Gary Gardner (grgardner) wrote,
Gary Gardner

A Common Affliction

There is something about certain movies that you can watch over and over again and still enjoy every time.  I have a few of these -- "Cars" is one, "Sunset Blvd." is another, and there's "Kinky Boots", and "Auntie Mame" to name a couple more.  I've pretty much even memorized these, and have been known to recite the dialogue while watching the movie, much like we used to with The Rocky Horror Picture Show.   This tends to annoy my guests that I'm watching the movie with, but I can't help myself.  

However, there is one other movie that is like no other.  I've seen it I don't know how many times, and yet, whenever I stumble upon it on TV, it's like a car wreck -- I have to stop, sit down, and I have to watch it all the way to the end.  It doesn't matter if I come upon it in the first two minutes or the last two.   I simply have to watch it.  All of it.   It's "Shawshank Redemption".   The movie didn't do all that well at the box office, but it did gather a number of Oscars when it came out in 1994 -- Best Picture was not one however.  Yet it has risen to the number one rated movie on IMDB's top 250.  
If you've seen it, you know what I'm talking about.   And it happened again last night.   I'd already brushed my teeth, done my nighttime chores, and crawled under the covers and turned on the TV to see what was on as I got tired, and what should I stumble upon?   "Shawshank".  And damn it all, it was just starting!   ARGGHHH!!!  It was 1130pm too!   But there I was, hooked as always, and cursing the AMC channel for putting it on.  And so there I lay, snuggled up under my down comforter in my big cushy bed, watching the movie for the umpteenth time, and loving every damn minute of it.

And as one tends to do in this day and age, I posted my status on my Facebook page from my i-Phone:  "Grrr --Even after seeing it dozens of times I still get captivated by "The Shawshank Redemption".  I am in bed and channel surfing to get tired and ran across it and now I'm sucked in again and cant' turn it off...curse you AMC!!!"   What surprised me however were the number of responses I got from people in the exact same situation.  My dear friend and colleague Holly said "we have the exact same problem, Rick was up watching it.  Again.  All the way to the end."   And my Mom chimed in "us too".   All in all six of my friends all were in the same boat.

I don't know why, but apparently it's a pretty common affliction -- like a cold in March (which I also have at the moment).   So I stayed up until a little after 2am watching it, knowing what was going to happen all along and still loving the story -- the cinematography, the characters, and the hope it inspires.  It's why I'm tired today.   There is something to be said about great writing, great acting, and great film making that this movie, almost 18 years after it came out, can still do that, not only to me, but to quite a few others as well.  

So today here in Seattle it's windy, rainy, sleety, and just plain gross.   We are in a Legislative Special Session that so far after a week has done NOTHING, and isn't apparently ready to do anything any time soon.  And meanwhile, I'm staring at a pile of receipts for my taxes spread across the dining room table and I can't help but picture the end of the movie, where Red turns his face to the sun  (something I have forgotten what it looks like) as he rides the Greyhound to Mexico in search of his friend, and thinks to himself (in Morgan Freeman's wonderful voice):  "I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams.  I hope."   So do I.  I hope.

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