Friday, October 11, 2013

869. Forrest Gump (1994)

Running Time: 142 minutes
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis
Written By: Eric Roth, from novel by Winston Groom
Main Cast: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Mykelti Williamson, Sally Field
Click here to view the trailer


I think I've mentioned it before, but I'll mention it again: I've been sort of jumping all over the place, yet staying in the same, general area, never moving further than a year away from where I'm supposed to be. The few movies I've just recently watched are from 1994, while I still have two from 1995, which I plan to take care of soon. Anyway, "Forrest Gump"...

If you've never seen "Forrest Gump" then you must have been living under a rock for the past twenty years. It's one of the most popular movies to come out of Hollywood in that same amount of time and stars Tom Hanks as the title character, whom we first see sitting on a bus stop bench, waiting for the #9 bus. As he sits on the bench, a suitcase and a box of chocolates in tow, he recounts his life story to anyone within earshot. It's apparent from the beginning that Forrest isn't up to snuff mentally, but that doesn't stop him and his mother makes sure he's well cared for. In fact, Forrest has an IQ of 75, just below the average marker, but his "mama" makes sure he gets to go to public school, with all the other kids his age. On the bus, he meets Jenny, a girl his age who allows him to sit with her, despite other kids making fun of him and despite leg braces which are meant to straighten his back. From that point on, Forrest and Jenny are like "peas & carrots", inseparable and best friends. Through the years, the two stay in touch, despite taking very separate paths in life. While Forrest becomes a model citizen - going to college on a football scholarship, joining the Army & fighting in Vietnam, being given the Medal of Honor, participating in the Olympics as an expert ping pong player, meeting three U.S. Presidents, Elvis & John Lennon and becoming a millionaire in the shrimping business - Jenny (Wright) becomes an unsuccessful part of counterculture, joining the hippie movement and doing heavy experimenting with drugs. The film also stars Gary Sinise as Lieutenant Dan Taylor and Sally Field as Mrs. Gump.

Who doesn't love "Forrest Gump", at least a little bit? Oh, I'm sure there's someone out there who can't stand Hanks' performance, the fact that it beat "Pulp Fiction" and "The Shawshank Redemption" for Best Picture or the overly sensitive directing of Robert Zemeckis. But it's such an easy picture to get lost in. Was Tom Hanks brilliant? I think so. Did it deserve the "big award" over the two aforementioned films? Nope. The honor should've gone to "Pulp" in my opinion and then "Shawshank", but I think we can all agree that 1994 was just a kick ass year for movies. Did the film go overboard on the sensitivity, just a little bit? Yes, it sure did...but, like I said, just a little bit. Actually, it didn't even bother me, but I can admit that it was just a little too sappy. I liked it, as I embraced the water welling up in the corners of my eyes during so many scenes. However, I think we all can admit that there's a big audience out there for sappy films like this and in that respect, it did what it set out to do. Not only did it blend comedy and drama perfectly, but it also scored home runs with it's score and it's performances. It also gave everyone something to identify with, with it's frequent uses of placing it's main character into the center of pop culture and U.S. history, with clever camera tricks that saw Forrest Gump sit side by side with the like of Lennon and Nixon. It made you feel each decade, not only with it's use of Jimi Hendrix and The Doors, but also through the images on the screen. I wasn't born in the 70s, but the film gives me a little taste of what it might have been like.

This picture was a big deal when I was growing up. I still remember all the hubbub about "Forrest Gump", Tom Hanks and everyone involved. I remember seeing it for the first time with my parents, on VHS rental and loving it. It's a film that I almost always forget to mention when I talk about my favorite films, but I fall in love with every time I watch it, remembering why I love it and forgetting why I consider it a guilty pleasure. Why do I consider "Gump" a guilty pleasure? Oh, that's right. Because the cool kids don't like "Gump", the film snobs seem to look down on "Gump" and anything else that seems to get any sort of recognition and that rolls down the Hollywood carpet. If you want to keep your fancy film buff card, then you have to denounce "Gump" and embrace the classic and the foreign. Well, I love classics, I love foreign and I love Gump.

RATING: 10/10  Not gonna' be the popular choice, but that's okay. Paired with "Crumb", this was just what the doctor ordered to reinvigorate me and get me back in the game.


October 11, 2013  5:27pm


  1. Oh dear oh dear oh dear
    I'm sorry Andrew, but I'm afraid I don't love this film.. in fact I'm afraid i have to say it is one f the few films I loath. (I can 'dislike' the John Wayne's etc.. but I rarely actively loath one)
    Why? The tacky sentimentality? Well a bit.. but there are lots of other films with more than this one.
    No, I think it is the 80's Reaganite ultra conservative message of 'just be dumb, don't question, do as you are told, love your country, your mom, and get rich and you will be OK. Be like Jenny, (an almost cartoonish exaggerated stereotype lefty weirdo) and you will get Aids and die a sad lonely death.
    Sorry, I've taken some of the worst elements of the film and emphasised them.. but I feel I'm not far off the mark.
    Sorry if that sounded a bit political.

    1. Man, we sure are disagreeing a lot lately, aren't we Ray? That's okay, I don't mind a bit of friendly disagreeing.

      See, I took it as Forrest was the guy who just grabbed every opportunity that came along and sort of fell ass backwards into a lot of good luck. Wanna join the army? Sure. Wanna be my first mate on my shrimp boat? Sure! Wanna learn to play ping pong? Sure! That's how I took it. I didn't take it as political or didn't even look at it as having any sort of message about how to be and "this group succeeds, this group doesn't". I just took it as a story about a challenged guy who took opportunities and, kind of like "Being There" just sort of happened into a lot of his good luck.

      As far as Jenny goes, well I guess there were people who lived Jenny's life, did the drug and hippie thing and did get AIDS (although is it ever confirmed that that's what she has?). So I didn't question that too much either.

      Oh well, agree to disagree then? Thanks as always for the input!

  2. I like Forrest Gump, but the more I watch it, the more I hate Jenny. I know she was Forrest's great love and all, but she's kind of a bitch.

    1. Ya know, the BOOK mentioned something about Jenny only showing up when she's in trouble, thus deeming her unsympathetic. I totally didn't get that vibe, but now that you and the BOOK have mentioned it, I can kinda see it now.

    2. ...I'm afraid we do (seem to be disagreeing a lot lately) - BUT I always think we do it well.. never going "Well YOU are wrong, it's a crap film so you must be an idiot to like it". Disagreements usually come with a reasonable defense of our side and why you/I thought that. So that's great,

      AND.. good to see Brittani in here again.. hello, I hope to see more comments from you.
      Good point from Brittani, Yes, Jenny is hateful at times..She is painted as a bad person.. as you put it 'only showing up when she is in trouble'.. selfish, an exploiter of his goodness. Yes, I'm afraid so.. and more of what I meant by her being the cartoon villain of the piece.. an exaggerated representation of of people with Liberal values.
      Oh, I'm not at all denying that in the liberal movements there are/were people like jenny.. or that drugs (can) ruin lives... but I still think she was supposed to demonise anyone with a less than conventional outlook on life and society.
      I do start to sound a bit like a political speech some times.. sorry.

    3. I do quite like the way we disagree, always continuing the discussion, stimulating the mind, keeping (hopefully) each other thinking about the movie and our thoughts. I know I always try to take what you say under consideration and while I won't go so far as to say you've ever changed my opinion, you've definitely made me see your POV many times. Thanks for that.


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