retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Great piece in the Washington Post about how this summer marked the 25th anniversary of The Shawshank Redemption, which against all odds - it got mixed reviews when it opened, and was a box office disappointment - has “emerged as an unlikely entry in the contest for the most beloved movie of all time.

“It’s not a family saga like The Godfather, or a geopolitical romance like Casablanca, or a technical masterpiece like Citizen Kane — just a box-office also-ran about two prison friends. It’s too sappy, some might say. It’s too neat. It’s basically an all-male cast. It’s not quite at those other movies’ level, but it’s not quite not at their level, as it’s spent the last 11 years as the No. 1-rated movie on IMDb. It somehow found the right alchemy of hope and friendship and, of course, redemption…”

It is a really good piece that makes the point that relevance and resonance can come from unexpected places … and sometimes because of unexpected exposure.

You see, part of the reason that The Shawshank Redemption has gained so much audience love is that it was made for repeated airing on cable television - “Ted Turner started blasting it all over TNT and TBS, where it’s aired more than 100 times.”

And Shawshank, the story says, “works particularly well on a small screen. It’s a relationship study with few vistas or intricacies, and no human being who’s seen it before can change the channel before the final payoff. Urban Dictionary even has a term for ‘the condition of having been sucked in by a highly watchable movie while channel surfing’: Shawshanked.”

The story points out that the movie’s cult status has led to the creation of a Shawshank Trail in Ohio, which takes visitors to all the locations used in the movie. (Ohio stood in for Maine.) And it notes that Nelson Mandela once said that “the film’s depiction of incarceration hit home — as did its message that hope can heal.”

That message is what most resounds in the movie. It is what Andy (Tim Robbins) tells Red (Morgan Freeman), the Post writes, that “‘“hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.’ Shawshank inspires faith in the survival of many good things: knowledge, art, justice. It wants us to believe that a best friend is forever. That walls cannot confine you and do not define you.”

And that’s my idea of an Eye-Opener.
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