Jump to content
ūüĒí The Earwolf Forums are closed Read more... √ó
Cameron H.

The Shawshank Redemption

Does The Shawshank Redemption deserve to be on the AFI list?  

16 members have voted

This poll is closed to new votes
  1. 1. Does The Shawshank Redemption deserve to be on the AFI list?

    • Take me to Zihuatanejo
      11
    • There's no hope.
      5

  • Please sign in or register to vote in this poll.
  • Poll closed on 08/02/18 at 03:59 AM

Recommended Posts

4 hours ago, grudlian. said:

Our main character is wrongfully imprisoned for decades. I mean, the entire premise of the movie is challenging even if he does escape and makes the best of his situation.

Andy is beaten, raped, put in solitary confinement, threatened by guards, kept in prison after a corrupt warden had a witness murdered in cold blood to keep wrongfully imprisoned man for profit (so, functionally literal slavery). It's a movie that's nothing but challenges for Andy. One of the film's greatest abilities is making it feel good despite what's happening to Andy. Plus, what happens to other people like Red who become broken in prison and Brooks who felt he needed to kill himself because he couldn't manage life outside.

I admit that when I watch Shawshank it does feel like a "feel good" movie but it's a horrific story.

This reminds me of a great argument I've read in favor of It's a Wonderful Life (which we'll also get to discuss eventually).  It's remembered as a heartwarming Christmas classic, and that ending is indeed heartwarming as hell . . . but it's only so heartwarming because the main character has literally tried to kill himself midway through the movie, and you in the audience understand exactly why he wants to. You can't earn the heartwarming ending without going to some dark places first. Shawshank gets that.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post

I really regret that I didn't name the choices on the poll "Get busy livin'" and "Get busy dyin.'"

  • Like 2
  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
5 hours ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Or does it?  If a wide swath of people find the movie to be extremely enjoyable/memorable/moving, is that not a great movie?  I'd argue that IMDB rating is a better measure for greatness than, say, how many Oscars a film gets.  Can only movie critics or people in the biz make such lists?  Anyway, what is 'great'?  

We bumped up on this before, I think in our thread about starting our own shuffling of the top-100... someone asked how we'd do this, and we all had our own ideas.  Is 'greatness' a objective or subjective thing in art?   

(Just playing a little devil's advocate: I personally don't think it is the greatest movie of all time, but I'm not about to argue such a huge cumulative poll as IMDB users.  I mean, maybe if it were nonsense Amazon 'second opinions' than we could dismiss the rating results right off haha.)

The argument against IMDb is that there's no control for expertise. It's not a poll of people who work in the industry, or who have careers dedicated to studying film. So the vote of a person who has seen 10 movies counts the same as that of a person who has seen 10,000. I think intuitively we all know that those opinions probably do not carry equal weight.

That said, yes, a movie that has managed to maintain popular support for as long as this movie has is clearly doing something right.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post

I loved this movie. Owned it on VHS. Watched it so many times, I memorized the trailers that preceded the movie. For the record, it was Forget Paris and Al Pacino's City Hall. I convinced myself that because these movies were sharing space with Shawshank, they must be great too. Oh brother. They. Are. Not. Loved the ep!

Share this post


Link to post

 

Boy did Amy get it wrong this time. I was so excited to listen to this episode, and was sorely disappointed. They didn't even discuss some of the best scenes or Morgan Freeman's great performance.

They missed the point entirely when it came to Andy's breathy, out-of-it voice after he left solitary confinement. That was the moment when he knew that he would succeed in escaping, that he would one day be free. Yes, he had already started digging the hole in his cell. But before that point, he had also been working to build a life within the prison, by making friends, surviving his attackers, building the library. After his second release from solitary, he was 100% focused on his escape and 100% determined to succeed. His demeanor being so different from Red's signifies that in a way, Andy is already free, whereas Red is still imprisoned.
 
They said they weren't going to nitpick, but this was very nitpicky. Filmmakers make choices to tell their stories in a dramatic way, so let them do it.
 
Also, I wish Paul and Amy would stop spending so much time talking about the films from the previous episodes! A comparison here or there is fine, but I wanted to hear them discuss Shawshank, not Ben Hur and Platoon all over again.

Share this post


Link to post

1994 was a pretty strong year for films.  I browsed through a list and was surprised at how many of the movies I saw in a theater that year.  One of those movies was Forrest Gump, which I hated.  I think I saw Pulp Fiction about five times -- for some reason, it become the movie we would see after work and after drinks before going home.  (??)  I remember how fresh Four Weddings seemed and Heavenly Creatures, and frankly Speed.  As well as all the art house movies.  And Quiz Show is the sort of movie that I adore, even though straight dramas are not my thing.  

Those Oscars were pretty disappointing, though I love Dianne Wiest for other reasons, so at least there was that.

I think Hoop Dreams is the first movie I ever talked my much older brother into seeing in a theater -- he loved it and told all his friends.  I recruited people to see that (long) movie like crazy-- people who would never see a documentary or a movie touching on real issues.   I was a one-woman PR campaign.   I'm still bitter about it not being nominated.

Edited by Susan*

Share this post


Link to post
22 minutes ago, Susan* said:

1994 was a pretty strong year for films.  I browsed through a list and was surprised at how many of the movies I saw in a theater that year.  One of those movies was Forrest Gump, which I hated.  I think I saw Pulp Fiction about five times -- for some reason, it become the movie we would see after work and after drinks before going home.  (??)  I remember how fresh Four Weddings seemed and Heavenly Creatures, and frankly Speed.  As well as all the art house movies.  And Quiz Show is the sort of movie that I adore, even though straight dramas are not my thing.  

Those Oscars were pretty disappointing, though I love Dianne Wiest for other reasons, so at least there was that.

I think Hoop Dreams is the first movie I ever talked my much older brother into seeing in a theater -- he loved it and told all his friends.  I recruited people to see that (long) movie like crazy-- people who would never see a documentary or a movie touching on real issues.   I was a one-woman PR campaign.   I'm still bitter about it not being nominated.

Didn't they change Oscar voting rules because of Hoop Dreams not being nominated? Most voters didn't even watch it as I recall. The DVD has some feature about the behind the scenes voting for it. Something about people voting to turn it off after only a few minutes.

Regardless, Hoop Dreams would, without question, make my top 100 and probably top 10 all time. It's such a monumental film and the AFI list doesn't have any documentaries unless I'm forgetting one.

Share this post


Link to post

I think one of my favorite scene is Shawshank is toward the end of the movie when Red is searching for the rock in the fields. Twice in that scene a bird chirps, and when it does, Red looks around as if he's expecting someone to jump out at him or something. I know it's not a huge scene in the movie, but it's one of those things that sticks out for me. No matter how many times I've watched this movie, I get chills. It triggers something bordering on nostalgia. It feel like when I used to go up to my grandparents' cottage when I was a kid and hiking in the woods. It's that feeling of being totally alone that is both liberating and terrifying. Everything about Freeman's mannerisms in that seen feel so absolutely real.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
4 hours ago, grudlian. said:

Didn't they change Oscar voting rules because of Hoop Dreams not being nominated? Most voters didn't even watch it as I recall. The DVD has some feature about the behind the scenes voting for it. Something about people voting to turn it off after only a few minutes.

Regardless, Hoop Dreams would, without question, make my top 100 and probably top 10 all time. It's such a monumental film and the AFI list doesn't have any documentaries unless I'm forgetting one.

I think you're right.  And wikipedia says the voters were asked to pick only narrative films so no documentaries.  

Share this post


Link to post
20 hours ago, grudlian. said:

Regardless, Hoop Dreams would, without question, make my top 100 and probably top 10 all time. It's such a monumental film and the AFI list doesn't have any documentaries unless I'm forgetting one.

You are right it is odd that there isn't one documentary on the list. Animation was over looked until the 2007 update which put Toy Story on which I have some thoughts about but will save until that episode. Even though they are talking about real events, there still is an art to it and their story telling. The editing to credit the story and the flow of it, how they use that to control and influence your emotions or thoughts. Other than "It's not a written narrative with actors" I can't think of a reason they might be excluded. I can think of some documentaries that are better than some of the movies on this list. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

It's been awhile since I read the novella that this movie was based on, and I was trying to remember what the major differences were. You have the obvious things, like Red being a white Irish guy, and somethings that just make more sense for a movie like in the book there are multiple wardens and head guards while it the movie they just have one the entire time. However, I think the biggest difference I can recall is the ending.

In the novella, it ends with Red getting on a bus Mexico bound. That's it. The movie takes in the next step further and has Red and Andy meeting on the beach. It may not seem like much of a change but I think it is a rather big one. The novella we are uncertain like Red what fate awaits him. Will him make it across? Will he find him? etc. It end on a note of hope. He hopes it'll happen, he hopes it'll be as beautiful, he hopes that he'll find Andy. However, in the movie the beach shot is so dramatically different. The tone and colours are brighter as the camera moves out to a big open shot of the beach, in stark comparison to the more muted and confined feeling of the rest of the movie. We like the characters are finally free. It is a more emotional release. If the movie ended on this note of curious hope, I don't think the movie would work as well. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
58 minutes ago, Cam Bert said:

You are right it is odd that there isn't one documentary on the list. Animation was over looked until the 2007 update which put Toy Story on which I have some thoughts about but will save until that episode. Even though they are talking about real events, there still is an art to it and their story telling. The editing to credit the story and the flow of it, how they use that to control and influence your emotions or thoughts. Other than "It's not a written narrative with actors" I can't think of a reason they might be excluded. I can think of some documentaries that are better than some of the movies on this list. 

Snow White was on the original list. I’m not sure if documentaries should be included on the list. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, CameronH said:

Snow White was on the original list. I’m not sure if documentaries should be included on the list. 

Was it? I must have missed it. Still, really of all the Disney film Snow White?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
9 minutes ago, Cam Bert said:

Was it? I must have missed it. Still, really of all the Disney film Snow White?

It was the first one. I'm sure that's why Toy Story 1 is on there, too. I think they are meant to representative of the whole. Which isn't entirely fair, of course. By that rationale, there would only be one Western on the list. I think it's the same thinking that puts The Fellowship of the Ring and A New Hope on the list and not Return of the King and The Empire Strikes Back. As I brought up on the other thread, if an updated list were to include superhero movies (and they didn't automatically go with The Dark Knight), I'm guessing they would probably pick Iron Man 1 to represent the era of superheroes and shared universes, even if it isn't necessarily the "best" the genre has to offer.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, Cam Bert said:

It's been awhile since I read the novella that this movie was based on, and I was trying to remember what the major differences were. You have the obvious things, like Red being a white Irish guy, and somethings that just make more sense for a movie like in the book there are multiple wardens and head guards while it the movie they just have one the entire time. However, I think the biggest difference I can recall is the ending.

In the novella, it ends with Red getting on a bus Mexico bound. That's it. The movie takes in the next step further and has Red and Andy meeting on the beach. It may not seem like much of a change but I think it is a rather big one. The novella we are uncertain like Red what fate awaits him. Will him make it across? Will he find him? etc. It end on a note of hope. He hopes it'll happen, he hopes it'll be as beautiful, he hopes that he'll find Andy. However, in the movie the beach shot is so dramatically different. The tone and colours are brighter as the camera moves out to a big open shot of the beach, in stark comparison to the more muted and confined feeling of the rest of the movie. We like the characters are finally free. It is a more emotional release. If the movie ended on this note of curious hope, I don't think the movie would work as well. 

I remember it ending ambiguously as well. Red gets on the bus, gives his monologue about not putting up roadblocks and hope as I recall. The movie just puts that beach reunion under the monologue. I'm curious now what Stephen King pictured since you can't really do that with a book unless he put some parenthetical note in the text (by the way, Red and Andy meet again)

1 hour ago, CameronH said:

Snow White was on the original list. I’m not sure if documentaries should be included on the list. 

I think documentaries deserve on the list of they are good enough. A movie is a movie is a movie. If the AFI says it's the top 100 movies, I'd like their top 100 movies not necessarily top 100*

Edited by grudlian.
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, grudlian. said:

I think documentaries deserve on the list of they are good enough. A movie is a movie is a movie. If the AFI says it's the top 100 movies, I'd like their top 100 movies not necessarily top 100*

I think it's about the whole package, though. I think there's a difference between truth through fiction and truth through the documentation of actual events. Even when you have a biopic - whether it be Raging Bull, Schindler's List, or Yankee Doodle Dandy - it's a fictionalize version of true events. Someone wrote the words, created the structure, lighted the scenes, learned the dialogue, performed the stunts, etc. To me, it's not just about "This is a good movie," but the skills and craft of multiple people and how all those component parts come together. 

I'm not saying that documentaries can't be well-written, structured, or filmed, but it's also kind of apples and oranges. For example, if you were going looking at a list of the best books of the 20th Century, you're probably not going to include a biography - no matter how well-written. Of course you can always say, "The best NOVELS of the 20th Century" or "The Best Narrative Films," but I feel like that's just getting into semantics.   

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, CameronH said:

I think it's about the whole package, though. I think there's a difference between truth through fiction and truth through the documentation of actual events. Even when you have a biopic - whether it be Raging Bull, Schindler's List, or Yankee Doodle Dandy - it's a fictionalize version of true events. Someone wrote the words, created the structure, lighted the scenes, learned the dialogue, performed the stunts, etc. To me, it's not just about "This is a good movie," but the skills and craft of multiple people and how all those component parts come together. 

I'm not saying that documentaries can't be well-written, structured, or filmed, but it's also kind of apples and oranges. For example, if you were going looking at a list of the best books of the 20th Century, you're probably not going to include a biography - no matter how well-written. Of course you can always say, "The best NOVELS of the 20th Century" or "The Best Narrative Films," but I feel like that's just getting into semantics.   

I think this will end up being a thing we agree to disagree on.

I think the average best books of the 20th century lists include In Cold Blood. So, there's precedence in other media to include true stories alongside fiction in canonical lists.

I think saying that documentaries shouldn't count because they don't light scenes or write dialogue is like saying animation doesn't count because you aren't seeing the actors perform or the isn't proper cinematography. Movies are more than just how they are written and lit and staged. It's the final product. If they wanted to include one of Stan Brakhage's painted films (supposing they met their feature length requirement), I'd be fine with it too.

You're right that docs and narrative films are kind of apples to oranges but isn't Star Wars and Duck Soup and Citizen Kane apples and oranges too? Can you truly call Citizen Kane the best movie if it doesn't have a single lightsaber fight?

But that's kind of getting to a larger problem I have with lists and ranking things in general.

Share this post


Link to post
On 7/29/2018 at 3:30 PM, grudlian. said:

I think this will end up being a thing we agree to disagree on.

I think the average best books of the 20th century lists include In Cold Blood. So, there's precedence in other media to include true stories alongside fiction in canonical lists.

I think saying that documentaries shouldn't count because they don't light scenes or write dialogue is like saying animation doesn't count because you aren't seeing the actors perform or the isn't proper cinematography. Movies are more than just how they are written and lit and staged. It's the final product. If they wanted to include one of Stan Brakhage's painted films (supposing they met their feature length requirement), I'd be fine with it too.

You're right that docs and narrative films are kind of apples to oranges but isn't Star Wars and Duck Soup and Citizen Kane apples and oranges too? Can you truly call Citizen Kane the best movie if it doesn't have a single lightsaber fight?

But that's kind of getting to a larger problem I have with lists and ranking things in general.

Yes, but In Cold Blood is a non-fiction novel, not a biography like Hamilton by Ron Chernow. I included three ‚Äútrue‚ÄĚ stories as examples from the AFI list in my post.¬†

And animation does light scenes and there is acting. I also never said it was just how they “are written an lit and staged." I said that was a part of it. It's about how those elements come together.

As far as Duck Soup versus Citizen Kane, their subject matter an genre may be different, but they both fit a type of Platonic ideal of what a narrative film should be. I can show you a picture of a palm tree and an apple tree and you would still recognize them as being trees, you know what I mean?

 

Share this post


Link to post

I say list what you want. The whole list is so arbitrary anyway, from judging "importance" vs. "quality" or "universality" vs. "artistic merit," it's going to be a personal choice. Plus, this is supposed to be the best American films ever made, but Lawrence of Arabia,  directed by David fucking Lean, is #5? I realize it was made by Columbia, but it's made by British people about an Englishman doing very English things in Arabia (i.e. killing non-English people). But does that mean, to be American, only American filmmakers can be involved? I would never say that! But so many David Lean movies just feel so quintessentially British that it feels weird to include this one, even if it is one of my absolute favorites. It's.... arbitrary is what I'm saying. 

Edited by Quasar Sniffer
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
15 minutes ago, Quasar Sniffer said:

I say list what you want. The whole list is so arbitrary anyway, from judging "importance" vs. "quality" or "universality" vs. "artistic merit," it's going to be a personal choice. Plus, this is supposed to be the best American films ever made, but Lawrence of Arabia,  directed by David fucking Lean, is #5? I realize it was made by Columbia, but it's made by British people about an Englishman doing very English things in Arabia (i.e. killing non-English people). But does that mean, to be American, only American filmmakers can be involved? I would never say that! But so many David Lean movies just feel so quintessentially British that it feels weird to include this one, even if it is one of my absolute favorites. It's.... arbitrary is what I'm saying. 

To an extent, I agree. However, I think including documentaries would be like inducting Wayne Gretzky to the Baseball Hall of Fame. 

Share this post


Link to post
20 minutes ago, CameronH said:

Yes, but In Cold Blood is a non-fiction novel, not a biography like Hamilton by Ron Chernow. I included three ‚Äútrue‚ÄĚ stories as examples from the AFI list in my post.¬†

And animation does light scenes and there is acting.¬†I also never said it was just how they ‚Äúare written and lit and staged.‚ÄĚ I said that was a part¬†of it. It‚Äôs about how all those elements come together.

As far as Duck Soup versus Citizen Kane, their subject matter and genre may be different, but they both fit a type of Platonic ideal of what a narrative film should be. I can show you a picture of a palm tree and an apple tree and you would still recognize them as being trees, you know what I mean?

If In Cold Blood doesn't count, what about The Diary Of Anne Frank? I don't know if important lists include it but certainly it's important enough to consider a seminal work of the 20th century. But I think you're kind of splitting hairs on non-fiction versus biography. Setting aside Hoop Dreams, something like For All Mankind, Harland County USA, Titticut Follies, and so forth aren't biographies either but about much larger events, their time and place, cultural shifts that are relevant today.

I'd argue a lot of documentaries are "written" as much as any narrative film. Since Hoop Dreams is the movie we're mostly discussing, it's five years cut into 3 hours. You could tell a lot of different stories about five years of anyone's life. The directors chose these stories to highlight.

I just think it's a weird limitation to make a canon of films and say "Well, this kind doesn't belong". But I also take issue with a lot of the AFI's arbitrary rules like winning an award when we know a ton of movies don't start building their reputation until well after its been out and rediscovered.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

My original post here is kind of catty and not what I want this discussion to be. So, I'm deleting it.

Edited by grudlian.

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, grudlian. said:

If In Cold Blood doesn't count, what about The Diary Of Anne Frank? I don't know if important lists include it but certainly it's important enough to consider a seminal work of the 20th century. But I think you're kind of splitting hairs on non-fiction versus biography. Setting aside Hoop Dreams, something like For All Mankind, Harland County USA, Titticut Follies, and so forth aren't biographies either but about much larger events, their time and place, cultural shifts that are relevant today.

I'd argue a lot of documentaries are "written" as much as any narrative film. Since Hoop Dreams is the movie we're mostly discussing, it's five years cut into 3 hours. You could tell a lot of different stories about five years of anyone's life. The directors chose these stories to highlight.

I just think it's a weird limitation to make a canon of films and say "Well, this kind doesn't belong". But I also take issue with a lot of the AFI's arbitrary rules like winning an award when we know a ton of movies don't start building their reputation until well after its been out and rediscovered.

I'm not talking about quality, though. Or even impact. I think that's where we're having the disconnect. If there was a list of the "greatest novels," then no, The Diary of Anne Frank doesn't belong there. 

As far as documentaries being "written," I conceded that in my first post. I'm in no way poo-pooing documentaries. I'm not saying that I think they're bad. I'm saying I don't know if they belong on this list - the AFI list. No one is asking you to like or agree with the AFI's rules, but they do have  rules. If you want to include docs on your personal list, or if you think another organization should be set up to include them, that's totally fine. And if such a thing were to happen, I wouldn't argue with it at all. I'm just talking about the framework of what the AFI has set up. These are what there members consider the best narrative films - even if such a distinction is only implicit.  

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, CameronH said:

I'm not talking about quality, though. Or even impact. I think that's where we're having the disconnect. If there was a list of the "greatest novels," then no, The Diary of Anne Frank doesn't belong there. 

As far as documentaries being "written," I conceded that in my first post. I'm in no way poo-pooing documentaries. I'm not saying that I think they're bad. I'm saying I don't know if they belong on this list - the AFI list. No one is asking you to like or agree with the AFI's rules, but they do have  rules. If you want to include docs on your personal list, or if you think another organization should be set up to include them, that's totally fine. And if such a thing were to happen, I wouldn't argue with it at all. I'm just talking about the framework of what the AFI has set up. These are what there members consider the best narrative films - even if such a distinction is only implicit.  

If I've come across as thinking you think documentaries are not as good as narrative movies, that's my bad. I don't think you think that at all. Sorry. I couldn't remember what all arguments you had brought up.

AFI can obviously make whatever rules they want for their own list. I understand limiting it to US films since it's an American institute. They can have movies I don't agree with because opinions are subjective. I think their rules lead to a worse list though. Most of us here lamented Swing Time being chosen over Top Hat (just as an example). Had the AFI not added a stipulation that movies needed to be award winners, maybe Top Hat would have been chosen (or not, idk). It just seems weird to me to compile a list of the best 100 movies then add a rule that serves no purpose but to exclude movies. If the list was "100 years...100 narrative films", no problem. To continue your tree comparison, it's like "Top 100 trees. NO CONIFERS!" seems like it's not the top 100 trees then.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
16 minutes ago, grudlian. said:

If I've come across as thinking you think documentaries are not as good as narrative movies, that's my bad. I don't think you think that at all. Sorry. I couldn't remember what all arguments you had brought up.

AFI can obviously make whatever rules they want for their own list. I understand limiting it to US films since it's an American institute. They can have movies I don't agree with because opinions are subjective. I think their rules lead to a worse list though. Most of us here lamented Swing Time being chosen over Top Hat (just as an example). Had the AFI not added a stipulation that movies needed to be award winners, maybe Top Hat would have been chosen (or not, idk). It just seems weird to me to compile a list of the best 100 movies then add a rule that serves no purpose but to exclude movies. If the list was "100 years...100 narrative films", no problem. To continue your tree comparison, it's like "Top 100 trees. NO CONIFERS!" seems like it's not the top 100 trees then.

It‚Äôs all good :)¬†¬†And I agree. The rules are kind of dumb. I feel like I‚Äôve been bringing up The Beatles a lot lately, but I think you would probably agree with me when I say¬†that their best songs were their album tracks. I feel like that‚Äôs what‚Äôs going on with list. We‚Äôre seeing the ‚ÄúFrom Me to Yous‚ÄĚ and not the ‚ÄúHey Bulldogs.‚ÄĚ

For clarity’s sake, they probably should specify the type of film, but I think they just assume we know, you know? Like they’re going by Academy Rules where Best Picture doesn’t necessarily best of *all* pictures. Documentaries go over there in their own category...

Share this post


Link to post

×