As most gigantic film buffs know, this movie is top dog when it comes to classic films everyone has to see. And how long did it take me to see since I’ve been really into movies? 10 years. I know you may be thinking I might as well shut down my review website, but hold your horses Seabiscuit. It wasn’t like I wasn’t going to see it and shrug it off as some dumb flick not worth my time. (Although… a bit lengthy.) This movie is across the board considered one of the best of all time, and it came out a mere 17 years ago. And there’s quite a few movies that would rival that from more than 50 or 60 years. But no, this movie, paid with a dollar to Stephen King with a single dollar bill, is now considered a masterpiece.
This movie in particular holds quite a bit of significance to me, but more to my father. So yeah, it’s pretty special. My father grew up in Mansfield, site of the Ohio State Reformatory, located just outside of downtown Mansfield. Coming from a low budget movie filmed in one location (Mansfield), I would call the achievement of this film phenomenal. And turning the old reformatory into Shawshank State Penitentary in Maine, and thus turning Mansfield into a hotspot location for film buffs: fantastic. The streets of Mansfield, some family friends staring down the camera, yeah, this film has some history with me.
Okay, basic plot. Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is convicted of killing his wife all the way back in 1947. His wife was cheating on him with a golfer (naturally Tiger Woods) and she got what was coming to her. And it’s never really clear whether or not Andy committed the crime. Anyways, Dufresne is sent to Shawshank State Penitentiary in Maine, home of the writer of this short story, Stephen King. While there, Andy keeps his head down, stands up for others, and makes friends with Red (Morgan Freeman) the narrator of this fine film. Despite his status as convicted or not (all Shawshank inmates are innocent!), Andy Dufresne must stick by his beliefs and not get Shawshanked. Overused pun? Or am I the first? Let me know.
Of course, as expected with a great movie, there’s some great acting in it as well. It is Morgan Freeman. Known simply to most as “The Voice of God”, it was roles like The Shawshank Redemption that gave him the opportunity to narrate beyond a prison story. Tim Robbins, as I’ve figured from this movie, got into highly acclaimed, Oscar worthy roles because of this movie. Although Morgan Freeman won for best actor, it doesn’t demean Tim Robbins any that he was in a movie that was up for 7 academy awards.
Who else, you may ask, deserves a nod from this acclaimed film? I would tip my hat to William Sadler as Heywood, the bumbling idiot and all around good guy, just trying to get through prison life. The only life most of them know, and that comes across in this movie with James Whitmore’s performance as Brooks Hatlen, a role that would later be ironically poked fun at by a Robot Chicken sketch. (Get busy livin’, or get Kraken.) Come to think of it, there’s always the occaisional homage or spoof that comes up about this film, and now I can enjoy them more thoroughly.
So I give the biggest nod to Frank Darabont and his screenplay from the words of Stephen King, utilizing his Dollars to Direct program of all his short stories. I do wonder though if he’s kicking himself about missing out on this cash cow. But all-in-all, I’m sure this was a wonderful film to be a part of, and I know I’ll be watching it again in the future. 9.7 out of 10.
I also wanted to throw on this little clip from Seth Green’s Robot Chicken for a little quirky spoof that got me interested in The Shawshank Redemption. Enjoy!
So this movie probably is no longer in theaters, but when me and my roomie all the way out there in London (this is a shout out E. Miss you.) caught this movie in theaters, it was in its 6th week showing. I think that itself says a lot about just how good this movie is. Plus the aged ticket vendor woman who told us this adult movie full of swearing, drugs, and new age humor for the 20 year olds was “funny as poop.” So yeah, I had to check out this movie. I mean, come on, Jason Bateman and Charlie Day in the same film? Perfect. This was a movie worthy of its under-hype, so to speak.
In this film of every Average Joe’s fantasy, three friends Nick
Trio of champions.
(Jason Bateman), Dale (Charlie Day), and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) all hate and want to kill their bosses. Nick’s boss is a psychopathic withdrawing bastard (Kevin Spacey) who forces Nick to stay late, work often, and never give him that sought after promotion. Dale’s boss is ironically a maneating sex addict (Jennifer Anisten) who just wants Dale, despite knowing full well that he’s engaged to marry. And Kurt’s boss, the toolish son of the former boss who kicks the bucket and takes over by default (Colin Farrell). With this trio of terror, the boys just don’t know what to do to rid themselves of these terrible bosses with a job market where there’s no chance of redemption.
Until one day, Mutherf@#$er Jones (Jamie Foxx) stumbles upon them. And by that, I mean Nick and the gang to rovin’ around in a black neighborhood and stumble upon one mean Jones who’s willing to help them get rid of their bosses for a small fee. And what does he do? He becomes their “murder consultant,” and helps them to kill each other’s bosses. What transpires is one of the funniest series of events that I’ve ever seen on film in the last 5 years. Other than 30 Minutes or Less, and that review will be coming shortly.
The good and bad. This film was shorter than I wanted it to be. This film needed to be longer. This 98 minute film could’ve been fleshed out to a 2 hour movie and I wouldn’t have complained for a second. There’s always more comedy that can be shoved into a film, and this movie could’ve used it for the full $10 movie theaters are charging now. Other than that, maybe Jason Sudeikis wasn’t the best SNL choice to go with in this film. I didn’t mind him, but at the same time, I didn’t really notice if he was funny at all.
It was mostly on Jason Bateman and Charlie Day, coupled with Colin Farrell’s hilarious scenes of
These 3 brought the house down.
cocaine and Kung Fu, that brought the brunt of the comedy in this film. I love the way in which Farrell can make fun of himself and not always go for the better roles that cast him in a better light (I’m just glad he doesn’t do movie like Alexander anymore…). But yes, Jason Bateman performs in his prime (Arrested Development level) and I’m happy to see he’s really putting work in this year with The Change Up and an Arrested Development movie in the works.
Charlie Day. Thank you for living.
Charlie Day. What is there to say about Charlie, member of one of the greatest trios to ever grace cable television on Always Sunny in Philadelphia. His signature character of the bumbling idiot shines through again in a Hollywood blockbuster meant for his caliber of acting skills. I know it may seem that Charlie Day will be typecast forever, but I could care less. His fantastic attitude and demeanor as a character actor could be the same in 1000 films and I’d watch every one.
Kevin Spacey gives a great dickish performance, in coupling with Jennifer Anisten trying on some level to reclaim some never found sex idol roles in this film. Sure she looks nothing like her normal self in this movie, but
Let the On Star begin.
damnnnn. Wow. With some great On Star humor and some great banter between Jason, Jason, and Charlie, this movie performs on par with The 40 Year Old Virgin, #1 in my favorite comedies of all time. (Since then Judd Apatow has never made another funny movie.) I give credit to Seth Gordon in this breakout directing “debut”. His work on The Office, Modern Family, and Parks and Recreation gave him some experience going into a full length Hollywood film. And definite props to Michael Markowitz and John Francis Daley (among others) for great dialogue between three great characters. 8.8 out of 10.