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Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200... but Watch These Movies About the Pokey

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By Chris Kavan - 07/07/10 at 09:35 AM CT

Poor Lindsay Lohan. A 90-day stint can change a woman, but what better way to pass the time then watching some real jail-house whoppers. Here is my must-see list for the prison blues:

8) The Blues Brothers - Starts in prison, ends in prison with one of the best police chases in movie history in between. Plus the music is spectacular. Plus it's approved by the Vatican, so you can feel pious about watching it as well.

7) Escape from Alcatraz - Clint Eastwood portrays Frank Morris, the only man who (potentially) escaped from The Rock. May be banned in prison due to cleverness.

6) The Birdman of Alcatraz - Another Alcatraz film, this one surrounding prisoner Robert Stroud (as portrayed by Burt Lancaster) The Rock's most famous prisoner. The Stroud might have been a bit different, but films like this always emphasize the positive. Give it a go - bird lover or not, it's a great film.

5) The Great Escape - A POW camp is still a prison - Steve McQueen leads an all-star cast as a group of WWII prisoners who are so adept at escaping, they get their own super-secure site, which still can't hold them. Although the brutal ending is sugar-coated (most of the men were shot), seeing Steve McQueen jump a fence on a motorcycle is worth it.

4) American History X - Here's one for the serious fan. Forget action or fun - this takes a hard look at racism and its effect on families and children. The end is shocking and powerful and it is a film that should be seen by everyone. Definitely one of Edward Norton's best films.

3) The Bridge on the River Kwai - Another POW camp, another war classic. David Lean does a standout job directer Alec Guiness and William Holden as polar opposites regarding an enemy bridge. The gripping ending is one of the best!

2) Cool Hand Luke - "What we have here is failure to communicate." Paul Newman gives an unforgettable performance in a classic rural prison film. From egg-eating to fooling bloodhounds to a spectacular car wash - so many scenes stand out. An all-around great film with the right cast, the right setting and even the right music. A must-see.

1) The Shawshank Redemption - Was there ever any doubt? Despite having seen this numerous times, it never fails to inspire. Simply put, it's the perfect storm of superb story (from Stephen King, no less), spot-on casting, expect directing and just the tone and nuances - it all comes together to form a universally acclaimed film. It's hard to pinpoint only one reason this gets so much love - it just strikes people the right way.

So Lindsay, I hope they let you requisition a DVD player or at least a VCR - maybe some of these films can serve as entertainment or even inspiration during your incarceration.


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