Author Topic: Sober Second Thought Marathon  (Read 20684 times)


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Re: Sober Second Thought Marathon
« Reply #80 on: June 26, 2015, 02:32:17 PM »
I tend to believe that also.

Although, now that you mention it ... it does bring to mind an episode of Radiolab. A Head Full of Symphonies. One of the most mind blowing episodes of the show that I can remember listening to. And for Radiolab, that' saying something.

That is saying something! I'm excited to listen to this, thanks!

That kind of simultaneousness of consciousness (or awareness) is something I never would've imagined possible. But there it is. It seems like they are constantly discovering how much more powerful our brains have the potential to be... and a story like this makes such a thing hard to rule out entirely. What do you make of it?

That ties into our amazing skills we have when we dream. :)

Smartly done. I'm not good at extracting meaning from poems unless someone points me right to it, so thanks. 

Amen! No idea what's going on with poems.


Oh Brother! :D The thing about poems, is that you can subscribe anything you want to them. Make them work in your favor. smirnoff, Shakespeare is poetry through and through, yet you love it. Poetry, schmoetry, it's just words.

P.S. When are we watching V for Vendetta again? :D

I suppose if nothing else we should at least watch it again on the fifth of November... if we remember. ;)

I'm there!


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Re: Sober Second Thought Marathon
« Reply #81 on: June 26, 2015, 07:49:44 PM »
Like what smirnoff said, the ending of the clip is the greatest. Did he change his screenplay? I should watch that movie, shouldn't I? I'd like to hear about your most favorite steak experience. I'm going to guess that you are a medium-rare kind of person. Am I right? :)

Not only did Nicolas Cage's Charlie Kaufman change his screenplay but Charlie Kaufman himself changes his screenplay. The tone completely changes before the third act. And THIS is the main brilliance of the film. See it!

My steak order is a blue(!) fillet with bearnaise sauce haha :). Australia has fantastic quality meat so I cook a lot at home too. I've also had Kobe beef in Japan, Fiorentina steaks in Florence, Chateaubriands across France and I am off to Argentina in a month for more! Every new first bite is a new experience :)
Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.
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Re: Sober Second Thought Marathon
« Reply #82 on: June 27, 2015, 09:50:54 AM »
Not only did Nicolas Cage's Charlie Kaufman change his screenplay but Charlie Kaufman himself changes his screenplay. The tone completely changes before the third act. And THIS is the main brilliance of the film. See it!

Haha! How fascinating! Thanks for telling me.

My steak order is a blue(!) fillet with bearnaise sauce haha :). Australia has fantastic quality meat so I cook a lot at home too. I've also had Kobe beef in Japan, Fiorentina steaks in Florence, Chateaubriands across France and I am off to Argentina in a month for more! Every new first bite is a new experience :)

Blue?! :o  You brave, adventurous soul! Let me know how that Argentinian steak experiences goes, k? :)


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Re: Sober Second Thought Marathon
« Reply #83 on: January 15, 2017, 02:41:36 PM »

This thread has been on sabbatical.


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Re: Sober Second Thought Marathon
« Reply #84 on: January 26, 2017, 01:49:19 AM »
Sandy: Merchant of Venice next?! Weee! More excellent verbiage coming up!
smirnoff: It's been at least 3 or 4 years since I watched it last.
Sandy: Then its a good time for a revisit.
smirnoff: I think you'll really enjoy it.
Sandy: It's one I don't know much about at all...

Merchant of Venice (Michael Radford, 2004)

Sandy & smirnoff - Wherein we meander quite a bit and end up talking about Rogue One and all things Star Wars.

Sandy: Wow!
smirnoff: Good?
Sandy: Yes! this movie worked very hard to help me understand it well.
smirnoff: That was my reaction the first time I saw it too. I had no concept of the story, but it all made sense on a first viewing.
Sandy: It makes me wish Branagh slowed down some in Hamlet. Even though he phrases so expertly, he made me work, with the speed of some of his banter!
smirnoff: The length of this play may lend itself to film length better
Sandy: true. i'm not as exhausted.
smirnoff: None of it feels like a it's in a rush
Sandy: not at all! ...nothing drags either. did you see it when it came out in 2004?
smirnoff: I did yea. And it really impressed me. The quality of the production just seemed so high. The locations and the look were top notch. It's pretty seamless.
Sandy: I wonder how much was actually photographed in Venice.

Sandy: It's part comedy and part drama, so it doesn't ever go too dark, or ever get too silly, though the rings scene is pretty silly. :)
smirnoff: The rings do get kind of silly... I think it was the courtroom drama that put it at such a high level for me initially.
Sandy: You love a good court drama!
smirnoff: I do.
Sandy: as soon as the courtroom scene came up, I thought, aha! this is a smirnoff movie.
smirnoff: :) It's such an interesting case... and I feel bad for Shylock.
Sandy: he is sympathetic. I think it could play both ways, depending on direction.
smirnoff: The movie starts out bad for him and ends worse... everyone else is perfectly happy though.
Sandy: therein lies the tragedy.

smirnoff: I guess so eh. To be honest I'm not as enthusiastic about the film as I once was.
Sandy: tell me more.
smirnoff: Well... I think it has a lot of strong scenes and it's as good an adaptation of this play as you could hope for... but it's not so deep as say a Hamlet. Not as rich in lessons... in good memorable lines. I value the drama, but the depths of it are familiar to me now. And it doesn't take me to the emotional extremes I look for.
Sandy: there isn't much more to mine?
smirnoff: That's right. I think I've run it as far as it will go for me.
Sandy: i've done that with some of my films too.
smirnoff: But you seeing it for the first time probably have a better feeling of my initial enthusiasm.
Sandy: yes, very much so! do you think it will stay in your top 100?
smirnoff: No I don't think it will.
Sandy: i wonder about some of mine too. 
smirnoff: I have at least a couple films knocking at the door that will need to be accommodated. It's tough to make time to rewatch some things... and some things you may not want to rewatch to preserve an experience... I feel that way sometimes
Sandy: ah, i feel that sometimes too!
smirnoff: There are some I have no question about, and try to stock my list with such films, but every year I look at it and a few films the reasons for being there are lost. It's strange when a film finally runs aground. It can happen at any time.
Sandy: I see them as films that have taught me all they can, at least for now, so I lay them aside.
smirnoff: Or, alternately, can experience a renewed enthusiasm and climb higher on the list! Crouching Tiger would be a good example for recent viewings. :)
Sandy: nice! Are you updating your top 100 list as we speak, or is it just theories right now?
smirnoff: Just theories. :) Top 20 though seems proper.
Sandy: can't wait to see it.
smirnoff: So where about is Merchant for you out of 10? I'm at like a 7 or 8
Sandy: I'm about there too, number wise. It tackles a really tricky subject, for our day and age and I'm so impressed that they could bring out both sides of the story
smirnoff: From what I understand, in its day, this was a straight comedy.
Sandy: interesting!
smirnoff: From which I take to mean, there was no intention of having sympathy for the jew
Sandy: so Shylock was a brunt of a joke?
smirnoff: yeah, exactly.
Sandy: then I am doubly impressed with what the film did
smirnoff: The director speaks about it in the commentary as I recall... the decision to make a tragedy of it... It tells you something of the times...
Sandy: yes, and here we think about the Jews being vilified in the 1930's, but this has been going on for a very, very long time.
smirnoff: Yeah... back then it's like they deserved ruin regardless of actions
Sandy: no land, no rights, then they get demonized for being money lenders.
smirnoff: Terrible right?
Sandy: trying to make their way in the world. they can't win
smirnoff: yea, What choice was there
Sandy: none
smirnoff: Interesting to learn the origin of Geto/Ghetto.
Sandy: oh! yes.
smirnoff: I love a good bit of etymological trivia. hope that's the right word.
Sandy: if you say etymological is a word, I believe you!
smirnoff: adjective: etymological relating to the origin and historical development of words and their meanings. I remember reading a book once.. it was the etymology of tons of interesting phrases and words. cool stuff.
Sandy: I'd like to read it... I read a really interesting book. Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages. never has the dictionary been so interesting.  :)
smirnoff: That sounds neat. What sort of things does he uncover?
Sandy: just really fun words and his journey.
smirnoff: Sounds like it would have some funny parts.
Sandy: there are! it's been so long, I can't remember specifics, just an overall enjoyment. can you imagine doing that?
smirnoff: I guess if I knew i was going to document the experience in a book I could picture it.
Sandy: you are tenacious like that! do you remember any specifics from your book?
smirnoff: no, it was too long ago.
smirnoff: I remember a few times reading the Master and Commander series there was some awesome word origins which were explained. I can't remember them though now 
Sandy: our minds can only hold so much!
smirnoff: yea, it's the stuff I would love to remember but can't
Sandy: you made room for other great stuff... I've learned quite a bit this evening... like, ladies don't wear shirts in Venice  :))
smirnoff: Yeah, they really don't do they! Like almost none of them.
Sandy: nope!

Sandy: too humid, I guess
smirnoff: hah
Sandy: :D
smirnoff: Did you put yourself together a filmspot ballot?
Sandy: Yes, I had a little window of time today, so I threw something together. I didn't see a whole lot from 2016. Do you want to know my top movies?
smirnoff: Yea!
Sandy: can I know your top movies?
smirnoff: Sure.
Sandy:) thanks! I'd love to know ... 1. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 2. Arrival 3. Dr. Strange 4. The Lobster 5. Hidden Figures
smirnoff: 1. Hunt for the Wilderpeople 2. Sing Street 3. The Witch 4. Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru 5. Deadpool
Sandy: haha! I haven't seen yours!
smirnoff: I've seen exactly none of those films.  :))
Sandy: hahaha
smirnoff: haha
Sandy: you and I have some catching up to do! I bet I would love your choices
smirnoff: Indeed, I should make yours a priority. Sandy approved
Sandy: :)
smirnoff: Rogue One eh!
Sandy: there's something really fascinating about how Arrival comes forth. Do you like star wars stuff? Wait!yeah you do! Jedi!!
smirnoff: yeah. I'm a little "hmm" on it after force awakens.
Sandy: Rogue one is what force awaken should have been
smirnoff: Oh that's good!
Sandy: i didn't like force awakens, was pretty bleh, about it
smirnoff: I was all but committed to not bothering to see rogue one after FA. Now I am excited about it! FA was bleh!
Sandy: ha! is that a good word for it?
smirnoff: It works. There were bits I liked but a lot I didn't
Sandy: If you watch it, It would be fun to talk with you about your experience
smirnoff: Will do!
smirnoff: What bothered you most about FA?
Sandy: it's the same story as #4
smirnoff: Yeah...
Sandy: how about you?
smirnoff: I found I didn't like almost all the parts that referenced or came from the original series.
Sandy: yep!
smirnoff: Han Solo's presence, Leia's presence, etc
Sandy: yep, yep!
smirnoff: I think there are only two things from the OS I liked. The reference to the millenium falcon as "garbage" (made me laugh), and Luke Skywalker being old and grizzled... but not in how he was used.
Sandy: the last reveal?
smirnoff: well... more that just finding him was the main goal. I liked Rey and the ex storm trooper characters.... they were a good combo... I wish they'd just kept adding new characters like that to their crew.
Sandy: yes, then you'll like rogue one! new characters! ensemble!
smirnoff: Yeah, I think I will. My only gripe is that it's not forward in the timeline, it's a prequel or whatever
Sandy: there is that. It's a piece of the puzzle
smirnoff: Also, from what I understand, Wedge Antilles isn't a character in it.
Sandy: looking him up

smirnoff: he's the unsung hero of the original series.
Sandy: aw, tell me more
smirnoff: After Skywalker destroyed the Death Star, he and Antilles were left as the only survivors of Red Squadron.
smirnoff: In the years that followed, Antilles became a respected member of Rogue Squadron, flying as Rogue Three during the Battle of Hoth. Antilles and his gunner aboard an T-47 airspeeder, Wes Janson, became the first duo to successfully destroy one of the All Terrain Armored Transports. Antilles commanded Red Squadron during the Battle of Endor, and he and General Lando Clarissian destroyed the second Death Star during the battle. That's all quoted from Wookiepedia
Sandy: have you ever played rogue squadron?
smirnoff: You bet.
Sandy: it was popular here
smirnoff: He's in every movie just kind of doing his job... not dying
Sandy: Antilles, my hero! :D
smirnoff: And he's even in the end of Jedi, celebrating and hugging everyone.

Sandy: side character that you love. doing his thing quietly
smirnoff: That's right. He's my guy. As a kid I didn't want to be luke, I wanted to be wedge
Sandy: of course! His picture looks familiar, but I need to see the movies again and keep an eye out for him
smirnoff: Mark Rylance would make a great old Wedge.
Sandy: aw, mark rylance has a great face!
smirnoff: wedge should be commander of the rebel fleet. not old Leia
Sandy: yeah, what was that about? She's a princess. a diplomat
smirnoff~: Yeah... it should've been wedge giving everyone the pep talk... "look I've blown up two death stars and brought down an ATAT with a tow cable".
Sandy: but smirnoff! He wouldn't toot his own horn! that would be so unlike him
smirnoff: True.. another character would utter his achievements to the guy next to him during the briefing
Sandy: yes, that's it! Hey! they should cast you! You could extol his greatness!
smirnoff: hah 
Sandy: You know Empire is my favorite SWs movie and that tow cable is a liitle bit why.
smirnoff: Tow cable is pretty fun.
Sandy: yeah, so ingenious
smirnoff: Wedge is the guy who says "Whoah, that got him"
Sandy: ha! I'm SO going to watch it again, so I can see him!

Sandy: what do you think about this? Since Merchant of Venice is in our marathon, would you like me to put our mini chat in the thread? since it's not giving you as much as it used to do, impact wise? Or would you like to talk about it more extensively over time?
smirnoff: I don't know if it's worthy
Sandy: :) the mini chat then?
smirnoff: I don't know that I have the enthusiasm to write more on it
Sandy: haha. I think for movies that we want to ponder on, the other way is much more fulfilling, but this movie, may just need to have a small convo for closure.
smirnoff: I think that makes sense yeah
Sandy: then when you're ready for a bigger review, we can go that route. Anytime in the future. This one is a place holder.
Sandy: our marathon is active!


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Re: Sober Second Thought Marathon
« Reply #85 on: January 26, 2017, 04:07:36 AM »
How can you follow Shakespeare and type at the same time?
« Society is dumb. Art is everything. » - Junior


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Re: Sober Second Thought Marathon
« Reply #86 on: January 26, 2017, 08:12:14 AM »
I can't. :)

We watched the movie separately and then chatted later.


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Re: Sober Second Thought Marathon
« Reply #87 on: January 28, 2017, 01:25:48 AM »
Have I ever said how entertaining you two are?  Well, you are.  Great discussion.
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky


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Re: Sober Second Thought Marathon
« Reply #88 on: January 28, 2017, 02:43:24 PM »
Thank you, oldkid. You're very patient to read that, expecially since we talked about everything but the movie! :)


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Re: Sober Second Thought Marathon
« Reply #89 on: December 27, 2017, 09:25:27 AM »
Shawshank Redemption
Sandy & smirnoff
"...I have to remind myself that some birds aren't meant to be caged." - Red

Sometimes you have to approach a movie aware of its crater. Shawshank is a film that made an impact. Perhaps not immediately, but sometime in the last 20+ years. In coming to a film like that for the first time a person may experience all kinds of feelings. Excitement certainly, but perhaps pressure too. What will I see? Do I know too much about it that I've compromised the experience? These sorts of questions may go through a persons head. But then you hit play and the movie starts.

  • Let me interject here and say, you are asking all the right questions! I'm not sure when you watched this first, but you understand well what it's like to have a movie so known and to not be a part of its cinematic zeitgeist. This is what it's been like for me with Shawshank Redemption. I've known about it for a very long time and have heard pieces here and there and even seen a few scenes, so I knew enough, but not really. How could I know the whole of what this was going to be? I waited so long to see it, all the worries of knowing too much were long gone and I was just so ready to finally sit down with it. Deep down I knew I would love it and that's all that mattered. :)

    • Allow me to interject with this gif and welcome you to the club.

      • :))

        I've been reeled in (film pun intended!).

    There have been movies where my tardiness and my peripheral exposure hurt my experience with them. Annie Hall comes to mind. By the time I got to it, I knew way too much. Do you have movies which passed you by and the further away it got, the more concerned you were that all the knowledge you built up around it would ruin it for you?

    • I'm sure I must, though it's hard to think of specific titles. Sometimes there are movies you initially are enthusiastic to see, and you add it to a list, but later you forget your enthusiasm and the prospect of watching it feels more like an obligation. 4 Weeks, 3 Months, 2 Days is a film like that for me. "One day..."

      Generally I think those experiences are the ones that end up being a bit disappointing. But I guess that's less a case of fore-knowledge and more just a loss of interest. Maybe Cool Hand Luke would be a better example. Like you and Shawshank I've seen clips of it, heard the famous quotes and probably have enough knowledge of it to get any references to it, and yet I've never actually seen it. Would it be ruined? That's probably not a fair question because I've never been that jazzed to see it. For me, from a young age I faced very few obstacles when it came to seeing what I wanted to see, and that's never changed. So it would be quite unusual at this point to have a film more than a couple years old that I'm stoked about seeing but haven't yet.

      • Great point. You see something in the moment, if it really matters to you. With the sheer volume of films out there, this sifting seems very organic. You might miss out, but for the most part, you are getting to the ones which speak to you.

        I don't think you would get much more out of Cool Hand Luke than what you've already gleaned from it. The impact of it is in it's newness. Nothing much would be new to you now. It would play out like a TiVo'd football game, where you already have been given all the highlights.

        • It makes you wonder, at what point is it just too late to bother. Some films, in hindsight, really do feel like you need to strike while the iron is hot. Trying to turn someone on to, say, Hackers at this point would be an uphill battle. Weirdly though, if you have seen a movie at it's prime, very often it seems to hold it's value even as the world moves past it. Go figure :))

          • :)) I didn't even know Hackers existed! Would you say it holds it's value? Or was this bad even then?

            • It was goofy even then. How the characters interfaced with the computers was so far beyond reality, but that's always been that case I guess. The film has spirit and came out at the right time. It's been ages since I've watched it in full, but I'm sure it would be good for a laugh or two.

              • That would be a good list. Top 5 Most Dated Movies. :) I hope to see it some day, so I can laugh along too.

            I think of True Lies as a movie you saw at just the right time and one that probably holds it's value for you. I would be sad to watch it and not be able to share all the joy you have in it, but I could still try and watch it through your eyes and have a lot of fun with it that way. Or! Is TL the best thing ever and I've missed out big time?!

            • Oh the comedy holds up big time. Jame Lee Curtis really is hilarious. And I contend that the (live) action is still top tier. It's a tight film all around. What dates it is using a middle earstern nuclear threat on american soil as the backdrop for an action comedy. Post 9/11 it's not such a throw away "movie" idea... it hits a little closer to home. Every film era has it's go-to bad guys. It hardly matters, it's just not the plot they would use today I believe.

              • The few scenes you've linked for me are super fun! I'm going to get to this one someday too! Much higher priority than Hackers. :)

In beginning Shawkshank for the first time how long did it take to quiet these thoughts? A scene or two? Or were you in good hands from the moment it began? The Castlerock logo appears and an old-timey song kicks in and the journey begins.

  • Yes! It had me at the lighthouse logo and the opening notes to, "If I Didn't Care." :D (btw, this song is a perfect intro to the quietude of Andy. "If I didn't care more than words can say... And what makes my head go 'round and 'round while my heart stands still?")

    • Hooray for movies that get you right away! :)

Another possibility exists... a sad one in which the film plays and never quite brings you into its world. Can you describe your feelings in approaching this film and those initial moments when it first got started?

  • I'll let the song speak for me too, "If this isn't love, then why do I thrill?" I was already so far into goodwill for this movie, I don't think it was in any danger of losing it. Case in point, I even geeked out a little (or a lot, but I won't confess to that!) over the font used during the opening credits and later looked it up. :)) So far, I haven't found a satisfying answer.

    • Wade Sans Light. Sometimes you just gotta up and tell google exactly what you want. In this case "Shawshank font". :)

      • Whoa! There it is. So beautiful. The site I was reading said, possibly ITC Leawood Std Medium and I said, Not even close! :)

Can you remember back to the first time you saw it? What was your reaction and how does it compare to your most recent viewing?

When I was young I think the idea of mistakenly winding up in jail struck me as a real and terrifying possibility. I sort of glanced over the extraordinary and unfortunate set of circumstances that led to Andy's fate, and saw his story as one which could happen to anybody. A possibility much nearer than what it probably is. This skewed view of things really focused me on Andy's character. I felt, if anything, that I would be even more vulnerable than he was, and so everything that befell him felt like it could very well happen to me in that situation.

I don't know if perhaps it was an age thing... but a story like this would really trigger me to start running through scenarios. "How would I handle myself"... "What would I say".... I would start playing scenes out in my head imagining how they might go, the same way a person might rehearse what they are going to say when they are meeting someone important for the first time and not wanting to screw it up. A first date or a interview, say. I think maybe it's because I've never intimidated anyone in my life before... and prison struck me as a place where it might help to be... not me. lol

So I think in those early years watching the movie I took lessons from how Andy got by. He made friends, and he made himself useful with his accounting skills. For me it was a survival story. And it is a survival story of course, but there are other issues being explored which I didn't really absorb at the time.

My most recent viewing I took more in than I had before. Perhaps this comes with maturing but I felt more of a kindship with Red's character. In addition to relating to Andy I found I also related to Red now. A man who carved out his own niche. Capable. Someone who has found his way of getting by. Two characters at different stages of prison life. At least that's where the story begins. But as the film progresses a real sadness creeps into Red's character. Or a fear. And that was a story that hit me in a big way.

It creeps in with the sad Letter from Brooks. I think that letter affects Red more than any other character. Why is that? I think it's proximity. Let me explain what I mean. It's clear watching the movie that Brooks had more years on him than most anyone else in Shawshank. You know it by his grandfatherly appearance, but also by the number on his chest. When you start looking around you'll notice that every prisoner has a 5-digit number on their shirt. You can't always make out all the numbers on account of their jackets covering them up or a pair of suspenders, but as an example, the guy with a stutter, his number starts with 32***. Andy's number is 37927. Later in the film when the "new guy" shows up, the one who Andy teaches his letters, his number is 46419. It's easy to establish that these numbers are not random but instead are sequential and reflect when a person has arrived at the prison. So how about Brooks? While you never get to see all of it, his number begins 3009*. A much lower number than any other person in the prison, as you would expect given his age. When I said Brooks' letter affected Red more than anyone, and it was because of his proximity, guess who the only other character is whose number starts with 30***?

It's a powerful part of story I had never fully appreciated before... how it is developed, and the scenes that reinforce it, and how it is paid off. I had always regarded the film as the uplifting story of Andy Dufresne escaping prison. The climax being his making it out of the drainpipe to freedom. But this time I was even more moved by the story of Red escaping his own fate, saved by his promise to a friend.

So while I've seen it several times before, I am seeing some parts of it, like yourself, for the first time. At least in a sense. :)

And because of the nature of this film and it's depth, you will continue to find new perspectives as your own life experiences bring you new ways of seeing it. I have so many thoughts and questions with what you've written, but I didn't want to chop into your words, so hopefully I'll still capture most of them.

You really did have exposure to some hefty subject matter when you were young. I think I remember Adam Kempenaar saying in one of his podcasts that as a kid he was watching movies he had no business watching. Maybe you feel the same way, maybe not! I'm not sure how many kids your age were contemplating how to navigate their way through false imprisonment. And then to take it the direction you did and apply it to other scenarios, be it an interview, or first date, :) is impressive. You are an old soul, smirnoff and I say that as a huge compliment. These early serious contemplations may have made you feel vulnerable, but they also have been a template of sorts throughout your life serving you well in your ability to parse things out, look outside the box and analyze what is going on around you. Also, learning from Andy's survival techniques was a wise move, for a young kid. Being observant, respectful and patient, looking at the long term is something even grown ups struggle to learn.

  • It can be powerful watching a movie at a point in your life when no other experience has yet broached a subject. I sort of think of it like filling a void. The first thing you throw into it doesn't ever go away, it's just more and more jammed in place by what gets thrown on top of it. It may be covered up, but it's still there. So you have to be careful what you throw in, or lucky. Movies are perhaps overly romantic in how they portray the world, but there are probably worse things to build off of. It's hard to identify the movies that inform how we are, but we all have them I think. :)

    • We do. :) And this forum is where the ones who are cognizant of this come to congregate! Recognizing films are building blocks in our lives is what makes film so invaluable to us. Great analogy, btw.

I really enjoyed this sentence! "prison struck me as a place where it might help to be... not me. lol" :D I must say, I think I'm in the same boat.

Amazing catch with the prison numbers! I'm so glad you pointed that out to me. I have a little story here, to add. I have a friend who is in prison and has been there a long time. Sometimes I send him a little money to help him make phone calls, or have letter writing materials, or snacks to share with his friends. The form has a place for the inmates ID and I have to put a 0 in front of his number. Because he has been there so long, they are now using an added placement for their ID numbers.

  • I imagine that might play into the social dynamics of prison life, walking around with a sign on you that gives everyone a pretty good idea of when you got there. I wonder if it becomes a point of some pride. In an environment with so few ways to gain recognition for anything, I can imagine people might look at it that way. :-\

    • Longevity, surviving in an institution such as this, must bring some recognition. My friend gets called "old man" there and is given a measure of deference. Even with compromised ethics, there is still a sense of honor prevalent. Much like the old west, there are rules and codes of conduct, even if they aren't well understood by those who don't reside there.

This first time through the film, I thought of my friend. Institutionalization is a very real thing. From a movie full of fantastic quotes, this is one of them which stays with me most,

"These walls are kind of funny. First you hate ’em, then you get used to ’em. Enough time passes, gets so you depend on them. That’s institutionalized. They send you here for life, that’s exactly what they take. The part that counts, anyways."

  • It seems to be one of those films where when you go to look up a quote on imdb you basically see the entire screenplay. :))

    • So true!!

    But I agree, that line and that scene are very memorable.
The other one I find rattling around my head a lot it, "Get busy living, or get busy dying." A mantra for me through and through. No squandering the moments! Do you have a favorite line?

  • I like Red's response to that line. "That's god damn right". :)

    • Yes! What a punctuation.

Earlier in the film when they're sorting books and The Count of Monte Cristo comes up as being about a prison break, Red chimes in "We ought to file that under educational too, oughtn't we?". It's a funny line, but I especially enjoy him saying "oughtn't we". I've never heard that before. :)

  • Ha! Well, he's taking his new found literary persona to heart!

I like that when Andy finishes reading Brooks' letter it is Red that the camera focuses on. Morgan Freeman is such a good Red.

Yes, he is Red. I've known who Morgan Freeman is since I was a little girl watching Electric Company. It was like having my own Andy-tutor! ;)

And because Mr. Freeman helped me learn how to read, he basically can do no wrong in my eyes as an actor. The fact that he is so skilled plays a bigger part though. :)

Deep pull! My own introduction to Morgan Freeman only goes back to Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

Did we do a duo review of this? I remember talking a lot about it with you. I hope we recorded it! :)

I don't think we had a formal review, but it was discussed. Coincidently, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves begins in a prison. :)

It does! "That's for five years of hell!"

Like you this time around, I mostly stayed with Red and his story. If I were younger and without worry for my friend and his future outside of prison, I would have been drawn to Andy's narrative. As it was, I was holding my breath for Red. You and I were having a similar experience. Showing the different stages -- Andy, Red and Brooks was masterfully executed.

I agree. And quite thoughtful about it too. For instance, when we first meet Brooks he is the old man with a little bird in his pocket. We later learn he is the prison librarian, as we see him wheel his cart from cell to cell. A day comes when Andy gets "reassigned" to the library to help Brooks. When Andy shows up we see that Jake the raven is fully grown... a nice time marker. Anyways, take a look at Brooks. More specifically take a look at his cardigan.

Like Brooks it's a little tired. A snag here, a bit frayed there. Years pass, Brooks leaves Shawshank and sadly takes his life. Andy, after years of letters, gets what he needs to expand the library, and we see the sign which dedicates the new space to Brooks Hatlen. It's a touching tribute. Perhaps more touching though is Andy himself... knowingly or unknowingly stepping into the shoes, or in this case the sweater, of his old friend.

While it may seem like Andy has been in prison a long time, this subtle touch puts "long" into perspective. As yet, Andy's sweater has very few miles on it in comparison. Brooks and Andy are the only two characters we see wearing that sweater. It goes unmentioned, but it's an awfully nice touch on the part of the filmmakers. The film has several thoughtful touches like that I believe.

Aw smirnoff, I soak this stuff up! What a beautiful detail to catch. If a film cares to go to this level, I'm a huge fan and now I'll always be more mindful of costuming choices because of these sweaters. :)

The film has a few thoughtful details like this. Not bookends per se, but nice reflections.

When Andy first arrives at Shawshank he is washed clean of any outside contaminants.

A ritual which is repeated as he leaves Shawkshank behind.

Or the way they frame these two shots could be interpreted in all kinds of ways.

One is the view out of the warden's safe, the other the view out of Andy's tunnel. In the picture of the safe, Andy's there. In the picture of the tunnel he's gone. There's a symbolic irony in mirroring a safe and an escape tunnel. It's a nice little "just dessert" for the warden, which is only for us the audience to enjoy. It elevates how wonderfully crafted Andy's plan feels. :)

Oh! I missed these! Most Excellent catches. How could a movie with so much attention to detail and symbolism not land in my top 50?! :) The pics make me want to dissect more movies, to find moments as good as these. Thanks for having such eagle eyes!

Seen-it-a-dozen-times eyes is probably more accurate. :)

That answers my question! So, as a kid, was Shawshank on rotation similar to T2?

T2 was a summertime every day kind of thing. Shawshank was more of a yearly ritual. :)

That's right! I wasn't doing my math. If Shawshank was similar to T2 in viewings it would be uncountable!

If a person were really inclined to reach there is a rather curious pattern to Red's journey reflected in the colours throughout the final chapter of the film. What makes me wonder if there's anything to it is that the colour in question happens to be red. You'll have to indulge me a bit as I take you down this particular rabbit hole. :)

It begins when Red is sitting alone in his room at the halfway house, and ultimately makes the decision to go find that hay field in Buxton and fulfill his promise to Andy. His choice to buy a compass instead of a gun from the pawn shop marks the start of this pursuit, and it is revealed to us while he sits upon a red chair.

He hitches a ride on a red truck to arrive in Buxton

He finds the hay field in question with the large tree Andy spoke to him about. And he indeed finds the black volcanic rock. Curiously there is a faint red streak on it.

When he pulls up the box below it, it is trimmed in red.

When he reads the letter within the box it encourages him to "come a little farther", and he takes a red trimmed bus to get there.

When he at last arrives we discover Andy working on an old boat, He's scraping away a layer of blue paint and revealing the red.

If this all seems like a bit of reach, perhaps it is. I don't really know. I do know it is a film of quite drab colours generally. Blues & greys. The transition of the boat from blue to red may reflect nothing or it may symbolize the stripping away of that old life, revealing the red, or Red, beneath it. What difficult work it is, but how worthwhile. A person could observe that all the red we see outside of the prison is precisely because we are finally outside of the prison. And they would be right. Red is a colour rarely seen in Shawshank. With perhaps one notable exception. The beer scene. The men take a break from their work atop the plate factory roof, sit down and enjoy "ice cold Bavarian-style beer". Just as uncommon as the sight of beer within the prison is the sight of something red.

Red makes a noteworthy remark... "We sat and drank with the sun on our shoulders and felt like free men".

A hint of red, a hint of freedom, a hint of things to come.

Exceptional reaching, smirnoff! I don't see it as a stretch, for there is too much evidence you've put before the jury. Red is free. Both the man and the color. LOVE IT! Red is also the color of blood (life) and Red got busy living.

He certainly did. :)

"Just Desserts." There is  a lot of karma swirling around in this film. I'm no expert in the term, but there is a certain satisfaction in seeing evil being thwarted and decency rewarded. Some people may find this to be too saccharine? I don't know. I tend to want movies with healthy doses of justice and mercy. Where do you land in all of this?

I get satisfaction out of it as well. Justice or comeuppance in a film can have a reassuring quality. It could be criticized as being too easy a quality to capitalize on... or that too many films go to that well too often. One may see it so often they begin to feel as if that kind of justice is film fantasy, and that it doesn't reflect real life (Since their own lives have never had a moment like that). But I think the thing to remember is that every film is a summation of a different character's life... and within that life they only experience that level of karmic justice once. A person may watch a hundred different films and witness epic karmic justice in each one, but that is a hundred lives with singular great moments, not one life with a hundred great moments. So while movies do tend to revolve around extremes (of greatness, of sadness, of revenge, of humour, or of tragedy), I think that people may find that when they look back on their whole entire lives they too will have had an extreme moment of their own. One so poetic it may seem made up.

I knew I asked the right question! All this awesomeness just pours out of you! Each film, each life, wants to be taken on it's own merit. I can think of an extreme moment or two in my life, so a movie should have the same leeway! Thanks for such a great answer. And, it reminds me why we tend to like the same kind of movies. :)

Do you ever play the game in your head of imagining your life as film and how your story might be told? Where it might be going? How it might end? Who directs it and scores it? Who plays you?! Please tell me I'm not the only one to have been this momentarily narcissistic. I don't really have answers for these embarrassing questions, but I admit I have thought about it. I don't know if it's healthy or not, but those times you're feeling kind of flat and need something to give you a kick in the butt, imagine you're the star of your own film and people are watching. And try not to get stuck in the part of the film where your character hits the snooze button for the 5th time in a row. :)

Cute face up there! :) Aw smirnoff, I'd so watch a film with you the star of it, and I do want to see the part where you snooze the button for the 5th time! Comedy gold! And no, you're not the only one to feel this way.

"Everyone is necessarily the hero of his own life story." -- John Barth

"All the worlds a stage..." -- Shakespeare

"A world that's far away, where life is not unkind. The movie in my mind." Kim, Miss Saigon

"I like to imagine that all my experiences are scenes in a movie where in the end, they will all make sense and be part of a great arc."  -- me.

See! You're in good company. :) If you figure out the answers to your own film's questions, let me know!

An aside: That reminds me of my favourite line now! "LORD, IT'S A MIRACLE! The man up and vanished like a fart in the wind!" :)) Dude delivers that line SO well. It always made me giggle as a kid because he said fart. It still does if i'm honest, but you've gotta appreciate what a perfect description that is for something vanishing. lol


I looked up the perfect age for fart jokes, but got sidetracked with olden day jokes. Othello has a nice one,

CLOWN: Are these, I pray you, wind instruments?
FIRST MUSICIAN: Ay marry are they, sir.
CLOWN: O, thereby hangs a tail.
FIRST MUSICIAN: Whereby hangs a tail, sir?
CLOWN: Marry, sir, by many a wind instrument that I know.

I did find that about age 7 is when fart jokes are king. So smirnoff, in your heart of hearts, you are a 7 year old. ;)

I embrace my true self. :)

Shakespearean fart jokes. How fine!


Another thoughtful visual touch is how the structure brooks ties his noose to could be viewed as resembling the bars of a cell... reflecting the permanence of Brooks' being institutionalized, or a gesture to die where he felt most at home.  :'(

I didn't see this either! I do remember him saying in the letter, he wishes he could come back "home." :(

But lets rewind a bit and I'll ask you about the reveal. This being a film you had some prior knowledge of, how much were you aware of? When the warden throws a rock at "Fussy Britches" did you expect there to be a giant hole behind it? Not that I think knowing everything or nothing at all would change the experience that much... in fact rewatching the film with a knowledge of what's going to happen, and how, adds a layer of meaning to some early scenes. But I am curious how much of it was a surprise. :)

It was a big surprise! I knew Andy escaped, but I didn't know how he did it. I thought he might have tunneled under his bed, or got a key from the warden's office. When the warden started throwing the rocks, I was afraid for Red and the guards. And then, seeing Red's reaction to the tunnel is how I felt -- Huh?! I was as dumbfounded as he was. :D

That's great. The reveal, or more specifically Red's telling of it is such a great moment. What a plan! :)

In your own scenarios you went through as a kid, were you able to come up with an escape plan that was a little less biohazard-ey? :)

:) I don't remember ever thinking about that. I do remember wondering what I might say to the parole board, as if prison were something that you could talk your way out of. It seemed like Red was saying all the right things.

You were a much more intellectual kid than I! After seeing The Poseidon Adventure, all I could think of was how to escape my house if it were turned upside down! :D

That's much more fun! :)

But now I don't know how to talk in front of a parole board!

You'd be fine. I'm sure they would be confused as to how you could have possibly ended up in prison in the first place. :)

I'd like to hear more about this, "...rewatching the film with a knowledge of what's going to happen, and how, adds a layer of meaning to some early scenes." :)

Well, this one would surely stand out on a second viewing (if it hasn't come to mind already). The scene when the Warden comes into Andy's cell during a "routine check".  Andy and the warden exchange some pointed bible verses, but what's happening under the warden's nose is what strikes you later. The way Captain Hadley roughly tears Andy's room apart it feels like he could take a swipe at that poster at any moment. And of course later in the scene the Warden refers to the poster unapprovingly. Eek! But most of all of course is Andy's rock hammer hidden in his bible which the warden holds in his hands and almost takes with him, returning it at the last moment saying "I'd hate to deprive you of this. Salvation lies within"... which Andy later throws back at him when he sneaks his bible into the Wardens safe and inscribes it with the same line.

Red has the perfect laugh for something that good. :)

Nothing is more delightful, than Red's delight! :) ...It is more and more apparent why you've seen this movie multiple times. Thanks for these scenes, I'll be looking closely at them when I return to it.

I don't recall a time ever seeing Andy as anything but innocent, but in fact it's a good while into the film before the question of his innocence, if it ever was in question, gets put to rest. So there really isn't anything to say he didn't kill his wife during that first half or so of the film. It's a question you can only have on that first viewing though.... so I'm curious if it was a question in your mind during that time.

I wanted him to be innocent, but I also believed he could very well not be, so I embraced the possibilities of both. Even inside a murderer, there can be found humanity. The not knowing, puts the challenge of empathy and comprehension on my shoulders and makes me dig deep to find them. I'm glad I didn't know, initially.

If you were going to put one of Andy's posters on your wall, which would you choose? And why? :)

Provided I weren't trying to cover up a giant hole, I like Raquel Welch. She's not hiding anything. :)

She is absolutely, skimpily sexy, so I can see why this would be your choice!

I feel like Thomas Newman's score deserves a big mention. I don't think it has become as iconic as the film itself, but still it's wonderful. I expect anyone who has seen the film would recognize it's several themes immediately, I wonder if anyone could bring one to mind and hum it though? :)

This might be the best compliment the composer would like to hear. Loving the music, but not readily picking out a tune shows a very high level of seamlessness. How many times do you think you've seen Shawshank? Have you found certain refrains are your favorites? I'd like to know them. I can't remember a note while sitting here, but I bet that I too could listen to the soundtrack and pick out several moments in the film. In fact, I'm going to do that right now! :)

Oh wow, well I think the ending is great. When the camera is pulling away and Andy and Red embrace it is quietly joyous. It is captured in the last minute of this track.

This is so subtle. It could have been overwrought, but chose to not upstage the actors and story and let them shine... And then the music gets to take center stage again over the credits. Beautiful.

I'm curious if you found the film resembled anything you had seen before in any way... what other films may have come to mind during the viewing

During the movie, I thought of Les Mis. Innocent or no, these men are branded. Jean Valjean got busy living, but instead of taking his hotel guests on charter fishing trips, he became mayor and adopted an orphan. The path we've been on informs, but it doesn't have to dictate.

Great parallels there!

I also thought of Cast Away, but then again many movies and life itself make me think of Cast Away. :))  Hope. "Who knows what the tide will bring?"

I do love the discussion of hope in Shawshank. The evolution of the idea, specifically as it relates to Red. He is the first to warn Andy against it. "Hope is a dangerous thing". He's fearful enough of it he can hardly bring himself to play the harmonica Andy gives him. He manages only one soft note, alone in his cell, before putting it down. And yet by the end of the film, and with encouragement from a friend, his feelings do change. It's a big and moving change. The importance of the journey is highlighted in that it culminates with the last line of the film. Red simply says, "I hope"... the delivery tells you that it's the first time the character has dared to do so.

How about you? Are there movies you think about when watching Shawshank?

In the Matrix Cypher insists on being put back into the Matrix. In some ways it resembles Brooks' wanting to go back to Shawshank. It feels like a warning not to underestimate how powerful such urges can be. When people are lost in a tunnel they are encouraged to see the light at the end of it... but there are lights at both ends.