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Asking the Right Questions


There are many ways to respond to the fact that The Shawshank Redemption is ranked #1 on the IMDB Top Movies chart. This is one of my favorites, because it concentrates not on how deserving (not very) the ranking is, but rather on why such an unlikely candidate has taken the top spot.  Shawshank didn’t make a lot of money, didn’t win many awards (it lost Best Picture to Forrest Gump, but Pulp Fiction was the truly deserving candidate), has well-known-but-not-tremendous stars, and is part of a respected but not particularly beloved or well-represented genre.  Nevertheless, I don’t find the ranking to be viscerally shocking.   There’s something remarkably watchable to Shawshank; if I happen to find it on TV, I can start watching at any point and feel exceedingly comfortable.  This is altogether odd for a film that features prison rape as a significant plot element.

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