the past five weeks we have brought you the 50 Essential CHUD movies,
films that we think help to define just what a Chewer is. But those 50
movies don’t tell the whole story, so we’ve decided to bring you this
appendix. Those films were ones that made a difference for us, the guys
who write for the site; for the appendix we’re going to spotlight some
films for which we’ve tried to make a difference (with varying degrees
One of the great things about writing for a site
like CHUD is that you suddenly find yourself with the opportunity to
speak to lots of people who share your love of movies and who probably
have a similar mindset. And that means you have the chance to pimp out
a movie that you think is great, and that you suspect a lot of people
reading the site will think is pretty great, too. We’ve never been shy
about doing this – hell, it’s almost part of our basic mission
For the rest of the week we’re going to bring you
ten films that CHUD has championed. These are the films that we pimped,
and we pimped hard, and we’re proud to have put our name and our
reputation on the line for them.
Reign of Fire (Buy the DVD)
Why it’s Essential: Reign of Fire should, by all rights, not work at all. First, there are hardly any dragons in the film. It’s a movie about a post-apocalyptic world ruled by dragons and the filmmakers couldn’t afford a whole lot of dragon action. But like all the great B-movies, Reign of Fire does the most with what little it has, and focuses instead on a cast of pretty wacky human characters who are unashamedly fun to watch.
Everybody on the internet loves Christian Bale, and he does have a couple of amazing scenes in this film (especially one where he enacts the Star Wars trilogy for a bunch of kids, a very nice nod to traditional storytelling values), and Gerard Butler does some good work long before he ever led 300 to glory, but this is McConaughey’s movie. He’s playing a totally gung-ho American who shows up to try and get to the root of the dragon crisis, and he’s in scene devouring mode. McConaughey chews on a stogey, has a big bald head and spends most of the film just grunting. It’s magnificent, and it creates the kind of over the top feel that a movie like this needs. ï¿½Envy the country that has heroes, huh? I say pity the country that needs them.ï¿½ McConaughey understands that while the movie around him can’t be as big as it should be, he can be ten times bigger than anyone else. It’s one of the most fun performances in recent years.
The Movie: Tommy is a medical researcher, driven to find a cure for cancer by his wifeï¿½s brain tumor. His wife, Izzy, is writing a book about conquistador Tomas, who is sent to the New World by Queen Isabella of Spain to find the Fountain of Youth. Tom is living in the future, inside a bubble hurtling towards a distant nebula, his only companions a dying tree and the ghost of Izzy. These three stories twist and combine to create Darren Aronofskyï¿½s heartbreaking, head-spinning The Fountain.
Why it’s Essential:
In American movies you rage against death. You take extraordinary measures to defeat death, to snatch life from its jaws, to flip it the bird as you ride off into the sunset. You certainly do not make an American movie about not just the inevitability of death but about its beauty and nobility. The deck was stacked against The Fountain from the get go.
Aronofskyï¿½s beautiful and moving film isnï¿½t telling us anything that we havenï¿½t known for millennia, but itï¿½s reminding a society that has made aging and death the ultimate taboo that everybody dies and that maybe this isnï¿½t the worst thing that can happen. He takes these lessons and puts them inside a love story and a conquistador adventure story and, most intriguingly of all, a science fiction story. Thereï¿½s been a lot of debate about the nature of the space bubble ï¿½ is it real, is it fiction within the movie, is it a dream? The fact that the argument is there is a testament to how The Fountain sends you out of the theater with so many thoughts and ideas in your head, the exact opposite thing that most American movies try to do. Again, the deck was stacked.
We have to take some satisfaction in knowing that in a decade The Fountain, which was ignored by audiences and often unfairly slammed by critics, will be understood and appreciated. I have no doubt that in ten years people will be looking back at 2006 and wondering how so many folks missed the bubble.