FORREST GUMP 25TH ANNIVERSARY

LIFE IS LIKE A BOX OF FORREST GUMP HATERS, AND I AM HERE FOR IT!

RETROSPECTIVE REVIEW
By Jess Fenton
6th July 2019

My whole life, I’ve believed that there were three core films - ‘Forrest Gump’ (1994), ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ (1994) and ‘Field of Dreams’ (1989). These were the films that were universally loved, placed on the highest pedestal. I thought that no one could fault them, they transcended all, and were considered masterpieces by all who viewed them. Together, they amassed 17 Academy Award nominations, winning six, all of them going to ‘Forrest Gump’. But after a quarter of a century of joy, I have come to learn that arguably the most popular of the three - I mean, there’s now a global chain of Bubba Gump Shrimp restaurants, but there’s no Shawshank prison - is not as popular as I first thought. When I first learned of the indifference or straight-up anger and hatred my peers felt for this film I thought they were simply being facetious or trying to push my buttons for shits and giggles. Not the case.

Lily Meek

I still don't understand the feather?

Daniel Lammin

Lily Meek

Like... the one at the beginning AND the end

Jess Fenton

Just visual bookends?

Daniel Lammin

Do you want my argument for why it's offensive on basically every level?

Jess Fenton

Why do you let a feather affect you so? It's a damn feather.

I want it all!

Lily Meek

Because no feather has ever fallen delicately at my feet with the pacing of a great score composed by Alan Silvestri and this guy gets it twice!?

Let's hope the score isn't offensive 😕

Jess Fenton

Because he's Forrest Freakin' Gump!! His whole damn life is magical!!

Daniel Lammin

I'll collate my thoughts. And I will say this now. I haven't grown to hate it. I hated it when I first saw it when I was 8 or whatever.

Jess Fenton

My god you were a bitter 8-year-old then.

Daniel Lammin

YES. THE MAGICAL PERSON WITH A MENTAL DISABILITY. WHICH HAS ALWAYS BEEN OFFENSIVE.

Well I mean, it was the same year as 'The Lion King', so probably.

Jess Fenton

Offensive to whom?

Lily Meek

Can I just say the 67th year for Academy Award nominations was a great year...

Daniel Lammin

Oh agreed, the nominations were great. The WINNERS, though...

Jess Fenton

Ah yes, the 67th Academy Awards that boasted nominees such as Shawshank, Pulp Fiction, Quiz Show, The Client and Little Women.

Charlie David Page

Just like this GIF - does that movie ever end??

Jess Fenton

Yes... with a feather 😂

Charlie David Page

Or is that just the loop point???

Lily Meek

I thought the loop point was when he met Jenny?

The 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th time?

Charlie David Page

I guess when your film lacks any other real plot...

Jess Fenton

He's an extraordinary person in a world that underestimated him. Why isn't that enough for you people!?

Lily Meek

Look, I'd be lying if I didn't say I enjoyed it! It's just one of those films you gotta strap in for

Even when I proposed the question to the Twittersphere, it didn’t exactly draw an overwhelming response in the “love” category. It seems the most common comment was “meh” both in person and online (ironically, that’s how I feel about Robert Zemeckis these days.)

So what’s happened? Have audiences grown to take this wonderful film for granted? Have they simply seen it too many times and are now weary? Did they view it at the wrong age or time? I’d be lying if I said these questions hadn’t contributed to my sleeplessness over this past week. To me, the tale of Forrest Gump is so ingrained in my DNA that it’s the cinematic equivalent to The Beatles. Ice cream, peas and carrots, Apple computers, cigarettes, shrimp, running, even legs or "magic legs" have a touch of Forrest to them in real, everyday life. This film eclipsed the major historical events it depicted to create its own zeitgeist and lexicon. How easy do you think that is to do!?

'FORREST GUMP' TRAILER

Now knowing what I know, I know that feeling the way that I do about this film is more unique than ever because I can see what others can't. So, yes, on this 25th anniversary of the film’s release, I’m going to strap myself in for what may probably be the 25th time in my life, and love this film just as much today as I did all those years ago. I’m going to marvel at Tom Hank’s performance, laugh when Forrest offers Lieutenant Dan some ice cream, or wave the way he does from that boat. I’m going to bawl my eyes out at Alan Silvestri’s score, one that literally makes my chest swell when I hear it. And scream "Oh my god!" when I see Haley Joel Osment as Forrest Jr, because for some reason I can never remember that he’s in this film. And then I’m going to Google what he looks like now and do a spit-take with the water I will be drinking at the time. Because I may not be a smart woman, but I know what a great movie is.


Photo by me. My boyfriend Sam and brother Casey, Santa Monica Pier, October 2019.

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