I love the movie Shawshank Redemption. If anyone asks me what my favourite movie of all time is, this is it. It is also on a surprising number of ‘best movie’ lists, and has been the #1 rated IMDB movie since 2008.
I can still remember the first time I saw it. I was not planning on seeing it. In fact I downright refused to go and see it. It definitely didn’t look like my kind of movie. Fortunately for me, I lived in a tiny university town which became a ghost town during university vacations and the movie theatre owners refused to screen movies unless 5 people turned up. When there were not enough people, you generally ran around trying to round up friends. In this case I was rounded up and I owned my friend for doing the same thing for me a short time previously.
I dragged my feet into the theatre (they were these enormous old cinemas, seating close to 1000 people, lots of red velvet and gilt, heavy curtains and as cold as ice in winter. So cold you had to take blankets and hot water bottles), wondering how on earth I would get through the next three hours.
I hated the beginning and idly contemplated going to sleep. That was my last coherent through. The next moment the movie was over and I was unbelievably sad that it had ended.
Since then I have seen it countless times and enjoyed it just as much every time. I am not sure why, because when I try to break it down logically, the plot and effects are nothing special. But put everything together and it is spellbinding.
There are other movies that I have seen many times and still enjoy immensely
- Brokeback Mountain
- Princess Bride
- Sound of Music
- Turner and Hooch
- Dirty Dancing
- Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
- American History X
- The first three Indiana Jones movies
- Tango and Cash
- Tropic Thunder
- Blades of Glory
- Galaxy Quest
Others, however, have not (for me anyway), aged well….
A few weeks ago, I watched Top Gun for the first time since the 1980s. I cracked my face mask laughing. The constant sweating! The cheesiness! Val Kilmer’s teeth! The music! The wooden acting! The accidental homoeroticism! The awful dialogue! I loved it in the 80s but it so did not age well! My stomach ached from all the laughing. It’s not a comedy is it?
Even the clothes did not age well and they were classics (Levi 501s, Rayban Wayfarers, Leather bomber jackets). I was kind of disappointed.
For you, what makes a movie age well? Some of my favourites above are not masterpieces – in fact several of them are really cheesy and low-budget, but I love them.