Over the next few weeks we’re going to be bringing you The CHUD.com Essential Films Collection – the films that would be in our dream Chewer DVD Box Set. These are 50 movies that we think every Chewer should see and love. This is by no means the definitive list of movies that make one a Chewer, but it’s a good start. It’s also in no order – the first films that we list are just as essential as the last ones. And it’s a list that will leave off the obvious as much as possible – you don’t need us to tell you to see Lawrence of Arabia or Seven Samurai.
So fire up your Netflix or your Amazon accounts – every day we’ll be bringing you two movies that are worth seeing, and probably worth owning as well. Chew on, Chewers.
Why it’s Essential: Despite great work since, particularly in films like Closer, Ronin, and The Contender, this film’s central trinity of greatness – Portman, Reno, and Gary Oldman, respectively – churned out signature roles here that have cast a shadow over everything else they’ve done. Portman’s Mathilda is a remarkable mix of innocence, sensuality, vulnerability, and fury. Reno’s Leon is equal parts child and Angel of Death. And no one can forget the Galactus-level scenery devouring of Oldman’s Stansfield and his immortal retort “EEEEEEEVEEEEERRRYYYOOOOONE!”
But if that were all there is, this would merely be an entertaining film. Luc Besson’s razor-sharp script and direction keeps everything in this story focused and gripping, deftly balancing badass action, intense drama, and oddly touching bits of comedy. Unfortunately, he has never been able to scale these heights again either, and perhaps that’s the true miracle of Leon. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime, almost magical convergence of perfect casting, acting, writing, direction, and tone.
Why it’s Essential: William Katt and Richard Moll. Together. Bottom line is this; House is a blast. It shares a kinship with films like Evil Dead 2 but it also tries to carry an emotional throughline and be sort of a Stephen King tale for the 14 year old set. Wait, Stephen King tales are tales for the 14 year old set. You get my drift. It’s always fun, features very solid work from the Greatest American Hero, and if it’s ever on television it’s impossible not to watch. It’s the splatstick film you can show your kids.