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
The Chase (1994, Dir. Adam Rifkin)
It’s a Guilty Pleasure: First of all, it’s not the rather generic film promised by the poster to the right of this paragraph. The only weapon Chuck Sheen brandishes here is a candybar, which is used to great effect to compel an at-her-molten-hot-peak Kristy Swanson to be his hostage as he runs from the police for a crime he didn’t commit. Even the crime is bizarrely great – they think he’s a bank-robbing clown. Alas, he’s just a (literal) clown.
With that premise underway, Chuck and Kristy lead the coppers and a few news vehicles on a feature-length high-speed chase that takes place in a magically traffic-free Los Angeles. But we’re not talking an action extravaganza here…it’s a simple meet-cute romance that place entirely inside of a BMW sedan, punctuated by cutaways to the cartoonish pursuers and newsroom types in some misguided attempt to skewer “the media”, though you have to give them credit for predating the OJ/White Bronco chase by a few months.
Among the circus of weird supporting characters is a nigh-supergroup of 90s alt-rockers. Anthony Kiedis and Flea go way off the reservation as self-appointed, monster truck-driving redneck vigilantes. But they’re nothing in the face of the over-the-top turn by Henry Rollins as Officer Pig Piggerson, a delusional macho cop who’s bringing along TV cameras and a reporter in his vehicle for a Cops-esque series (It was timely then…kinda). If they could’ve roped in Vernon Reid and Matt Cameron for cameos, think of the jams they could’ve had between takes!Still, The Chase has all of the magic you need onscreen. Sheen and Swanson have an easy, enjoyable chemistry, and just when you get sick of waiting for them test the fuckability of midsize Beemer front seats, they jump to an extended Rollins rant probably lifted from a Weight outtake. The final showdown at the US/Mexico border fizzles a bit, but it’s still a remarkably solid 90 minutes of silly fun that holds up well to repeat cable viewings, which is my only real litmus test. The persistent stabs at social commentary are laughably broad, but they’re a small blemish on a beautiful B-movie that never stops being entertaining.
Signature Moment: After 80 minutes or so of madcap romance, director Rifkin decides to end things on a poetic note where Sheen gallantly pulls the car over in Mexico to let his lady love go free and to absorb lots of bullets as he tries the candybar-in-pocket-as-gun gambit one last time (all done in slo-mo and set to Suede. Can this film get any more 90s?) After the gunpowder settles and his corpse has been aired out, Sheen wakes up from his daydream and pulls a Frankie Goes To Hollywood. That is, he Chooses Life by walking out of the car meekly with his hands-up. Thataboy, Charlie.
What It’s Missing: For a movie called The Chase, there’s an alarming lack of urgency once the pursuit gets underway.
My Personal Connection to It: This started Sheen on his journey as a B-movie action god as he followed it up with Terminal Velocity and The Arrival. One of my favorite stretches in the guy’s career, and it all began here.
Watch It With: One of those snarky I Love the 90s “comedians”. While they’re distracted, kill them.
– Micah Robinson
MegaForce (1982, Dir. Hal Needham)
Why It’s a Guilty Pleasure: I’ve
realized today how we could have done this list differently: instead of calling
it Guilty Pleasures, it could have been ‘movies that were proudly advertised on
the back of comic books’. Unwieldy, I know. But check it: Orca, Heavy Metal,
The Avengers, Mallrats, Krull, etc. And now this, the granddaddy of all shitty
movies smart enough to sucker in an unwitting and undiscerning audience. If you
weren’t buying Marvel back in the day, just check out this compelling ad.
What Hal Needham did for the ’70s with Smokey & The Bandit he repeated here. A
proud child of the ’80s, MegaForce displays cynicism only through the notion
that someone as awesome as Henry Silva could actually be the bad guy.
Otherwise, it’s a fluffy, amazing exercise in blind optimism: that the powers
of the world would donate their best fighters to a secret, underground military
force. That said force would actually have a base’ underground! That it would
develop motorcycles, dune buggies, rockets and lasers powerful enough to take
out anything. And that this! mega”force”would be run by a dude with a kielbasa
shoved down his spandex.
The “technology” in the film is backyard science at it’s best. When the futuristic
cars in your movie aren’t quite as good as the ones in Solarbabies, you’ve got
big fucking problems. But that’s how amazing MegaForce is: it stole from a
movie that didn’t even exist yet! MegaForce can see the future. It knew Antonioni
and Bergman were going to die on the same day. It knows your PIN number. And it
gave you that awful nickname in 4th grade.
difference between this and Xanadu isn’t as great as you might think. For
one, Michael Beck is in both of them, and here he’s even named “Dallas”. So
much more manly than “Swan”. Also, I once fucked Barry Bostwick, thinking (s)he
was Olivia Newton John. Don’t blame me, it was the gold spandex, feathered hair
and his delicious, effervescent voice. Roller skates and motorcycles, what’s
the difference? Lasers, of course. Which means these wheels are totally more
Signature Moment: There’s
so much empty filler in Megaforce that Albert Pyun couldn’t even chew it up and
shit out a DTV feature. But the highlight is the flying motorcycle finale,
which leads into the kiss/salute that is the film’s cultural gift. Ace
Hunter and Zara, the president’s daughter, kiss their thumbs and then throw out
a big thumb’s up and gleaming smile. Ting!
What It’s Missing: There’s
a whole battle scene in the movie that seems like it’s made of the same three
or four explosions and laser shots lined up over and over again. It runs about
15 minutes, seems like it goes forever. I’d like just one more shot in there,
maybe to spice it up a little bit.
My Personal Connection to It: Every
day when I get dressed, I realize that I’ll never look as good as Barry
Watch It With: Guys
with fingers that smell of poly bags and a couple pieces of scotch tape stuck
to their hands.
– Russ Fischer