A mouse that plays fetch. Magical hands that heal. Life everlasting. No, it’s not an animated Disney fairy tale; it’s The Green Mile — one of the best prison flicks ever made. For the next three days, AMC gives you multiple chances to see exactly why the onscreen adaptation of Stephen King’s story is so great with Can’t Get Enough of The Green Mile, starting on Mon., Oct. 10, at 8PM | 7C. In the meantime, here are ten good reason to love the movie, for starters.
10. A Lovely Metaphor for the Journey of Life
But in case this wasn’t obvious: the Green Mile isn’t just a hallway leading to an electric chair — it’s the path we all walk in life, before it comes to its inevitable end. The story of John (Michael Clarke Duncan), the death-row inmate who takes on the pain of others until he decides he can’t take any more, is told simply. The inspiring lesson here: everyone has the ability to take their fate into their own hands. What a nice thought.
9. Arguably, the Best Tom Hanks Drama Ever
Okay, sure, Hanks has a long, storied résumé, but has he ever done a better ensemble drama than The Green Mile? That’s not set in World War II? Or mostly in space? Or is animated? Okay, the point being this is definitely one of his best, and he expertly heads the ensemble, grounding every moment with a gravitas not easily achieved.
8. Thomas Newman’s Score (and Its Guest Stars)
Newman’s beautifully haunting instrumentals are an essential part of the film and feel perfectly pitched for the roller-coaster moments of the emotional story. There’s also some wonderful vintage vocals from Billie Holiday and Fred Astaire. As soundtracks go, it’s definitely a winner.
7. Stephen King Hearts Harry Dean Stanton
Who doesn’t love Harry Dean Stanton? The man is a hallmark of understated realism — as touching when portraying a downtrodden dad (Pretty in Pink) as he is as a death-row inmate finding comfort in meeting his maker. The beauty is it looks like Stephen King loves Stanton, too. Though Stanton plays Toot-Toot in The Green Mile, another major character in King’s story is named Harry, while another is named Dean Stanton. Nice work, Mr. King.
6. Mr. Jingles
Mice in your apartment? Bad. Mice in The Green Mile? Pure magic! Mr. Jingles, the unofficial mascot of the movie, performs death-defying tricks worthy of the circus. The tiny rodent becomes a symbol of the central plot: his arrival to the cell block inspires hope, his demise is heartbreaking, his resurrection uplifting.
5. Old Sparky
Old Sparky, the electric chair that marks the end of a prisoner’s walk down the Mile, is ominous indeed, becoming a character in itself. Just as terrifying as any movie monster or psycho killer, Old Sparky instills a fear worthy of a horror flick. Oh, no! Don’t go down that hallway! It’s enough to make you hide your eyes in terror.
4. The Mean Guy Gets His Just Deserts
What happened to Percy (Doug Hutchison) to turn him into such a jerk? He watches convicts die slow, painful deaths. He squashes poor Mr. Jingles. Worst yet, he’s related to the governor, so Tom Hanks is powerless to reprimand him. But Percy’s evilness just makes his comeuppance that much more sweet.
3. ‘I Think This Boy’s Cheese Slid Off His Cracker’
As quotations go, this one, by Bill Dodge, will always get you a laugh if you time it right at a party.
2. Perfect Casting
Yes, Tom Hanks anchors The Green Mile, and Michael Clarke Duncan plays a central role. But there’s not a single member of the cast who isn’t an award-winning or fan-favorite actor, including Stanton, Morse, Cromwell, Bonnie Hunt, Sam Rockwell, Barry Pepper, and even The Walking Dead‘s Jeffrey DeMunn! And that’s not even half of ’em.
1. Because You Can’t Get Enough Shawshank
The Shawshank Redemption never got a sequel. Why should it when you have The Green Mile? Is it better? You’ll have to debate that in the comments section. But this uplifting Stephen King prison drama also has narration (not by Morgan Freeman!) and an Oscar-nominated performance (by Michael Clarke Duncan). It also happens to be King’s highest-grossing film. So take that, ‘Shank!