Friday, February 23, 2007

The Shawshank Conspiracy

I saw the movie. Finally. After thirteen years. This was not an easy accomplishment. So, you might be asking, "Saw what?" and "What was so hard about that?". The "what" is The Shawshank Redemption. You know, the movie that came out in 1994 that everyone but me has seen.

I was busy finishing a graduate degree in 1994. I had no time for movies or pleasure reading until January 1995 when, degree in hand, I was finally free to catch up on movie watching and book reading. I had quite a list after almost 10 years of higher education. I didn't get around to The Shawshank Redemption until about 1999. Since 1999 it has been one thing or another every time I try to see this movie. For instance:
  • Attempt #1 - Blockbuster has the movie, but not really. It's checked out. Permanently.
  • Attempt #2 - Hollywood Video has the movie. I take it home. The video in the case is not The Shawshank Redemption even though the case says it is. I return to Hollywood Video. The Shawshank Redemption can not be found.
  • Attempt #3 - The Shawshank Redemption is on cable TV! I sit down with my popcorn and hot chocolate, the movie starts and ... the electricity goes off for about 1 hour.
  • Attempt #4 - The movie is on cable again. Unfortunately, I need to be at work. I consider calling in sick but decide to record the movie instead. I plug in the tape and set the VCR. I'm not sure what happened. When I try to play the tape all I get is a blue screen.
  • Attempt #5 (last week) - I request the DVD through my Netflix account. The movie arrives. I watch 1 hour and 40 minutes. I get to the part where (SPOILER ALERT!!!) Tommy has just been shot thereby destroying Andy's chance of being released from prison (end spoiler alert) and ... wait for it ... what could possibly happen this time ... the picture freezes. I stare at the screen while holding my breath (as if this might help). Thirty seconds later I decide to breathe again and the DVD begins hopping from one scene to another in no kind of sequential order for about 10 minutes. I either need to remove the disc from the player and walk away from it or risk taking a hammer to something in frustration. I decide that destroying things is not the answer and I calmly remove the disc from the player. Then I go into the other room and scream into my pillow.
It's a cosmic conspiracy. I just know it. For some reason the universe doesn't want me to see this movie. Maybe I'll consult with Mary-LUE over at Life, the Universe and Everything. According to Google, Mary's blog will be able to help me answer questions about the meaning of all of this. I truly hope so.


My friend Robin, at Just a Blip, has set the universe right. She owns a copy of The Shawshank Redemption and she rushes her disc to me so I can see the last 40 minutes. And a very important 40 minutes this turns out to be! Just when everything is looking very grim, the movie begins to resolve. Will it be tragic or triumphant?? I've waited so many years for this ....

EPILOGUE: All is now well in my universe (smile).


  1. I've never seen that movie EITHER. Or any of the STar Wars films!

  2. Wow! I'm not alone. I did see the Star Wars movies though, but I tend to like science fiction-y kinds of things.

  3. Well, what did you think of the movie overall?

  4. I liked the acting. Good job with the sympathetic characters but I thought the "bad guys" could have used some help. It was what one would call a "feel good" movie and fortunately I was in the mood for that. I was most intrigued by the use of old buildings in Ohio and I'd be interested in their actual histories.

  5. I was worried that after the long wait, you would have a hard time enjoying it. Like when you get interrupted 10 times when trying to tell a mildly amusing story. By the time you get to finish it, it's not worth the wait. Now I have to back and see it again.