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.
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
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.
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* * But Were Afraid to Ask (Buy it from CHUD!)
Why it’s Essential:We enjoy your films! Particularly the early, funny ones. – Aliens to Sandy Bates in Stardust Memories
There’s so much baggage that goes with the name Woody Allen. There’s the real world baggage of his strange love life, and then there’s the cinematic baggage of his later films, which became very serious and then his latest films which, frankly, tend to not be that great. For a lot of people Woody is defined by sleeping with his adopted daughter and his upper class, whites only view of New York, but there used to be a very different Woody Allen, one who made movies that were often deliriously strange and funny, movies that were aimed at a younger audience and that felt new and dangerous. And they still feel a little dangerous, none more so than the ramshackle sketch comedy of Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* *But Were Afraid to Ask.
Woody was always a great gag man, and Everything You Always Wanted to Know is a great gag film, a plot-free series of sketches that mix the surreal with the crass with high minded references with plain silliness. And Woody has assembled a killer cast: John Carradine as a mad sex scientist (‘Here I’m forcing a man to have intercourse with a large rye bread. They’re getting on famously! Here I’m going to take the brain of a lesbian and put it into the body of a man who works for the telephone company… It’ll show those fools who called me mad!’); Gene Wilder as a man who falls in love with a sheep (the judge at his trial is particularly outraged because the sheep is under 18); Burt Reynolds and Tony Randall running Mission Control during the “What Happens During Ejaculation Segment?”; Lynn Redgrave as the horny Queen (who gives Woody, playing a court jester, his best one-liner opportunity. The King finds him inside the Queen’s skirts, and Woody says, “Hi Milord! You remember when you said if I was ever in town, I should look up your wife?”). You may find some of the jokes dated and some of the skits paced oddly, but by the time you get to the final segment, where Woody is dressed as a sperm (“I’m not getting shot out of that thing. What if he’s masturbating? I’m liable to end up on the ceiling.”) I guarantee you’ll be covered in a thick, pearly layer of genius.
Why it’s Essential: The reasons listed above. The monotonely haunting Morricone score (with mucho Carpenter influence). Kurt Russell and his frost encrusted beard imploring folks to “back off, WAY off”. The Blairmonster. Wilfred Brimley dragging Donald Moffat around by the face skins. “You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me…”. The blood test. The claymation at the end. The plentiful blowtorch usage. The fancy chess game MacReady played. That they instantly had a computer program that could tell us how long a Thing infection could overtake the world. The classic fireside drink at the end between Childs and Mac. Every frame of this film is like the proverbial warm blanket. In a world rife with terror and betrayal there’s always John Carpenter’s The Thing. There is no film in my life that has this effect on me, and I think I’m far from alone. I didn’t buy into DVD until I saw The Thing DVD and if a new format comes along that requires you to puree small boys to play the film, a pretty convincing new release of this will have me in line to buy a boy blender. This is the very definition of essential: a film that really influences who are acquaintances
and who are friends. If they can’t appreciate a dog’s head splitting into quadrants and sprouting slithering appendages they probably aren’t worth an invite to the BBQ. Somehow, even after over twenty years of being a sleeper and a classic that professionals in the industry and fans mention as a revelation, it still feels somehow slighted. Worthy of being mentioned with the BIG ONES but rarely commented on. John Carpenter can do as many bad films as he wants (and lately… oh boy) but it’s all gravy. His legend was already secure in 1981 as this was being made, but it was etched in diamond and impervious stone with this lean, mean, and classic son of a bitch.