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.


Watership Down (Buy it from CHUD!)


Watership DownThe Movie:
The runt Fiver and his brother Hazel flee the impending destruction of their warren with a small group brother rabbits. En route to a sort of utopian warren, the group encounters conspiratorial and fascist societies and must fight for their survival against a militant general.

Why it’s Essential: Disney may have the edge in pure animation technique, but in a perfect world Watership Down whould be the ultimate family film. With great voice performances from John Hurt, Nigel Hawthorne and Zero Mostel it’s got big entertainment value, for one. More important, it’s a powerful gateway from childish movies to cinematic storytelling that blends character and story with pointed observation of the real world. Should we be terrified of the fascist Enfafa and Cowslip’s greasy warren? Hell yes. And for the record, I still avoid any rabbit (stuffed, real or on my dinner table) that looks even vaguely like Woundwort.) But by avoiding simple moralizing, the movie delivers the goods with riveting sequences that will stick in mind for years. Show your kids Watership Down early enough, and they’ll turn into the sort of movie audience that hungers for Children of Men and Pan’s Labyrinth rather than Saw III.


- Russ Fischer


Starship Troopers (Buy it from CHUD!)


http://chud.com/nextraimages/starship_troopers_ver2.jpgThe Movie: Join the Mobile Infantry and save the Galaxy. Service guarantees citizenship. Would you like to know more?

Why it’s Essential: Paul Verhoeven made two subversive sci-fi satire classics. Everybody gets Robocop, but most people seem to think that Starship Troopers is the real fascist deal. Let’s talk to Essentials guest star Verhoeven himself and see what he thinks. “There was a Washington Post editorial that it was a fascist movie, and that was also on the front pages of all the European newspapers. It took some time for people to realize it was really – I think the situation in Iraq might have clarified certain things. It was a certain, not hidden critique, but our feelings on what American politics could be – and they became that way. So I think it was certainly underrated then, but I have the feeling people now are looking at the movie in a different way. Maybe you could describe it as prophetic, although that would be too much honor!”

I would also describe it as gloriously gory fun under all that sharp satire. Plus, it has a classic performance by Michael Ironside, both before and during being bisected, a terrific turn by the great Clancy Brown as the original Zim, Dina Meyer’s breasts, one of the Golden Girls playing with bug guts, Jake Busey getting his hand nailed to a wall and Doogie Howser as a Nazi scientist. Cinema may have peaked in 1997.

And remember, kids, we can ill-afford another Klendathu.



- Devin Faraci