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 Long Kiss Goodnight (Buy it from CHUD!)

The Long Kiss GoodnightThe Movie: Samantha Caine (Geena Davis) is a happy housewife living an ideal existence in the Northeast. Her world is shattered when she begins to remember that she had a life and an identity before this: Charly Baltimore, super killer. Unfortunately, her old employers would rather she stop breathing altogether and are determined to make it so. Now, Sam/Charly must team with a grizzled PI (Samuel L. Jackson) to saty alive and find out who she really is and who she wants to be.

Why it’s Essential: If I had to be absolutely to-the-point, I could accurately describe The Long Kiss Goodnight as The Bourne Identity as written by Shane Black after a weekend coke bender. In fact, that’s a probable origin story for this gem of a flick. But where that film took its world very seriously, The Long Kiss Goodnight is in a heightened reality where every character is a supreme wiseass and there’s no problem that remarkably unrealistic shootouts cannot solve. Dollar for dollar, this may be the most quotable 90’s action film there is, featuring such zingers as “The last time I got blown, candy bars cost a nickel” and “So kill ‘em for me, Bitch! What else are you good for!?!” Plus, Samuel L. Jackson has never been funnier, and Craig Bierko’s baddie is off-the-charts evil in the most delicious way possible. Even Brian Cox gets a handful of great lines, and he’s barely in it! For an action comedy that stands the test of time and gets more enjoyable with each viewing, look no further.

- Micah Robinson

Heaven Help Us (Buy it from CHUD!)

http://chud.com/nextraimages/heaven_help_us.jpgThe Movie: The teens at St. Basil’s are a rowdy bunch, especially considering that this is the mid-60’s before the shit really hit the fan. Michael Dinner’s completely underseen comedy classic features a parade of familiar faces before their fame and remains one of the best teem comedies ever, let alone that golden era of teen comedies, the 80’s.

Why it’s Essential: Catholic school is an experience many have, few enjoy, and even les survive with their dignity intact. Case in point: Devin Faraci & Nick Nunziata. The politics, the rituals, and the good intentions of the schools are superceded by kids having to overcompensate and the fact that you rarely find more troubled kids than in schools devoted to what is supposed to be divinity. It’s madness I tell you, at least in my experience. The great thing about Heaven Help Us is the surprising class and innocence in its approach. There’s sex jokes and sight gags but for the most part the humor comes from the characters and not the expected lowest common denominator pandering. From Kevin Dillon’s one-dimensional and hilarious lout to Stephen Geoffreys’ chronic masturbator to the spittle spraying serio-priest played by Wallace Shawn it feels a lot more genuine than its ilk. Andrew McCarthy. Mary Stuart Masterson. Patrick Dempsey. The fat guy from Emmerich’s Godzilla. Plus John Heard, Donald Sutherland and the folks mentioned above. It’s a goddamned onslaught of good and if you don’t like it then you are the St. Basil’s Fairy.

- Nick Nunziata