You Can’t Please Everyone – The Shawshank Redemption

One star Amazon reviews of classic movies, music and literature. Today we take a look at The Shawshank Redemption:

Morgan Freeman ruins this movie with his horrible voice over and acting. If you want to see Morgan Freeman in a good role, see “Dreamcatcher”. That is an epic film.

I really enjoyed this movie when I first watched it, as I did most movies with Tim Robbins. I just wish that he kept his politics to himself and not used his celebrity to amplify them. Nothing wrong with free speech- but actors generally have more media attention than the millions of fans they have. When was the last time CNN asked you about whether you liked a candidate, or policy?

Anyway, Tim Robbins is a great actor, but I can’t get the image of him telling me how to think out of my head when I see him act now- and that has ruined a lot of movies for me.

I didn’t need to sit through 90 minutes just to see a guy going through a crap tube barfing up his guts. Oh, give that guy an Oscar. More like Shawstank Congestion. It’s like some twisted kinda Karate Kid who’s mute and has a sort of Southern Fried Yoda for a companion. But then he’s always barfing and swimming in poop. It gets disgusting and after a while you’re like I get it and why? for godsakes.

I’m sure no one’s disputing that The Shawshank redemption is a bad movie. However, I would like to go further, and suggest that Shawshank redemption is one of the worst movie’s ever made. For starters, it’s got Morgan Freeman in it. Morgan Freeman(this spelling may be wrong, but I don’t care) is a man of limited talents: he can play a guy hunting a serial killer, and sometimes the president, but when he tries to act he’s terrible. And you know I’m right.
Two: The film is really boring, goes on forever, covers a span of decades yet the cast never age(Morgan freeman should be dead by the end), has voiceover to explain everything, is really sentimental, everything ends ridiculously happily, he escapes in a stupid way, it actually contains the tagline “hope can set you free” and so on and so on.
Three: The film’s star, Tim Robbins, actually said it was awful. He is right and you are all wrong.

This paean to middle-aged scofflaws, attempts to persuade the viewer to side with rapists, thieves, and murderers. If Mr. Freeman didn’t want to imagine what it was like inside that pipe, then he should avoid viewing this waste of celluloid, I assure you it is 100 times worse. A rampant glorification of gynicide.

I can’t tell you the countless number of lives this film has helped to shape “for the better”, all them folks feeling helpless and all that what not and what have you went and saw this and said “hey, I can change my life around.”

We were better off without them, but not nearly as better off as we’d be without this dull, stale and horribly convoluted trash.

Remember when films could be both positive and seem to have a heart? The Shawshank Redemption has nothing at all whatsoever going for it, not even Deakins’ cinematography could help save this pile of puke.

It’s fluff, it’s that simple, so much fluff, in fact, that I think it would have even made Frank Capra sick.

When the film was first released it was basically completely ignored, which Robbins loves to use as a point to compare the film to one of Orson Welles’ masterpieces Citizen Kane which got the same treatment, but over the years it has gained a reputation, a new found respect, like the equally undeserving Ridley Scott abomination that is Blade Runner; it should have stayed ignored, plain and simple, let it wither away and rot.

It’s # 2 or 3 on the IMDb top 250, a list which in and of itself is a long, unbelievable joke; so, go figure, people are idiots who don’t want to think too much when viewing a film; maybe that’s why Haggis’ Crash got best picture.

I watched this movie after reading several reviews that rated it very highly. Not the usual prison film with violence, riots, etc., they said. Not true! Here is a movie that depicts and accepts severe bullying, both by the prisoners and the guards. The protagonist suffers biweekly beating and sodomy for the first two years; this is trivialized by the narrator as just “his routine”. Perhaps we are to think that this is a movie about the protagonist rising above such humiliation, but the biweekly “routine” is stopped only by the guards bullying the bully, and the protagonist rises only by becoming a crook. The ending is such a surprise that we have to be shown some scenes cut from earlier in the story, while the narrator explains what we missed. But most unbelievable of all is the escape. The protagonist’s cell is in the middle of a row, yet he somehow manages to tunnel through the wall not into the next cell but out to freedom! Give me a break!

I don’t get this movie at all. People say it’s so great, but I’m always like, “what’s so great about it? It’s like Stir Crazy, but without Gene Wilder.” And, I’m sorry, but Gene Wilder is great in that movie. Stir Crazy, that is–not Shawshank Redemption, which he is not in.

If you haven’t seen Shawshank Redemption, don’t bother. Here’s the story: two criminals are in prison in the 1960s and they become friends while they’re in jail. The end. Sorry you just wasted your time and money, folks. Not to sound like a broken record, but does that sound like a better story than say this one: A married man is tempted by an alluring woman in red, and practically throws his life away as his obsession with her grows. That movie is called Woman in Red. Now, which one sounds more interesting to you?

Meanwhile, back in prison, the two gentleman played by Morgan Freeman (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) and Tim Robbins (Cadillac Man) plan to break out of jail, but their plans are doomed. That part starts to get interesting, until you realize that this is just another way that Hollywood glamorizes prison life and why should we be rooting for prisoners to break out of jail anyway? If there were a movie about Jeffrey Dahmer and Charles Manson becoming friends and then they try to break out of prison, I would not be cheering them on. That’s what so hypocritical about the media, these days!

I won’t ruin the ending where someone important is dead, but I will say that I have no idea why people get so involved in a movie like this that pales in comparison to, say, a movie with real action like “The Rock” or “Silver Streak.”

If you see The Shawshank Redemption, just remember that it is going to be a disappointment and you’ll probably feel depressed about your life for weeks to come.

15 Comments

  1. “Meanwhile, back in prison, the two gentleman played by Morgan Freeman (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) and Tim Robbins (Cadillac Man) plan to break out of jail, but their plans are doomed.”
    Did we see the same movie? Red had no part in Andy’s plans other than getting Andy the rock hammer so he could carve rocks. And how were their plans doomed? Andy escaped( and don’t forget, Andy had been falsley imprisoned) and Red was paroled.
    Their prison life was hardly glamorized. Food infested with maggots, abuse from the guards and raping and bullying by other imates hardly constitutes a glamorous living situation. The only reason Brooks wanted to return to prison wasn’t because life was more glamorous in the pen, but because he had been institutionalized and could not function in non prison society.

    People are entitled to their own opinions. If you don’t like a movie because it’s just not your thing or you don’t like the style, direction, acting etc., that’s fine. But when you cite your reasons for disliking the movie on things that did not occur in the film, then that makes you a moron.

  2. There are so many potential punk band names in the following quote:

    “I didn’t need to sit through 90 minutes just to see a guy going through a crap tube barfing up his guts. Oh, give that guy an Oscar. More like Shawstank Congestion. It’s like some twisted kinda Karate Kid who’s mute and has a sort of Southern Fried Yoda for a companion. But then he’s always barfing and swimming in poop. It gets disgusting and after a while you’re like I get it and why? for godsakes.”

  3. I always like to toss a copy of “Different Seasons” to anyone who says Stephen King can’t write. Okay, “Apt Pupil” isn’t very good but the other three novellas are superb.

  4. Is that Michael Jackson on the cover?

    LOL. now that you mention it, it does look like a famous picture of him, but I can’t remember what it’s from.

  5. Eh, this film is over-rated and you’re only putting in the ridiculous reviews, as opposed to the actual forceful criticisms of the film, such as:

    “The #2 best movie of all time? Are you kidding? “Shawshank Redemption” is formulaic, dumbed-down Hollywood treacle. The heavy-handed Morgan Freeman voice-overs right away indicate that you’re in for two hours of safe, sentimental mass-appeal entertainment devoid of any irony or intelligence.

    The movie’s depiction of gays (the “Harpies” in the prison) as violent rapists out to defile decent heterosexual men needlessly promotes dangerous stereotypes.

    “Shawshank” isn’t a horrible movie. It’s just a mediocre one that doesn’t belong even near any “Best Movies of All Time” lists. “

  6. @LorenzoStDuhBois

    you’re only putting in the ridiculous reviews, as opposed to the actual forceful criticisms of the film

    I hereby dub thee Sir Obvious from the land of Obviousnia. With an O. May your uncanny ability to see the self-evident never fade.

  7. @LorenzoStDuhBois
    I don’t remember what the men are called in the novellea, but in the movie the group of men that rape Andy call themselves “the Sisters”. They aren’t gay, they are violent men who seek out smaller, weaker men to dominate. You must have missed the line where Morgan Freeman’s character says, “They aren’t homosexual. You have to be human first to be homosexual.”

  8. Formulaic – absolutely, also pulpably unrealistic. Heaviliy reminiscent of Clint Eastwood’s “Escape from Alcatraz” [1979], especially the characters.

    “Count of Monte Christo” is the classic predecessor for this prison escape / revenge on unjust society fantasy.

    If you dig prison flicks, you have to see “Blood in, Blood out”/”Bound by Honor”
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106469/

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