fed-up King expanded his short story “Trucks” (from the anthology Night Shift), directed Maximum Overdrive, and boasted in the theatrical trailer for his vehicular horror show, “If you want something done right, you ought to do it yourself” – which is akin to a frustrated Yankees fan pinch hitting for a slumping Derek Jeter with the game on the line in the bottom of the ninth. King might know everything about scaring the piss out of his readers, but he was completely ill-equipped to frighten likewise in the medium of film; ergo, any semblance of “restraint”, “atmosphere” or “quality” was scattered to the wind as King concentrated on gore f/x and explosions (i.e. you saw all the good stuff in the glossy pages of Fangoria two months out).
What’s fascinating about Maximum Overdrive is that King didn’t seem concerned with scaring the hell out of anyone with what he would later refer to as a “moron movie”; the film is broadly directed in the manner of a Police Academy sequel, and populated with characters who’ve seemingly wandered in from a Rednecksploitation flick. Rather than address the larger implications of the machines’ revolt (they’re controlled by aliens!), King runs plays from his dog-eared siege-narrative playbook and sticks us in the bunker with a disparate band of retards led by Emilio Estevez (the only character with an IQ flirting with three digits). Inexplicably, this group outsmarts the rampaging semi-trucks, thereby impugning the intellect of Earth’s would-be extraterrestrial conquerors. Fortunately for the audience, King goes maniacally heavy on the bloodletting; if he couldn’t scare us, he was at least going to make us nauseous.
Signature Moment: I could go with the kid getting flattened by a steamroller, but you just can’t beat this ineptly written epilogue:
“Two days after, a large UFO was destroyed in space by a Russian “weather satellite”, which happened to be equipped with a laser cannon and class IV nuclear missiles.
Approximately six days later, the earth passed beyond the tail of Rhea-M, exactly as predicted.”
What It’s Missing: Not enough Leon Rippy.
My Personal Connection to It: As a dedicated, twelve-year-old gorehound, I felt nothing but affection for the non-stop carnage of Maximum Overdrive (which had to be re-cut to avoid an X-rating). I may have watched it more than once when it hit cable.
Watch It With: A quart of Quaker State and a chain-smoking truck stop hooker (shiner and chipped teeth optional, but recommended).
– Jeremy Smith