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What are our Forrest Gump thoughts? 
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Post What are our Forrest Gump thoughts?
On a flight the other day I found myself watching Forrest Gump from start to finish for the first time in years. I've always liked the film, but also resented it to a certain degree for winning Best Picture over Pulp Fiction. Which, of course, isn't fair at all and has nothing whatsoever to do with its quality as a film.

So what about the film taken on its own terms? Well it's still pretty good, but I have a few thoughts and I'm curious what you guys think.

- The film is *profoundly* conservative. That's not a bad thing really, and I'm not the only one to point this out, but in a world where most films have a liberal bent, the amount to which this one is different is striking. Forrest plays football, joins the army, and becomes a small businessman, all while saving himself for the woman he loves. His life goes GREAT. Jenny's life is going well but she falls from grace upon posing for (really tame) porn. From there it's a quick spiral into stripping, liberalism, San Francisco, intravenous drug use, abusive boyfriends, AIDS, and death.

-Tom Hanks' performance is really good. All jokes about "going full retard" aside, it's a terrific performance. He inhabits the role fully, makes Forrest goofy but likable, and never condescends.

-The film has a weird subplot-sorta-thing going on with assassinations. Maybe they're trying to make a point about all the people who were shot in the second half the 20th century, but with the exception of MLK Jr (who, tellingly, was in the original script) the movie takes time to point out every single assassination victim you can think of. Not just Kennedy and Kennedy but Lennon, and George Wallace and even Gerald Ford shows up on TV.

-Other than "look -- lots of assassinations" or "Be conservative!" I can't really figure out what the movie is trying to say. It's a fun romp through American history, but does it have a point? All movies don't really need a point necessarily -- Pulp Fiction, which I mentioned earlier, is just pure style -- but a movie that takes as its focus the cultural history of a nation does. And I don't know what FG's is.

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Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:42 am
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Post Re: What are our Forrest Gump thoughts?
I always enjoyed Gump. Not necessarily the best film of the year or even in the top 10 (top 15 definitely). But a good film. Hanks and Sinise are fantastic and Williamson and Wright are very good.

As for it coming from a conservative perspective, I'd agree. Nothing wrong with that. In some ways it's refreshing as most Hollywood films focused on that era take a liberal approach. Plus the conservative approach isn't overly preachy. If it had been the film might've been a lot less enjoyable.

JamesKunz wrote:
-Other than "look -- lots of assassinations" or "Be conservative!" I can't really figure out what the movie is trying to say. It's a fun romp through American history, but does it have a point? All movies don't really need a point necessarily -- Pulp Fiction, which I mentioned earlier, is just pure style -- but a movie that takes as its focus the cultural history of a nation does. And I don't know what FG's is.


I wonder if there's no central "point". But more that FG is simply a look at one of the pivotal periods in American History from a unique perspective. I've never read the novel on which Gump is based. But I've heard that it's tone was far more satiric. I think the movie was more focused on playing it straight.

As far as Gump winning the Oscar over Pulp Fiction, in some ways it wasn't surprising. Gump appealed to a large part of the audience. It was a populist picture. Pulp in terms of both subject matter and presentation wasn;t going to appeal to the same mass audience that Gump did.

While Pulp was the more deserving and better of the two films, Gump Pays its way. That's more than can be said for The English Pateint beating Fargo for instance. Gump is still regarded as if not quite a classic, a very good movie. The English Patient is basically forgotten.

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Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:43 am
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Post Re: What are our Forrest Gump thoughts?
JamesKunz wrote:
On a flight the other day I found myself watching Forrest Gump from start to finish for the first time in years. I've always liked the film, but also resented it to a certain degree for winning Best Picture over Pulp Fiction. Which, of course, isn't fair at all and has nothing whatsoever to do with its quality as a film.

So what about the film taken on its own terms? Well it's still pretty good, but I have a few thoughts and I'm curious what you guys think.

- The film is *profoundly* conservative. That's not a bad thing really, and I'm not the only one to point this out, but in a world where most films have a liberal bent, the amount to which this one is different is striking. Forrest plays football, joins the army, and becomes a small businessman, all while saving himself for the woman he loves. His life goes GREAT. Jenny's life is going well but she falls from grace upon posing for (really tame) porn. From there it's a quick spiral into stripping, liberalism, San Francisco, intravenous drug use, abusive boyfriends, AIDS, and death.

-Tom Hanks' performance is really good. All jokes about "going full retard" aside, it's a terrific performance. He inhabits the role fully, makes Forrest goofy but likable, and never condescends.

-The film has a weird subplot-sorta-thing going on with assassinations. Maybe they're trying to make a point about all the people who were shot in the second half the 20th century, but with the exception of MLK Jr (who, tellingly, was in the original script) the movie takes time to point out every single assassination victim you can think of. Not just Kennedy and Kennedy but Lennon, and George Wallace and even Gerald Ford shows up on TV.

-Other than "look -- lots of assassinations" or "Be conservative!" I can't really figure out what the movie is trying to say. It's a fun romp through American history, but does it have a point? All movies don't really need a point necessarily -- Pulp Fiction, which I mentioned earlier, is just pure style -- but a movie that takes as its focus the cultural history of a nation does. And I don't know what FG's is.


A "work hard and the world is yours" kind of morality tale with a retard slant so no-one feels the film is too elitist. Not that there's anything wrong with the core message, but Forrest Gump tests even this to breaking point. Knowing self-satire aside.

I actually like the conservative message of self-reliance behind it - but as a film it hasn't aged too greatly in opinion. It has its plusses, Gary Sinise as Lieutenant Dan works a treat. He’s the only human in it. The Jenny character is an apparent lesson on the excesses of social liberalism; but her Freudian arc of child-abuse pathology being used as a justification or explanation for it is a bit tenuous and clumsy. It now strikes me as mere plot-convenience.

I last watched it about 6 years ago. In one part, Forrest was busy writing Jenny from Vietnam, my mate turned to me and said “who does he address the letter to, ‘Jenny, no fixed address, USA?’”

Made me laugh!

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Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:36 am
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Post Re: What are our Forrest Gump thoughts?
I would point that the film is more "overtly conservative" than it is "conservative", but we've been through that slog before. Though I will point out that there's something refreshingly progressive about portraying a hero whose limited mental capacity is just one of the facts of his life, rather than the hinge pin of his whole story.

I don't think Forrest Gump has to "say" anything. In fact, I feel that way about many movies. Movies, for the most part, aren't fables. They're an opportunity to see things through a different set of eyes for a couple hours, to inhabit a different worldview, to live a different lifestyle, to empathize with people in a way that's sometimes difficult to do in our daily lives.

Forrest Gump is a good opportunity to see things in a worldview that most people can't or won't consider. That's one of the best reasons for a movie to exist.

Plus, it's a Robert Zemeckis movie that isn't rendered in obnoxious mo-cap CGI, which is something to appreciate all by itself.

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Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:47 am
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Post Re: What are our Forrest Gump thoughts?
I want to point out that I don't think there's any consistent message about hard work or self-reliance. Forrest gets rich because he's stupidly lucky and luckily stupid. He's the only idiot who doesn't shelter during a hurricane and, ironically, ends up as the only shrimp boat standing. This, not hard work, leads to his success, which is furthered by when his friend wisely invents his money in "some fruit company."

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Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:51 am
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Post Re: What are our Forrest Gump thoughts?
That's a great observation. It isn't that Forrest isn't a hard worker (hell, he works hard at everything), but his hard work intertwines constantly with the vagaries of fate. This would seem to be underscored by the wafting feather that bookends the movie, plus the running theme* of marking major turning points with Forrest running.

For some movie characters, running signifies desperation, but for Forrest, it's more about putting his shoulder to the wheel... even if it's for no particular reason.


*God, I'm sorry. Why do I do it?

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Last edited by Ken on Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:28 am, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:06 am
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Post Re: What are our Forrest Gump thoughts?
Good film in parts, but way too long for me, I feel that the third act isn't as good as the first two-thirds.


Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:22 am
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Post Re: What are our Forrest Gump thoughts?
If anything, Gump is pro-conformity. Forrest only does what others tell him to do; that he makes money is beside the point. The one character who thinks for herself and acts independently dies of AIDS. I think it's pretty heavy-handed.

What I intensely dislike about the film is the way it trivializes the deaths of those who fought to make America a better place. People were beaten, jailed and murdered for civil rights. Thousands died fighting an unwinnable war in Vietnam. The way the film handles this is rather disrespectful.

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Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:30 am
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Post Re: What are our Forrest Gump thoughts?
The film handles it exactly as it should--at the level of the understanding of its POV character. Perhaps it would have been more respectful if it had done it differently, but it would also no longer be Forrest Gump.

It's sort of like griping that Lincoln trivializes the role that African Americans played in the abolishing of slavery. Perhaps it does, but the movie is specifically about the backroom political wranglings of abolition. It isn't quite the comprehensive History Channel look at the subject that some critics seemed to be asking for.

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Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:35 am
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Post Re: What are our Forrest Gump thoughts?
Love Gump. Not as much as Pulp Fiction, but still think it is a very entertaining story and deserving of its awards. The message, if there is one, is to show the power of positive thinking and seeing the real value of others. Forrest always sees the good side of things and people and his optimism infects others. Not so surprising is that it also manipulates the audience with that same infection, but I'm perfectly fine with stories that make me feel good. As far as ideologies goes, I think it is pretty neutral. Although I view finding the value in others regardless of their status as a common Christian idealistic goal, Hollywood generally regards not being judgmental as a liberal quality.


Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:58 am
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Post Re: What are our Forrest Gump thoughts?
CasualDad wrote:
Love Gump. Not as much as Pulp Fiction, but still think it is a very entertaining story and deserving of its awards. The message, if there is one, is to show the power of positive thinking and seeing the real value of others. Forrest always sees the good side of things and people and his optimism infects others. Not so surprising is that it also manipulates the audience with that same infection, but I'm perfectly fine with stories that make me feel good. As far as ideologies goes, I think it is pretty neutral. Although I view finding the value in others regardless of their status as a common Christian idealistic goal, Hollywood generally regards not being judgmental as a liberal quality.

I had the feeling at the end of the film of regret because i wanted to know what happened next?
Also people have mentioned that Forest Gump bet out Pulp Fiction, It also bet Shawshank Redemption, which is the best film ever made.


Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:55 pm
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Post Re: What are our Forrest Gump thoughts?
p604 wrote:
CasualDad wrote:
Love Gump. Not as much as Pulp Fiction, but still think it is a very entertaining story and deserving of its awards. The message, if there is one, is to show the power of positive thinking and seeing the real value of others. Forrest always sees the good side of things and people and his optimism infects others. Not so surprising is that it also manipulates the audience with that same infection, but I'm perfectly fine with stories that make me feel good. As far as ideologies goes, I think it is pretty neutral. Although I view finding the value in others regardless of their status as a common Christian idealistic goal, Hollywood generally regards not being judgmental as a liberal quality.

I had the feeling at the end of the film of regret because i wanted to know what happened next?
Also people have mentioned that Forest Gump bet out Pulp Fiction, It also bet Shawshank Redemption, which is the best film ever made.


Quite apart from the fact that (while I love Shawshank) Pulp Fiction is a better movie, I don't think TSR ever had a shot at winning Best Picture.

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Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:02 pm
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Post Re: What are our Forrest Gump thoughts?
JamesKunz wrote:
p604 wrote:
CasualDad wrote:
Love Gump. Not as much as Pulp Fiction, but still think it is a very entertaining story and deserving of its awards. The message, if there is one, is to show the power of positive thinking and seeing the real value of others. Forrest always sees the good side of things and people and his optimism infects others. Not so surprising is that it also manipulates the audience with that same infection, but I'm perfectly fine with stories that make me feel good. As far as ideologies goes, I think it is pretty neutral. Although I view finding the value in others regardless of their status as a common Christian idealistic goal, Hollywood generally regards not being judgmental as a liberal quality.

I had the feeling at the end of the film of regret because i wanted to know what happened next?
Also people have mentioned that Forest Gump bet out Pulp Fiction, It also bet Shawshank Redemption, which is the best film ever made.


Quite apart from the fact that (while I love Shawshank) Pulp Fiction is a better movie, I don't think TSR ever had a shot at winning Best Picture.

As much as I like all 3 of those nominees, I still consider "Exotica" and "Heavenly Creatures" the 2 best films of '94... and, naturally, neither one got a Best Picture nod. :|


Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:20 pm
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Post Re: What are our Forrest Gump thoughts?
JamesKunz wrote:
Quite apart from the fact that (while I love Shawshank) Pulp Fiction is a better movie, I don't think TSR ever had a shot at winning Best Picture.

If, for no other reason, that it didn't have the political* traction of the other contenders.**


*Oscar political. Not "I didn't inhale" political.
**I have to infer this from secondhand sources. I wasn't exactly big on the Oscars at the time.
***Are my footnotes getting out of hand? Feel free to speak up at any time.

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Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:36 pm
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Post Re: What are our Forrest Gump thoughts?
Ken wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
Quite apart from the fact that (while I love Shawshank) Pulp Fiction is a better movie, I don't think TSR ever had a shot at winning Best Picture.

If, for no other reason, that it didn't have the political* traction of the other contenders.**


*Oscar political. Not "I didn't inhale" political.
**I have to infer this from secondhand sources. I wasn't exactly big on the Oscars at the time.
***Are my footnotes getting out of hand? Feel free to speak up at any time.


You is funny. In fairness, looking back at the other things it won, I don't think Pulp Fiction had much of a shot either.

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Post Re: What are our Forrest Gump thoughts?
JamesKunz wrote:
Ken wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
Quite apart from the fact that (while I love Shawshank) Pulp Fiction is a better movie, I don't think TSR ever had a shot at winning Best Picture.

If, for no other reason, that it didn't have the political* traction of the other contenders.**


*Oscar political. Not "I didn't inhale" political.
**I have to infer this from secondhand sources. I wasn't exactly big on the Oscars at the time.
***Are my footnotes getting out of hand? Feel free to speak up at any time.


You is funny. In fairness, looking back at the other things it won, I don't think Pulp Fiction had much of a shot either.


It should also be recognised that Tom Hanks also beat
Morgan Freeman – The Shawshank Redemption
Nigel Hawthorne – The Madness of King George
Paul Newman – Nobody's Fool
John Travolta – Pulp Fiction

I v'e never seen Nobody's fool. But i do feel that Tom Hanks did deserve his oscar and this is very apt when you consider that had any the films been released the year after they would have.


Wed Jul 10, 2013 6:25 am
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Post Re: What are our Forrest Gump thoughts?
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I v'e never seen Nobody's fool. But i do feel that Tom Hanks did deserve his oscar and this is very apt when you consider that had any the films been released the year after they would have.


From what I recall Newman & Hanks were pretty much neck & neck that night(you should check out Nobody's Fool, fine film w/a young Phillip Seymour Hoffman being a dick throighout)

Not sure I get what you're saying, that Morgan Freeman, Nigel Hawthorne, Paul Newman, John Travolta would have all beaten any of the Best Actor nominees in 1995? Dunno about that Nicolas Cage had a lot of momentum for Leaving Las Vegas(a very Oscar type part)


Wed Jul 10, 2013 1:59 pm
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