Tag Archives: shawshank redemption

Netflix Can Get You Ready For Awards Season

Award season is in full swing so I thought I would take this opportunity to make my first post of the new content I plan on bringing to showcase some of the movies available on Netflix that were either Best Picture winners or nominees. There are several movies available to choose from but I have chosen just a few of my personal favorites that you might enjoy.

The Godfather Parts 1 and 2

Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpieces are the first two that really stand out. Long considered two of the best films ever made as well as the only movies where both parts one and two BOTH won the best picture at the academy awards. While nominated for several awards each it might be surprising that they did not win as much as you would think of for such highly regarded masterpieces. With two outstanding performances by Al Pacino yet he received no hardware for either performance while his counterpart in the second installment, Robert De Niro received his first Oscar for playing a young Vito Corleone in Godfather Part II. if you are going to take a look at awards movies this is the perfect place to start.

Spotlight

The best picture winner at the 2016 awards ceremony is a hard-hitting look at the effects journalism can have on communities as well as the world. An in-depth look at how the Boston Globe single-handedly brought Boston’s powerful Catholic church to its knees and the domino effect it had on the country as well as the world. With an all-star cast it conveys the hard work and courage of those needed to tell this remarkable and harrowing story. You can read my full review from 2 years ago here.

The Shawshank Redemption

For years now Shawshank has been number 1 on IMDb’s viewers top 250 rated movies of all time with a 9.3 rating out of 10. With career-defining roles from Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, it is captivating from being to end the emotion that goes through the story goes equally through the viewer. Most shocking of all was that although nominated for 7 Academy Awards it walked away with exactly zero wins. It would be one of the movies that would go on to show the academy and viewers that time proves greatness, not ticket sales because the movie was ultimately considered not box office success. I wrote a commentary about this very thing a few years back and you can read it right here.

The Reader

Speaking of career-defining roles, The Reader was the movie that finally gave Kate Winslet her night on the podium to take home Oscar in 2009. She was a double nominee at the Golden Globes that year but it was The Reader that brought her gold that night. She plays Hannah Schmitz a former Nazi guard at a concentration camp who forms an unusual attachment to a young boy who she has a brief love affair with who she also enjoys having him read to her. The two are brought together again years later when he is a law student and she is put on trial for her war crimes in which her illiteracy leads to her being the only one convicted. As an adult, he strikes up a correspondence with her that ultimately leads to her putting an end to her illiteracy. You can also find other films of hers that are fantastic in a top 5 list I put together here.

Michael Clayton

Finally is one of George Clooney’s greats films and performance as the attorney/fixer, Michael Clayton. Nominated for 7 Academy Awards in 2008 which included the best picture and best actor for Clooney yet only brought home one for best-supporting actress for Tilda Swinton. Michael Clayton is an attorney with a special skillset who is used by a law firm to get the things done that no one else is willing to do. He is thrust into the firms biggest case when its lead attorney has a manic episode and threatens to wreck a case worth hundreds of millions of dollars. With an intense story that has you captured from start to finish Michael Clayton is without question a defining moment in the career of George Clooney. It also features an underrated supporting role for Sydney Pollack as this was his next to last acting role before he died in early 2008 just a few months after the Oscar ceremony. For other George Clooney selections, you may be interested in finding check out a top 5 list I put together here.

Well, there you have it, just a few movies worth checking out to get you in the mood for the always fun award season.

The Shawshank Redemptions Gets Better With Time

There are many things in this world that get better with age. Films are no different in this regard. For many of us certain films just seem to get better every time we see them. With this thought in mind I can’t help but notice one movie that has garnered more accolades and respect as the years go on, The Shawshank Redemption. Frank Darabont’s 1994 directing debut has gone on to become one of the most beloved and respected films of all time, but it did not start out that way.

The year Shawshank was released in a year that won’t soon be forgotten. With outstanding films like Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction and Disney’s The Lion King, Shawshank at the time was left twisting in the wind. This is not to say that Shawshank didn’t receive it’s fair share of recognition. It was nominated for 7 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Actor for Morgan Freeman. It walked away with zero awards that night but it would not soon be forgotten.

Shawshank would make a mere 24 million at the box office in the US essentially making it a flop in the eyes of studio executives.  But thanks to the video renting market it would go on to be the most rented movie of 1995, starting it on it’s way to becoming one of the most loved movies of all time.

IMDb’s top 250 films list, which based on fans voting, ranks Shawshank number one above the first two Godfather movies. In 1997 The American Film Institute released it’s top 100 films of all time list. This list did not include a three year old Shawshank Redemption but did include Forrest Gump at number 71. Ten years later AFI released and updated list that could include films released during the ten years since it’s initial release. In 2007’s list Shawshank came in at number 72 while Forrest Gump dropped to 76.

What is the reason for such high praise thirteen years after it’s release? I don’t think anyone can say or pinpoint one or two exact reasons for this. The only explanation I could come up with is that, it’s a movie that gets inside you and grows. It truly get’s better with every viewing. The wonderful acting and dialogue never lose their perfection as can happen. We have all seen a certain movie and walked out of the theater loving the movie and then given time and years removed we see a campiness to it’s delivery and it doesn’t strike the same chord it did originally.

Shawshank tends to have the reverse affect on many people, myself included. The heart of the film gets bigger every time. It never seems to lose it’s effectiveness. This is not to say that it’s not without it’s minor flaws and areas of believability, but they don’t distract from it’s intention and overall finished product.

What is it that keeps us coming back for more and making the film grow bigger and bigger?  It’s undoubtedly superbly written and has a flow that never waivers or has a dead spot what so ever. The cast is one of the best ever assembled despite only having two major stars. The cast is full of real professional actors that deliver performances worthy of praise from the top to the bottom of the billing. There are a million things that need to go right for a film to be decent and successful and almost every one of these things happened with this movie.

Shawshank shows no signs of slowing down in it’s continuous rise as one of the most beloved movies of all time.