is fantastic and knows it… even if not everyone else does (or even needs to). It’s even fantastic enough to smugly tell you so with one of the most subjectively accurate title tags ever committed to META: “ film site for the brilliant.”

I’m not disgorging praise because I wrote* for CHUD or was given the opportunity to create what’s destined to be one of the least read blogs in the CHUD tomes. I’m praising because this site quickly (and sometimes prison-shower-lovingly) earned my allegiance since stumbling into it ala a “DVD Reviews” MSN search in the spring of 2002. It’s been a bearded love story I haven’t turned my back on since. 

If you’re reading this (thank you), you know why deserves the praise those “in the know” bestow it by their return day after day. CHUD’s a bit unruly, it’s unwilling to take a pigeonhole without fraying the edges a little– filling its “pages” with content that’s enticingly flexible. I.e.: will give you the film news of the day and the best reviews on Friday’s theatrical releases—but it’ll also give you missives on culture, politics and a great place to eat next time you’re slumming in LA. All this and the recent inclusion of blogs written by voices with something to say (and sometimes not, but by shit, they’re written well/funny) is just another example of why stands above other film sites: a sweatily aligned mix of voice and content. 

So there you have it. CHUD’s “voice” is a real one. It’s not a homogenized** feed from a PR intern clacking out boilerplate beats that fit the template PR 210 helped them perfect. It’s not an excess of exclamation points or hackneyed purple prosery trying to out-adjective the last sentence’s superlatives. It is meaty, gristle-ridden, stick-to-your-ribs, blink and you’ll miss the reference reading. It’s some substantive stuff, enhanced by opinions that are solidly owned– backed by more than the simple sentiment of “because I said so”; lovingly tinged with irreverent humor ladled by folks who view writing as a craft- not just an expression of a geekgasmic brain dump.

There may be other sites breaking stories first, manhandling exclusives and shamelessly leveraging industry relationships– but no matter who comes first, the official CHUD statement is always the one I’ll wait for and, as far as I’m concerned, is the one that matters.

Now, as part of a group invited to blog on CHUD, I’ve been offered a chance to return in a periphery way. Whether anyone will read this or even cares to, we’ll see. But to see my name in white against black again gets me all warm and weak-bladdered inside. I’d never place my work in the ring reserved for the high praise above, but Dave, Micah, Russ, Nick, Devin and Jeremy always gave something lofty to shoot for. 

* In November ’06, after a few emails and responding to far too many “Positions Wanted” posts, Nick opened the CHUD manhole cover and allowed me inside, where I wrote as a news contributor until June and intermittently until November of 07. To Nicks credit, he always left the door open for me to return, but with news breaking early and throughout the day, family commitments and a paying day job eventually kept me from consistently churning the output I wanted to, which, in all honesty, has been a complete heartbreak ever since. Being a part of CHUD was to be a part of something special.

** (Some stories lend nothing but newsy– casting for Penelope Anne Miller, anyone?)