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The UnPopular Opinion: Forrest Gump

Dec. 19, 2012by: Alex Maidy

THE UNPOPULAR OPINION is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATHED. We're hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Enjoy!

**** SOME SPOILERS ENSUE****

I will admit that when FORREST GUMP first hit theaters in 1994, I liked it. In fact, I remember when it hit video, I had pre-ordered a VHS copy. I remember taking the movie home and unwrapping the two cassette tapes and popping them into the VCR and watching the epic tale unfold on my screen. For a thirteen year old kid who had aspirations of becoming a filmmaker, FORREST GUMP was the pinnacle of movie magic. But, something happened in the intervening years after a number of basic cable showings of the movie. The magic disappeared and as I got older, the movie did not age well along with me. Now, here I am, 18 years later, writing about how much I hate FORREST GUMP.

To sum it up, FORREST GUMP may not be an instance of going "full retard" (see TROPIC THUNDER for the full explanation), but it is pretty damn close. The tale of a mentally-challenged man who traverses the globe and stumbles into various historic events is at the very core nothing more than Oscar bait. Like LES MISERABLES this year, FORREST GUMP feels more like it was written and filmed with Academy voters in mind rather than audiences. From the sweeping score to the punctuated moments of emotional intensity, the movie leaves me feeling less and less fulfilled each time I see it.

My mama says if I get my haircut like this I will get a free dinner at Denny's.

Now, I am not heartless. I tear up when Forrest loses his mother, and Jenny, and Bubba. Even now as I write this, I can feel that emotional rush come up in my throat. That is a credit to the actors in the film. Tom Hanks is a great performer, but he has given so many better performances than this. PHILADELPHIA, CAST AWAY, and THE GREEN MILE are all favorites of mine and all feel more true than FORREST GUMP.

Director Robert Zemeckis crafted a magical story of a simple man who encounters John Lennon, JFK, Vietnam, and more while never fully understanding what scope of history he was a part of.  The special effects were incredible when the film was released and they still look pretty good today, but they still feel hollow.  Zemeckis eventually turned his eye for technological wizardry to the cold looks of motion capture for films like BEOWULF and THE POLAR EXPRESS, but he was so much better when his effects were subtle.  There is nothing subtle about Forrest showing his ass to the President, but then again nothing about FORREST GUMP is.

This looks more realistic in a still than it does in the movie.

FORREST GUMP did give us some good things: Robin Wright looking hot, Gary Sinise playing one of the best roles of his career, the introduction of Mykelti Williamson, and Sally Field playing the strong single mother cliche.  All are competent actors who give nice performances, but if you rewatch the film, each one of them feels forced.  With the exception of Sinise, each character feels like a cookie cutter movie trope.

Alan Silvestri's memorable score highlighted the simple nature of the movie.  What could have been a complex and humorous study of one man adrift in history instead becomes a more serious version of Steve Martin's THE JERK.  Forrest is the prime example of what can be wrong with movies: a white Southerner who is dumb as dirt and yet still manages to become a multi-millionaire.  To use a term that did not exist at the time FORREST GUMP was released, this movie is full of "white people problems".  Like THE HELP last year, this movie is anchored by quality music, direction, and acting but still falls completely short of actually having a heart.

My wife loves FORREST GUMP.  My grandmother and mom love it, too.  I find myself quoting lines from it here and there ("She tasted like cigarettes", "Thought?") but just because a movie has become a part of pop culture does not make it a great movie.  Like CRASH, THE KING'S SPEECH and TITANIC, FORREST GUMP was made deliberately to cater to those who vote for the Oscars.

Grizzly Adams DID have a beard!

Taken as segments or moments, scenes from FORREST GUMP are excellent.  From the montage of Hanks jogging across America to the Vietnam sequence, there are portions of the movie that work incredibly well.  Alas, the movie as a whole does not.  Even when we get to the end and Forrest begins to break down as he asks if his son has the same disabilities as him, it is hard to get past Tom Hanks peeking out a little.  Through the entire movie, Forrest is Forrest, but at that moment the character breaks,

Last year, the Library of Congress decided to preserve FORREST GUMP as an important and significant American film.  Outwardly, yes, it does exude all of the hallmarks of a great American movie, but it fails in the Capra-esque positivity it tries to force down the viewer's throat. Through all of the sadness and trials that Forrest experiences, none of them feel at all perilous. You never think that Forrest won't make it through unscathed. That is my biggest problem with the movie. If Forrest had actually suffered, his success would have been all the more powerful. Instead, we are passive viewers to the movie as much as Forrest himself is to history.

Oh, and if you have any suggestions for The UnPopular Opinion I’m always happy to hear them. You can send along an email to alexmaidy@joblo.com, spell it out below, slap it up on my wall in Movie Fan Central, or send me a private message via Movie Fan Central. Provide me with as many movie suggestions as you like, with any reasoning you'd care to share, and if I agree then you may one day see it featured in this very column!

Source: JoBlo.com

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10:27PM on 12/20/2012

Ahem

Ok, I couldn't care less about your opinion concerning FG, but to suggest that Titanic was made to cater to those who vote for the Oscars is some ignorant fucking shit. Love it, or hate it, Titanic was made by James mutherfuckin Cameron. Do you know of James mutherfucking Cameron? Let me explain something to you about him. James mutherfuckin Cameron makes movies for James mutherfuckin Cameron. Sometimes it's to the audiences benefit, and sometimes it's to the audiences detriment. However, to
Ok, I couldn't care less about your opinion concerning FG, but to suggest that Titanic was made to cater to those who vote for the Oscars is some ignorant fucking shit. Love it, or hate it, Titanic was made by James mutherfuckin Cameron. Do you know of James mutherfucking Cameron? Let me explain something to you about him. James mutherfuckin Cameron makes movies for James mutherfuckin Cameron. Sometimes it's to the audiences benefit, and sometimes it's to the audiences detriment. However, to suggest that James mutherfuckin Cameron would ever consider the opinions of those who vote for the Oscars is just talking straight out of your ignorant asshole.
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8:28PM on 12/20/2012

BULL. SHIT.

Congratulations. This article seems to officially take the cake of the most ridiculous and awful pieces of writing I've read so far on this beloved site. Almost 100% of this entire article is wrong. I'm going to agree with TheGrimaceOR that this Unpopular opinion series be deleted. If they're going to hate on one of the most incredible movies ever made and have zero factual information to back it up then I saw destroy it. Forrest Gump is actually one of the only movies I can say was better than
Congratulations. This article seems to officially take the cake of the most ridiculous and awful pieces of writing I've read so far on this beloved site. Almost 100% of this entire article is wrong. I'm going to agree with TheGrimaceOR that this Unpopular opinion series be deleted. If they're going to hate on one of the most incredible movies ever made and have zero factual information to back it up then I saw destroy it. Forrest Gump is actually one of the only movies I can say was better than the book. Every award it got was more than deserved and it DOES get better with every re-watch. I feel like whoever wrote this article took the Retard-award grab from Tropic Thunder too literally. I love how "sweeping score" is used as a negative thing now. This is stupid. I could go all day on how much this article sucks. Not going to continue to waste my time though. You should have held on to this one and posted it as JoBlo's April Fools next year.
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5:55PM on 12/20/2012
When I first read this I thought "I can agree with that." Then the more I think about it, the more I think there's some truly unfair bullshit in there.

Straight up, I like Forrest Gump. It's an instant classic for a reason. It's also grossly overrated. Having said that, accusing it of being made for Academy voters is a cheap shot. Yes, it has everything that the Academy loves. And yes, it won big at the Oscars. Does that mean that it's worse for it? A large contingent these days would
When I first read this I thought "I can agree with that." Then the more I think about it, the more I think there's some truly unfair bullshit in there.

Straight up, I like Forrest Gump. It's an instant classic for a reason. It's also grossly overrated. Having said that, accusing it of being made for Academy voters is a cheap shot. Yes, it has everything that the Academy loves. And yes, it won big at the Oscars. Does that mean that it's worse for it? A large contingent these days would probably find in favor of Pulp Fiction, but that movie had to fight tooth and nail to get the appreciation now that was bestowed upon Gump, and it's my opinion that the Tarantino movie is better off for it.

It's a simple story about a simple man, made epic because he coincidentally encounters so many pop-culture icons and politicians. But it's a movie the whole family can enjoy. For that it deserves some points. As a kid it was a surprisingly good introduction to the turbulent sixties. As an adult, I want more. But the core story is still pretty sweet.

You are right that of all the characters in Forrest Gump's life, Lieutenant Dan is the most interesting. Jenny and his Mama are symbols, and Bubba is essentially a P.C. way of excusing him for growing up in Alabama during the Civil Rights.
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-4
2:14PM on 12/20/2012

I couldn't agree more!

When I was 13, the movie was epic and moving. Now, I find it episodic, convenient and meandering. I don't so much blame Zemeckis for this, but really the source material. The book and it's even worse written sequel are just a collection of historical events strung haphazardly by a character who happens to be there. Enough with the hating on this article. This movie is diabetes-inducing nonsense.

I disagree with Alex's love of Castaway, though...that movie is poop.
When I was 13, the movie was epic and moving. Now, I find it episodic, convenient and meandering. I don't so much blame Zemeckis for this, but really the source material. The book and it's even worse written sequel are just a collection of historical events strung haphazardly by a character who happens to be there. Enough with the hating on this article. This movie is diabetes-inducing nonsense.

I disagree with Alex's love of Castaway, though...that movie is poop.
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1:34PM on 12/20/2012

BULL. SHIT.

Congratulations. This article seems to officially take the cake of the most ridiculous and awful pieces of writing I've read so far on this beloved site. Almost 100% of this entire article is wrong. I'm going to agree with TheGrimaceOR that this Unpopular opinion series be deleted. If they're going to hate on one of the most incredible movies ever made and have zero factual information to back it up then I saw destroy it. Forrest Gump is actually one of the only movies I can say was better than
Congratulations. This article seems to officially take the cake of the most ridiculous and awful pieces of writing I've read so far on this beloved site. Almost 100% of this entire article is wrong. I'm going to agree with TheGrimaceOR that this Unpopular opinion series be deleted. If they're going to hate on one of the most incredible movies ever made and have zero factual information to back it up then I saw destroy it. Forrest Gump is actually one of the only movies I can say was better than the book. Every award it got was more than deserved and it DOES get better with every re-watch. I feel like whoever wrote this article took the Retard-award grab from Tropic Thunder too literally. I love how "sweeping score" is used as a negative thing now. This is stupid. I could go all day on how much this article sucks. Not going to continue to waste my time though. You should have held on to this one and posted it as JoBlo's April Fools next year.
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12:57PM on 12/20/2012
As much as I like the film (and I DO!)...
FORREST GUMP or You'll Succeed In America IF You're Dumb And Blindly Follow The Rules And Orders...
As much as I like the film (and I DO!)...
FORREST GUMP or You'll Succeed In America IF You're Dumb And Blindly Follow The Rules And Orders...
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12:30PM on 12/20/2012

BULL. SHIT.

Congratulations. This article seems to officially take the cake of the most ridiculous and awful pieces of writing I've read so far on this beloved site. Almost 100% of this entire article is wrong. I'm going to agree with TheGrimaceOR that this Unpopular opinion series be deleted. If they're going to hate on one of the most incredible movies ever made and have zero factual information to back it up then I saw destroy it. Forrest Gump is actually one of the only movies I can say was better than
Congratulations. This article seems to officially take the cake of the most ridiculous and awful pieces of writing I've read so far on this beloved site. Almost 100% of this entire article is wrong. I'm going to agree with TheGrimaceOR that this Unpopular opinion series be deleted. If they're going to hate on one of the most incredible movies ever made and have zero factual information to back it up then I saw destroy it. Forrest Gump is actually one of the only movies I can say was better than the book. Every award it got was more than deserved and it DOES get better with every re-watch. I feel like whoever wrote this article took the Retard-award grab from Tropic Thunder too literally. I love how "sweeping score" is used as a negative thing now. This is stupid. I could go all day on how much this article sucks. Not going to continue to waste my time though. You should have held on to this one and posted it as JoBlo's April Fools next year.
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6:36AM on 12/20/2012

This Article is never good

I am not sure if this article is always done by the same person, but wasn't there one of these a while back that was for the movie Benjamin Button and how good it was, which is just reverse Forrest Gump. This article is almost always a troll with every time making half unsupported complaints that never really make sense or are backed with reasons and honestly seems just put together to flame on arguments. This my be my own Unpopular Opinion but get rid of this feature as a whole... it
I am not sure if this article is always done by the same person, but wasn't there one of these a while back that was for the movie Benjamin Button and how good it was, which is just reverse Forrest Gump. This article is almost always a troll with every time making half unsupported complaints that never really make sense or are backed with reasons and honestly seems just put together to flame on arguments. This my be my own Unpopular Opinion but get rid of this feature as a whole... it brings down what is a very good movie news sight with for the most part spot on good reviews.
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6:43AM on 12/20/2012
found the old article on Benjamin Button...or as i call it Jamin Butt and to Alex Maidy defense it was written by someone else

[link]
found the old article on Benjamin Button...or as i call it Jamin Butt and to Alex Maidy defense it was written by someone else

[link]
5:07AM on 12/20/2012

I'm okay with this

While I don't necessarily hate Forrest Gump, I've never really been a big fan of it. It's an excellent film, just wasn't my cup of tea. It doesn't help that I thought both Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption could have won Best Picture that year instead.
While I don't necessarily hate Forrest Gump, I've never really been a big fan of it. It's an excellent film, just wasn't my cup of tea. It doesn't help that I thought both Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption could have won Best Picture that year instead.
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12:04AM on 12/20/2012

..................

..............
..............
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12:04AM on 12/20/2012

consween is hoping to piss people off and get thumbs down......

That's what he wants, so just ignore him and he will lose. :-)
That's what he wants, so just ignore him and he will lose. :-)
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11:56PM on 12/19/2012
Fuck you fanboys. You all like the worst shit, and you prove it over and over again. Forrest Gump is terrible, saccharine garbage. Forrest Gump fans are always boring people.
Fuck you fanboys. You all like the worst shit, and you prove it over and over again. Forrest Gump is terrible, saccharine garbage. Forrest Gump fans are always boring people.
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4:42PM on 12/19/2012
Alex Maidy.....Are you stupid or something?
Alex Maidy.....Are you stupid or something?
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10:08AM on 12/19/2012

Stop It Just Stop It

To call FOREST GUMP a bad movie, especially after saying you tear up after seeing three of the most important scenes in the movie is just wrong and amazingly hypocritical. First off, If a movie brings you to tears multiple times, in your life and in the film, then you felt something powerful, and that just does'nt come from a great performance by an actor in a particular scene. It comes from the journey he took to get there, the journey you took with him to get you to that point (or multiple
To call FOREST GUMP a bad movie, especially after saying you tear up after seeing three of the most important scenes in the movie is just wrong and amazingly hypocritical. First off, If a movie brings you to tears multiple times, in your life and in the film, then you felt something powerful, and that just does'nt come from a great performance by an actor in a particular scene. It comes from the journey he took to get there, the journey you took with him to get you to that point (or multiple points in your case) where you felt his pain, his anguish. That's hard to do in any movie, let alone a movie with a buffoon (a lovable buffoon) as your lead character. You sound like those old farts you claim the movie was made for. I have a story too Mr. Maidy, and it goes like this:

I was living in PA and I came home to visit my parents in NY. They had the movie FORREST GUMP on the table. I was in a good mood because I had missed being home. I thought to myself. This movie is probably going to suck. The reason I thought that was because usually when a movie is overhyped, I end up hating it. I watched the film and was in tears. I thought it was one of the saddest films ever. But then a funny thing happened, I decided to watch it again. I don't know why, because I never do that, even to this day. I watched it again and laughed my ass off. Since I knew this character so well, having been on his journey, It wasn't as depressing. It was now actually quite funny. It was hilarious how stupid he was, and how his buffoonery accidentally brought him fame and fortune. None of which he cared for. Now whenever I watch it, depending on my mood, it's either a drama or comedy.

Which brings me to my point. It doesn't matter how old you are or how mature you think you are, or how smart you think you sound dissecting the movie. It's the magic that the film brings with it that makes it a good film. And that's one thing Mr. Maidy that you can never take away from it.. It's magic. That little 13 year old boy in you knows that and that's why you can't help but tear up during those scenes. Good day Mr. Maidy
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9:01AM on 12/19/2012
Damn, I am glad I am not the only one.
Damn, I am glad I am not the only one.
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6:55AM on 12/19/2012

I agree!

I think this movie is crap. Tom Hanks's acting is awful in it. In fact, I think Gary Sinise is the only bearable performer in the film. FORREST GUMP has no subtlety. Just plain sucks.
I think this movie is crap. Tom Hanks's acting is awful in it. In fact, I think Gary Sinise is the only bearable performer in the film. FORREST GUMP has no subtlety. Just plain sucks.
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4:41PM on 12/19/2012
Are you stupid or something?
Are you stupid or something?
6:33AM on 12/19/2012
It's a good movie - a feel good movie. That's it.
It's a good movie - a feel good movie. That's it.
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4:49AM on 12/19/2012
I love this movie. It will always have a special place in my heart.
I love this movie. It will always have a special place in my heart.
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3:59AM on 12/19/2012
Forrest Gump is just one of those movies people love to hate. It's a movie that doesn't really get better after multiple viewings & it definitely is not Tom Hanks best role. Besides Philadelphia, he definitely got robbed for Saving Private Ryan (whole movie did really?) This movie is what it is & from what I have heard it is definitely more lighthearted than the book its based on. In the book Forrest is described as a well a real asshole & is racist & a lil more well full on retard. However
Forrest Gump is just one of those movies people love to hate. It's a movie that doesn't really get better after multiple viewings & it definitely is not Tom Hanks best role. Besides Philadelphia, he definitely got robbed for Saving Private Ryan (whole movie did really?) This movie is what it is & from what I have heard it is definitely more lighthearted than the book its based on. In the book Forrest is described as a well a real asshole & is racist & a lil more well full on retard. However whenever the movie comes out on TV ya just can't help but watch it. Within 2 weeks alone both AMC & TNT played it & then for some odd reason it was on Bravo.
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7:57AM on 12/19/2012
I seem to remember the book (and its sequel Gump & Co.) going for broader humor than the movie. There was a segment that thankfully didn't make it into the movie, where Forrest went to space with a chimp.
I seem to remember the book (and its sequel Gump & Co.) going for broader humor than the movie. There was a segment that thankfully didn't make it into the movie, where Forrest went to space with a chimp.
11:53PM on 12/19/2012
^Very interesting...I think I'm going to have to check out these books now.
^Very interesting...I think I'm going to have to check out these books now.
3:56AM on 12/19/2012
catering to Academy voters... and audiences in general, being one of the highest grossing films of the decade (#5).

I'ts a pretty good, funny, and uplifting movie. But i will agree that Shawshank shouldve taken the big award that year
catering to Academy voters... and audiences in general, being one of the highest grossing films of the decade (#5).

I'ts a pretty good, funny, and uplifting movie. But i will agree that Shawshank shouldve taken the big award that year
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1:38AM on 12/19/2012
Forrest Gump is nostalgia for baby boomers. As such, it doesn't translate well to successive generations who have little to no connection to things like Vietnam, counterculture stuff or most of the politics or politicians of the day. It's also way too sentimental, which is something that comes with nostalgia. Amidst all it's ambitions to be a sweeping epic, it forgets to pay attention to the true significance underlining many of the historical moments it features. Everything is sterilized and
Forrest Gump is nostalgia for baby boomers. As such, it doesn't translate well to successive generations who have little to no connection to things like Vietnam, counterculture stuff or most of the politics or politicians of the day. It's also way too sentimental, which is something that comes with nostalgia. Amidst all it's ambitions to be a sweeping epic, it forgets to pay attention to the true significance underlining many of the historical moments it features. Everything is sterilized and disinfected in favor of its main character's corny subtext, which ultimately robs the viewer of both a dramatic and historical experience, leaving behind only blatant mawkishness.
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11:55PM on 12/19/2012
Well said. I don't understand the negs on this one. This is just an honest comment.
Well said. I don't understand the negs on this one. This is just an honest comment.
1:28AM on 12/19/2012

How do I put this nicely?....This is BS!

" FORREST GUMP feels more like it was written and filmed with Academy voters in mind rather than audiences."....It definitely wasn't because millions of people loved it. What you just said right there makes ZERO sense. And it wasn't only catered to Oscar voters.

"but still falls completely short of actually having a heart.".....You have got to be kidding me.

" it is hard to get past Tom Hanks peeking out a little."....I never thought that. You're obviously just looking for flaws, so
" FORREST GUMP feels more like it was written and filmed with Academy voters in mind rather than audiences."....It definitely wasn't because millions of people loved it. What you just said right there makes ZERO sense. And it wasn't only catered to Oscar voters.

"but still falls completely short of actually having a heart.".....You have got to be kidding me.

" it is hard to get past Tom Hanks peeking out a little."....I never thought that. You're obviously just looking for flaws, so you're making things up that aren't true.
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