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.


Better Off Dead (Buy it from CHUD!)


http://chud.com/nextraimages/betteroff.jpgThe Movie: Sweet and creative daydreamer Lane Smith (John Cusack, kickstarting a career of unforgettable roles) is dumped by his girlfriend, sending him into a suicidal haze. A comical suicidal haze, but one nonetheless. All of this despair is put on immediate hold when a lovely French exchange student arrives to steal his heart anew. Add to the mix claymation, skiing, a demonic paperboy, and tons of little jokes and sight gags and you have a really special 80’s comedy.

Why it’s Essential: If I were to meet a new person over the age of 25 and I wanted to gauge whether I wanted to hang with them, one of the questions I might ask would be “What do you think of Savage Steve Holland?”. The answer to that would go a long way towards deciding that person’s fate with me. Though the true “ouvre” of the filmmaker is really only this film and One Crazy Summer, Savage Steve is as important to my survival of the 80’s as is John Hughes, John Carpenter, and John Matrix. Add to that the once and future Lloyd Dobler. Cusack really is the avatar for my youth, having ridden the two Savage Steve films and The Sure Thing, Say Anything, all the way up through Grosse Pointe Blank and immortality. Better Off Dead is loaded with great quotes, a set-up which could never fly today (suicidal delusional character as the lead of a teen romantic comedy?), and a sweetness absent from today’s movies of this sort. This one’s definitely worth your… TWO DOLLLLLLLLLLARS.


- Nick Nunziata


Once Upon a Time in the West (Buy it from CHUD!)


 The Movie: Sergio Leone gives the Western genre its best valentine and its saddest lament with this grandiose opera. Charles Bronson is Harmonica, a mysterious and otherwise-unnamed stranger who shows up in a desolate railroad town to settle unfinished business. He finds himself drawn to protecting a beautiful widow (Claudia Cardinale) as he sizes up a charismatic outlaw (Jason Robards) and faces off with the most ruthless of ruthless motherfuckers, Frank (an absolutely cold-blooded Henry Fonda).

Why it’s Essential: You could probably knock out a 50-numbered list of great moments and themes in this film alone. Each of the central cast members absolutely cook with minimalist performances that shine against the epic backdrop of Leone’s widescreen canvas. You’re immediately drawn in by one of the greatest openings of all time as Leone subjects you to 8-minutes of dialogue-free tension as a band of killers await Bronson’s arrival. Ennio Morricone has never turned out a more iconic score – and yes, that includes The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly. You could watch this 20 times and find new glimmers of brilliance in the poetic and elaborate staging. Amidst a rather lofty group of cool-ass great Westerns, a number of which were done by Leone himself, this baby is the coolest. Here is self-aware filmmaking brilliance that cannot be denied.

- Micah Robinson

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