30 for 30: The Shawshank Redemption (1994)





There won’t be much time spent on personal stories moving forward (or backward?) since I can’t remember anything. Well, okay I remember random spurts here and there but that’s about it. I remember staying up late at night to watch my first ever World Cup game – the final between Brazil and Italy. But the thing was so long that I fell asleep before the penalty shootout. I think that’s probably all I do remember.

The movie year was a big one. Films from the year that I love include Wong Kar-Wai’s vibrant Chungking Express, Robert Redford’s grossly underrated and sadly… mostly forgotten Quiz Show, Tim Burton’s Ed Wood, and Disney’s The Lion King (aka Hamlet for kids). I’m also a big fan of the action trio of Leon: The Professional, Speed and True Lies. I wish they made high-octane action movies like those three today. This was the year Jim Carrey became American’s biggest comedy superstar with the trifecta of The Mask, Ace Ventura and the endlessly rewatchable Dumb and Dumber. It was also the year where Tom Cruise proved everyone wrong with Interview with the Vampire, still one of my favorite performances of the actor. A few people I know swear by Hoop Dreams but I embarrassingly admit that I have yet to watch it.

I’m a big fan of Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers and I briefly considered it for my top pick but when you have the trifecta of Pulp Fiction, Forrest Gump and The Shawshank Redemption, it’s hard to go for anything else. Yes, I know they’re hardly original picks, but I’d like to make something clear here: I’m not making these picks to prove my originality or show-off my knowledge of world cinema or prove a point. I’m picking the movies I love the most and the ones that have influenced my tastes the most. These are three of the most enduring movies of the decade and my lifetime. Shawshank may not be an artistic ground-breaker like Pulp Fiction or a crowd-pleasing folk tale like Gump but its message of optimism and hope grab me like no other.

About 30-for-30

Movies are a huge part of my life – I mean, why else would I be running a blog/site devoted to movies? To commemorate the occasion of my 30th birthday (later this month), I’ll be counting down to the big day by posting a photo of my favorite movie for each year of the last 30 years I’ve survived on this planet. These aren’t my favorite 30 movies EVER but merely the movie I consider my favorite (or the best) of each year. This is my 30 for 30. Click here to see the other 30 for 30 posts.


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