Thoughts on…

Forrest Gump

Last week, Forrest Gump was re-released in theaters to celebrate it’s 20 year anniversary. We won’t be reviewing it, since it’s a known fact that we’re both pretty fond of it. Instead, to celebrate it’s 20th year of existence, we’ll be discussing the meaning of the film and it’s significance to us.

In case you don’t know, Forrest Gump follows its titular character (Tom Hanks), a man with a low IQ but good intentions, as he runs through life and to success against all odds. He joins the army, makes two livelong friends, wins medals, becomes a shrimping boat captain, plays at the Olympics, runs across the country, inspires Elvis, and meets not one, not two, but three presidents along the way. However, the one thing that eludes him is his childhood love, Jenny (Robin Wright) is the thing that matters most.

The following paragraph is what I wrote about Forrest Gump in my top five list approximately a year ago.

“A movie that you can quote in its entirety, recite lines from, or be able to answer all the trivia questions at Bubba Gump shrimp restaurant correctly is definitely deserving of being number one on your list. I’ve see this movie many, many times, and it never get’s old. The charm, the plot. Everything. Tom Hanks delivers one of my favorite acting performances of all time as the titular character, the idiot who still manages to accomplish… well everything! The plot is one of the most outrageous, impossible stories but really, who cares? It’s such a heartwarming, humorous tale that sticks with you. It has its funny moments, its sad moments, and its romantic moments. It even utilizes an extraordinary amount of computer graphics, if you haven’t noticed. It’s a movie made for everyone, especially me.”

Definitely still applies.

Forrest Gump is my favorite movie of all time. There are movies that I love, movies that I would see 100 times over, and movies that I claim could be the best of all time, but none of them are Forrest Gump. As I mentioned, I once went to the Bubba Gump Shrimp Factory (the food isn’t overwhelmingly good, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun if you’re a Gump fan) and the waiter came in and asked trivia. I got all of them right without a problem (I’m very proud of that, as you can see). Then one of the patrons asked the waiter if they knew who Forrest was named after. The waiter didn’t, but I did. Nathan Bedford Forrest, of the Ku Klux Klan. That’s my story.

The point of my little anecdote was to 1) brag and 2) show you how much I adore this movie. The significance of this movie to me is indescribable. It is a heartwarming, culturally significant, and a straight up fun piece of film. Along with Rocky and yes,  Dodgeball, this is the true underdog story. Everytime I watch this movie I can instantly assure myself happiness, knowing that Forrest accomplishes what many others couldn’t, even thought he’s “not a smart man”.  The connection that I made with the character is something that no other movie has been able to do to me since. I still root for him getting out of the friend-zone every time.

forrest gump 1

If you haven’t seen Forrest Gump, then you’re really missing out. In fact, you haven’t found the true meaning of life if you haven’t seen it. So please, sit down on your couch and spend 2 hours and 22 minutes watching it because it is so worth it. Its 69% Rotten Tomatoes score is bullcrap, take my word for it.

“Run, Forrest! Run!”

Need I say more? Yes. Because there’s a lot to say about Forrest Gump (Which is celebrating its 20th anniversary. It’s one of those constant movies that you know everyone’s seen. You can rely on it. Heck, if I’m in a good mood and I see a jogger running on the side of the road, you better believe that I stick my head out the window and yell “Run, Forrest!” (I’ve gotten a multitude of responses, ranging from thumbs up to smirks to the “Shut the !@#$ up and let me run” expression”.

forrest gump 2

However, the funny thing is that Forrest Gump, like oh so many of the greats, just got “meh” to regular reviews when it came out. It clocks in a mediocre 69% with Top Critics on Rotten Tomatoes and a modest 71% with the rest. But there’s a couple of reasons I thoroughly enjoy it. Personal reasons that critics can try and put their finger on put simply can’t so we’ll just have to review them here:
History: When I saw this in sixth grade, my mind was blown. I was intensely into social studies and when the movie wrapped up I was in awe. A movie that incorporates history with none of those pesky, long blocks of dialogue? With actual funny and exciting moments? Unheard of! Now, of course, I love movies that set out to accurately portray historical figures but, way back when, this was just the right blend of fun and history I needed.
Its Tone and Balance: Tone is a very hard thing for me to place but Forrest Gump is in the same species as those dramedic memoirs. Though its peppered with Americana and very real events, it operated in its own world; one with a perfect mix of drama and comedy. It had its own potent taste and identity that really makes it stand out. But I really think that identity started with its…
Heart: Did someone call 911? ‘Cause this one’s a cop-out. Mainstream critics must be Disney villains or something because they truly underestimate and underplay the value of actual care going into a film. Something about how tight Robert Zemeckis sewed the story together and how much the actors pour into their characters really resonates with me and a lot of others, I think, even if they don’t know it. When this first came out, it was accused of being Oscar-bait that preyed on sentimentality. Maybe it is but the story doesn’t seem to be crafted to win an Oscar rather it seems to be crafted to (Surprise, surprise) tell a good story. And that really made all the difference.

Plus the killer soundtrack helped too.


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