By turns brutal and beautiful; crude yet wise in a way few pieces of art ever attain, The Shawshank Redemption has grown and grown in popularity since it’s release over 20 years ago. When it was released in 1994, it was overshadowed for recognition by “Gumpmania” as Forrest Gump took most of the glory that year, but over time the film has grown so in stature that it is now the highest rated film of all-time by users on the IMDB’s Top 250 Films (click here for a more in-depth look at the film).
The parole hearings were a recurring plot device to show both the changes that Otis “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman) underwent in his decades in prison and the passage of time. This occurs at the very end of the film when a weary Red is dragged one more time in front of the parole board and with withering weariness delivers one of the best monologues Freeman’s ever gotten. It’s the tired wisdom of an old man desperate to speak sense to his younger self, bereft of the hope that a future is possible. Whatever Red says the final time, it sets him free and on a path to Mexico and a reunion with his best friend.
While Stephen King will always be thought of as a “horror author”, I think King’s best works are his short stories. These have produced as many movies as his novels (and a better batch overall). Stand by Me, based on the King short story “The Body”, may be the best male coming-of-age movie ever made. King is one of those rare adults who remembers exactly what it was like to be a kid. It’s what allows him to tap into the primal fears we acquire as a child and never lose, and it also allows him to write kids and adolescents with an authenticity few can match.
When you’re a 12-year-old boy, you’re invincible. Honestly and truly invincible. You are aware of the dangers of the world and the problems the swirl around you (more so than any adult would guess), but you also have this firm belief that anything is possible, there are adventures around every corner, and that your friends will always be your friends forever. Director Rob Reiner hit the gold mine with River Phoenix, Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman, and Jerry O’Connell, as four friends who set off on an adventure to find a dead body they heard had washed up by the river. The beauty of the film is in the interactions between the friends, the dares, the stupid stories and jokes, and the best of them: the all-time best train dodge in the history of train dodges (not recommended for actual trying). It’s a stupid thing to do, it nearly kills them, and it’s a story they’ll tell for the rest of their lives in which they’re the heroes in their own mythology. That’s what we all do, right? Set ourselves up as the hero in our own lives? We have to. The alternative (REALITY) is too stupid to bear. Ask any guy. We all have a “train dodge” story in which we did something incredible that no kid had ever done.
Each Thursday we look at what is going to be coming out in theaters this weekend, show you the trailers for the big releases, predict the box office winner and just generally give you enough of a carrot to pull you through the rest of the work week. After basically not even trying for a month, the first “blockbuster” film of the fall hits this weekend along with some serious 180 degree counterprogramming from Reese Witherspoon.
Continue reading In Theaters This Week (9/8/2017): It, Home Again
The final blockbuster of summer 2017 to unveil its first trailer is the long-awaited adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower fantasy/western series. Starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey among others, this is an impressive first look at a series that has long been considered to be unadaptable for the big screen. Coming Soon has more below. Roland will follow The Man in Black into theaters on August 4, 2017. Continue reading Trailer Time: The Dark Tower Trailer #1 (2017) “The Man in Black Fled…and the Gunslinger Followed”
We’re going to try something different every month during one of the Top 5 columns. Moving down the IMDB (International Movie Database) Top 250 films, we’ll name the top five scenes (in my order) from films so good that our regular “My Favorite Scene” column can’t do them justice. Number one on the IMDB 250 is Frank Darabont’s adaptation of Stephen King’s novella; 1994’s The Shawshank Redemption. Continue reading Top 5: Scenes From The Shawshank Redemption