I couldn’t find a more accurate picture of the website but I still like it.
CHUD is by far my favorite site on the internet. It’s a genre movie website that is NOT soaked in the fanboy hysterics of something like Ain’t it Cool News (IE they don’t rely on nonsense sneak preview spies). They have a smart and dedicated staff that know how to judge action/comic book/horror/genre movies on their own merit, BUT they also do a surprisingly grounded and intellectual job of handing the the more artistic films that come out every year. Most of the reviewers seem to be well rather well read and versed in film study. They appreciate the truly interesting directors. They’re plugged into the critic circuits yet they’re completely removed from the industry BS that strangles publications like Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. They approach big Hollywood prestige pictures with just the right amount of skepticism. They have a great eye for films flying under the radar. They also have a lot of contrasting opinions among their reviewers which is rather nice to see.
Best of all, they approach their subjects with a nice sense of humor. It’s the kind of humanism that most publications lack in their seriousness. The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, all of them are completely humorless when that’s exactly the kind of honesty a lot of criticism needs. Even funnier publications like Entertainment Weekly, and the AV Club have surprisingly mundane and serious reviewers. (The AV Club I find to be awfully snarky and “holier than though thou”). I also have to be sure to clarify that by needing humor I don’t mean to make a joke of the subject, but just an understanding of the levity needed to analyze the medium with any kind of accuaracy.
To wit, here’s a decidedly adult and intelligent excerpt by Devin Faraci, one of CHUD’s writers: “There’s explicit sexuality in Towelhead that will shock some. Another journalist at Sundance, who hadn’t seen the film, wondered to me why Alan Ball would even want to make a movie about this subject. To me that question is its own answer; the way that society sexualizes young girls is something that we don’t address because it makes us uncomfortable. Ball looks the issue squarely in the face and, instead of delivering epiphanies like he did in American Beauty, he leaves us to examine the shards of perspective and truth. And in the end he has the courage to make a wonderful, sex-positive statement; it’s perhaps the movie’s closing scene that will send Puritanical Americans out of the theater with the most unease. To me it was uplifting, and I imagine it will be to the millions of women who identify with Jasira’s struggles”
Now compare it with another one of his excerpts for Steven Coogan’s Hamlet 2: “When Steve Coogan’s character reads a bad review of his latest high school play (a two hander version of Erin Brockovich) in the high school newspaper and yells, ‘I feel like I’m being raped… in the face!’, I knew that Hamlet 2 was a funny film. “
Ladies and Gentlemen, this exactly the kind of respective criticism film needs.