Down in Back: ‘The Shawshank Redemption’


I have maybe seen five movies in my lifetime (all numbers approximate). I hated “The Avengers,” and loved “In Bruges.” I’m not exactly sure why, but I just have never been a movie-watcher. I have quite a few TV shows I enjoy, so maybe it has to do with the time commitment.

Anyway, I’m trying to expand my horizons; give some classic films a shot and maybe, just maybe, catch a cultural reference now and again. So, without further ado, this is a review series of iconic films from someone who knows nothing about movies.

For this week, I watched “The Shawshank Redemption.”

Let’s keep this simple, and do a best and worst list of aspects of the film. I’ve heard great things, so let’s dive in.

Best opening music: jazz. If you want your movie to be iconic, you had better start with some slow jazz.

Worst use of a gavel: convicting an innocent man to jail. Followed by breaking open a peanut (which a friend of mine did in high school with a stolen gavel from drama club), and then convicting a guilty man to jail.

Best characters named Red:” Red from Shawshank Redemption. Some great lines in this movie, most of which I cannot repeat here.

Worst narrator: Morgan Freeman. I mean, I get it. But come on, Shawshank, have some originality.

Best first sip: a cold contraband beer after working hot tar on a prison roof, given to you by your tyrant guard. Even sweeter still to have also not been savagely thrown from said roof by said guard.

Worst hobby: geology. No, no it does not rock. Please stop saying such things, and please stop making me listen to you saying such things.

Best inappropriate prison opera: “The Marriage of Figaro.” I’ve always been partial to “The Barber of Seville.” If you can’t get your hands on a jazz record in your movie, this will do in a pinch.

Worst fashion sense: those fine shoes do not work with a jumpsuit. Sorry, honey.

Best hobby: geology.

Best shot: Andy Dufresne, arms held to the pouring heavens, after just escaping from his wrongful sentence. Incredibly cinematic, and moving.

The absolute best: the patience, hope, strength and redemption shown in this movie. I give it four stars, you all should really go see it.

Hi, I’m Jonathan. I graduate this December, majoring in Anthropology, with minors in Creative Writing and Political Science. After that … we’ll see. Maybe graduate school in environmental anthropology. Maybe I’ll finally pursue my old childhood dream of becoming an infomercial host. It’s up in the air. Some of my interests and hobbies include devout sports fanaticism, religious study, and composing country songs that serve to explain the unearthly amount of disdain I have for country music. My band’s called Catfish Hurricane, you should check us out. Well, actually, you shouldn’t. I love writing, which is how I accidentally stumbled into this job. This stumbling into good things is my plan for life in general.