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#037 Frank Darabont: The Shawshank Redemption vs. The Majestic

Download MP3 In today's episode Nate and Austin compare Frank Darabont's best and worst rated films, The Shawshank Redemption (1994) and The Majestic (2001), respectively. Nate finally gets to appreciate The Shawshank Redemption, Austin basically rates The Majestic ten out of ten, and they both want two and a half hours of their life back. Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) and The Hills Have Eyes Part II (1985), his best and worst rated films.
Also check out this interview with Tim Robbins about The Shawshank Redemption:

The Majestic Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: Set in 1951, a blacklisted Hollywood writer gets into a car accident, loses his memory and settles down in a small town where he is mistaken for a long-lost son.
  • Ratings: IMDb 6.9 | RT 42% C / 60% A
  • Released: 2001
  • Director: Frank Darabont (The Green Mile, The Walking Dead, The Mist)
  • Writer(s): Michael Sloane
  • Cinematographer: David Tattersall (The Green Mile, Star Wars EP 1-3)
  • Notable actors: Jim Carrey, Bob Balaban, Jeffrey DeMunn, Hal Holbrook, Laurie Holden, Martin Landau, Brent Briscoe, Ron Rifkin, James Whitmore, Brian Howe, Frank Collison
  • Budget: $72 million
  • Box office: $37.3 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • The voices of the unseen studio executives during the first screenwriting scene (and the one later in the film) are all famous directors, including Garry Marshall, Paul Mazursky, Sydney Pollack, Rob Reiner, and Carl Reiner (although Carl is more famous for his comedic acting). All of these directors are also known their occasional acting forays.
    • For the scene from "Sand Pirates of the Sahara" (the "film-within-the-film" that restores Peter's memory) the statue with which Prince Khalid knocks out Professor Meredith is the same golden precolumbian idol that Indiana Jones collects in the opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). Steven Spielberg is thanked in the closing credits for lending the prop to the production.
    • As of 2014, this is the only film Frank Darabont has directed not based on a Stephen King story.

The Shawshank Redemption Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.
  • Ratings: IMDb 9.3 | RT 91% C / 98% A
  • Released: 1994
  • Director: Frank Darabont (The Green Mile, The Walking Dead, The Mist)
  • Writer(s): Frank Darabont (screenplay), Stephen King (short story)
  • Cinematographer: Roger Deakins (No Country for Old Men, A Beautiful Mind, Skyfall)
  • Notable actors: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler, Clancy Brown, Gil Bellows, Mark Rolston, James Whitmore, Jeffrey DeMunn
  • Budget: $25 million
  • Box office: $58 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • Andy and Red's opening chat in the prison yard, in which Red is pitching a baseball, took nine hours to shoot. Morgan Freeman pitched that baseball for the entire nine hours without a word of complaint. He showed up for work the next day with his arm in a sling.
    • When Andy goes to the library to begin work as Brooks' assistant and Brooks' crow, Jake, is squawking, Tim Robbins had to time his line, "Hey, Jake. Where's Brooks?" so that the crow wouldn't squawk over him, since the bird could not be trained to squawk on cue. Robbins was able to adapt to this and time his line perfectly by learning the bird's squawking patterns, for which director Frank Darabont praised him. Robbins' improvisation is noticeable as he watches the bird carefully while approaching it, waiting for it to squawk, and doesn't begin his line until after it does so.
    • Although a very modest hit in theaters, it became one of the highest-grossing video rentals of all time.
    • Director Frank Darabont watched Goodfellas (1990) every Sunday while shooting this film and drew inspiration from it, on using voice-over narration and showing the passage of time.
    • The mugshots of a young-looking Morgan Freeman that are attached to his parole papers are actually pictures of Morgan's younger son, Alfonso Freeman. Alfonso also had a cameo in the movie as a con shouting, "Fresh fish! Fresh fish today! We're reeling 'em in!" (bottom left). A year after The Shawshank Redemption (1994), he appeared as a Fingerprint Technician in another Morgan Freeman movie, Se7en (1995).
    • Although it is never directly stated in the film, Brooks is in prison for allegedly murdering his wife and daughter after a losing streak at poker.
    • Tim Robbins thought of the idea of his character, Andy Dufresne, turning up the volume of the record player in the scene where he plays the Opera music over the PA.

  Intro music: Calm The Fuck Down - Broke For Free / CC BY 3.0  

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