What
makes one a Chewer? It isn’t just reading CHUD.com regularly, although
that’s a great start. It definitely isn’t being an expert at
mastication. Being a Chewer requires a certain sensibility that’s
outside of the mainstream. Sure, a Chewer can hold his or her own in a Star Wars
OT vs PT argument with a standard movie geek, and sure, a Chewer can go
with the rest of the film snobs to an Ozu revival, but a Chewer also
gets really, really excited about the DVD release of The Manitou.

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.


The Last Temptation of Christ (Buy it from CHUD!)


http://chud.com/nextraimages/last_temptation_of_christ.jpgThe Movie: Martin Scorsese merges The Greatest Story Ever Told and Mean Streets,
bringing us the very controversial adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis’
novel which has a very human Christ struggling with his destiny to die
on the cross. Before he put on a Power Ranger suit for Spider-Man,
Willem Dafoe wore a loincloth as Jesus, and only Scorsese could have
cast Harvey Keitel as a streetwise Judas who sounds like he comes from
Bensonhurst.

Why it’s Essential: This
is Scorsese’s underseen masterpiece. Working with one of his best
collaborators, Paul Schrader, Scorsese tackles the Biblical story just
like he would a modern gang story, making everything feel very
contemporary. Scorsese dropped out of the seminary, and Schrader’s
strict Calvinist upbringing meant he didn’t see a movie until his
teens; each man’s personal religious struggle is reflected in Christ’s
onscreen struggle. Unlike Mel Gibson’s S&M vision, Scorsese’s Jesus
isn’t making the big sacrifice by being relentlessly tortured – he’s
making the big sacrifice by not having a chance to be a regular man and
have a wife and a family and a happy life. That resonates so much more
deeply to me. And on top of all of this is Peter Gabriel’s score, which
matches Scorsese’s mix of the ancient and the modern with its eclectic
instrumentation. When I finally had a chance to meet Martin Scorsese, I
told him one thing: “If church made me feel the way The Last Temptation of Christ does, I’d go every week.”


- Devin Faraci

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (Buy it from CHUD!)


 The Movie:
Walter Matthau is a NYC transit cop who has to foil the hijacking of a
subway train by a group of four men, led by RObert Shaw. Thinking
there’s nowhere for the team to escape with the train, Matthau heads
underground to confront them while the million dollar ransom is
collected.

Why it’s Essential: Nodded to by people from Tarantino (who copped colored character code names from here) to the Beastie Boys, Pelham
is inexcusably underseen as one of the ’70s top thrillers. Matthau is
at his best, and Robert Shaw is unbeatable as he oozes menace and
intelligence. This is a total actor’s piece rather than bargain
basement effects showcase. Martin Balsam, Hector Elisondo and Jerry
Stiller twist the tension up like an overtightened piano wire. Shot
patrially on location, Pelham joins an important handful of films like Taxi Driver and Manhattan that
are both deeply entertaining and invaluable as portraits of a New York
City that has disappeared forever. David Shire finishes off the
concoction with a honking main theme that is both ominous and deeply
funky.


- Russ Fischer