Category Archives: The Goddamned Shawshank Redemption


Me: Do you have Netflix?
Brad: No, but I think I’m gonna sign up for it again.
Me: When you do, you need to watch a movie.  Ready?
Brad: Oh god.
Me: FDR: American Badass.
Brad: Is … is it a documentary?
Me: … … … yes.
Brad: Is it?
Me: Okay, no.  But it’s AWESOME.  Barry Bostwick plays FDR, and Ray Wise –
Brad: Robin’s dad?
Me: Robin’s second dad, yes, he plays Douglas MacArthur, or as he’s known in the film, “Dougie Mack.”
Brad: NO.
Me: OH YEAH.  And Kevin Sorbo plays Abraham Lincoln.
Brad: Kevin Sorbo of Hercules fame?
Me: The very same! And FDR gets bit by a werewolf, which carries the polio –
Brad: Oh god.
Me: And they get into World War II because Hitler and Mussolini are werewolves, and FDR is a badass.
Brad: Jesus Christ, Alaina.
Me: Last weekend, I went to Jen’s for her birthday, and I said, “I’m making you a cake, but your other present is I’m making you watch FDR: American Badass.” She said it was the best present she’d ever received.
Brad: So let me get this straight: you’ve watched this … cinematic masterpiece twice, but you haven’t watched all of Shawshank?
Me: Tell you what – if you watch FDR: American Badass, I’ll watch Shawshank.
Brad: Really?
Me: Hand to god.
Brad: Fine. I’ll get Netflix just for that.
Me: Good, you do that.
Brad: I’ll watch that piece of shit for that.
Me: Oh, you’re gonna eat those words.



The Shawshank Redemption: The Alaina Version (+ Theories)

Not sure how many people know this, but …. I can be kinda psychic sometimes.  I regularly check out Robin’s Zodiac Zone, making sure that I’m wearing the appropriate color for the day.  I have a deck of tarot cards and I will … contact?  Interpret?  Oh shit, I had something for this.  I use my tarot cards semi-regularly for advice, and I have been known to go to actual tarot card readers when I feel that I need a second opinion on something.  I find meaning in many different things.  (Let NO ONE start me on the whole Eddie Vedder / “Better Man” thing…)

What I’m trying to say is that I am no stranger to signs.  And when I feel that the Universe is trying to tell me something that I don’t want to hear, I can … at times, overreact.

Like Community, beloved Show of My Heart (now that I’m having serious issues with The Vampire Diaries — issues that belong on a whole ‘nother blog, full of capslock, vitriol, and feminist issues that never happened before with TVD).  Last week, Community homaged — I’m sorry, “paid homage” — to The Shawshank Redemption.  I’ve decided to take that as a sign that I should just fucking rip that asshole Band-Aid off once and for all and move on.

So go ahead, Universe: Read me the signs!  Tell me my FORTUNE! You’re so useful, sitting there with all of your books!  You’re really a lot of help!  So I quit!  I resign, I’m fired; I’ll just get this over with, okay?  Because I am twenty-nine years old, Giles; I don’t wanna deal with Shawshank anymore!

Because I’m done!  I think I’ve said that I have seen 2/3 of the movie on AMC two summers ago, so I know the plot.  Hell, I knew the plot before I watched it two years ago: Tim Robbins (ANDY DUFRESNE, YES I KNOW) is arrested for killing his wife and her lover and thrown into Shawshank Prison in good ol’ Thomaston, Maine (because guys, it was written by Stephen King, and everything takes place in Maine).  It is left up to the viewer* to decide whether Andy’s guilty or not.  While there, he befriends Morgan Freeman.  Andy finds a place for himself in prison, but never stops dreaming of the outside world.  Meanwhile — and this is the part I’ve seen, so I can attest to its veracity, AMC-editing be-damned — there is this whole ideological debate/showing thing (look, I’m fighting a cold, and my head’s all messed up.  I’m sorry I’m not speaking English good over here.) about how Red and other prisoners have become so institutionalized, that when parole comes along and they’re free, the outside world is too scary and they contemplate either going back to prison or suicide.  Anyway — in the midst of this, Andy manages to escape Shawshank and runs away, never to be found again.  Except he leaves Red a postcard or a clue or something I WASN’T REALLY PAYING ATTENTION giving him a treasure map to follow so they can live out the rest of their lives together on the Pacific Coast in this little unpronounceable town in Mexico.

*Because I’ve seen the last two-thirds, guys, not the first third.  I’m assuming it’s left up to the viewer to decide Andy’s innocence?  Or maybe he protests his innocence even though he’s guilty as fuck?  I dunno – I’ve got about forty minutes I’ve missed.

SO.  I apparently know a lot about Shawshank, huh?  Why is it such a big deal for me to watch it?  Because APPARENTLY, to some of my friends (AND MY FATHER, WHAT THE HECK?), watching the last two-thirds does not count as “watching it.”  Also, I’d like to test a theory.

‘Cuz here’s the thing: I have friends of both genders who have seen Shawshank or at least, parts of Shawshank.  And I am seeing a clear divide when I ask the following questions:

1) Are you the type of individual that tends to watch movies over and over again?
2) Have you seen The Shawshank Redemption?
3) Did you like The Shawshank Redemption?4) Did you like The Shawshank Redemption enough to warrant watching it until the end every time you find it on television?

Obviously, if you answered ‘no’ to any of the questions, the survey ended.  But — again, informally — my findings were that men answered ‘yes’ to all four questions, whereas women that had seen Shawshank and liked it, didn’t like it enough to watch it to the end every damn time they find it on TV.

So my main question – because I have seen the end! – is, will seeing the whole entire movie unedited for television and language and situations change my perception of Shawshank?  Because right now, I am okay with saying that it is a good movie, and I can see how some people might find it better than good, but I DO. NOT. UNDERSTAND. how it has pervaded our culture so that not only Community pays homage to it, but Jon Stewart and Liam Fucking Neeson can wax rhapsodic during an interview on The Daily Show.

I just don’t get it.  I hope to get it?  But I’m not sure I will.  I’m seriously wondering if there’s something on the Y chromosome that makes it better …