Monday, January 11, 2010

You know what's a good movie? Forrest Gump

Hello devout readers! FattMatt and I decided to try something new today, play a game of sorts. It's called, "You know what's a good movie?". For the next few days, we're going to talk about movies that are connected in some way. Maybe they share a director, maybe they share a starring actor or actress, or maybe there is a common plot? We're going to start with a very obvious movie, because we honestly don't know what movie we're going to discuss tomorrow, until tomorrow.

So.... You know what's a good movie? Forrest Gump. The movie that won every Oscar there is to win was an amazing piece of film history. Tom Hanks plays Forrest Gump; a man who lives an incredible life filled with some of this country's greatest moments in history. It co-stars Robin Wright Penn and is directed by Robert Zemeckis.

FattMatt and I have discussed over and over. We've tried explaining this to people numerous times; the movie is based on the notion of coincidence or chance. Yes, indeed, the character of Forrest is lovable and charming. The special effects that placed Tom Hanks in the pages of history were breath taking. The love story sub-plot was reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet, the star-crossed lovers that could not be. But the fundamental idea of the film is that anyone, from anywhere can do great things. In Forrest Gump's case, it was all by chance.

By chance he was a college football star. By chance he was a ping pong champion, a Vietnam War hero, a shrimp boat Captain phenom because a hurricane took out every other boat in the area. This made for an amazing adventure through the life of someone who was so pure, so innocent, he couldn't hurt a fly.

Tom Hanks played it perfectly, one of those performances we rarely get to see. Where an actor BECOMES the character, not simply plays the part. Few actors have ever accomplished this. Off the top of my head, the only other two that come to mind... Denzel Washington in Training Day and Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight.

Robin Wright Penn played the troubled love of Forrest Gump, Jenny. And Penn delivered! She expressed pain, confusion and hurt that so few actresses could ever pull off. Jenny was abused as a child and that lead to many, many wrong decisions. The one constant in her life was Forrest. Her and Forrest, again, by chance, stay in each other's lives. Penn was terrific.

Robert Zemeckis won the Oscar for Best Director and deserved it. The movie was well ahead of its times as far as visual story telling and special effects. Forrest Gump had an amazing soundtrack that played to the times in the film. Looking back, there are movies today that still can't convince you of Zemeckis did years ago. That Tom Hanks shook hands with the presidents of past? Amazing. Keeping the theme throughout the film convincing must have been a difficult task.

Forrest Gump will forever be talked about. It's one of those "movies for the ages". It's one of the few that I can think of from the 1990's that has stayed with the times. Truly an amazing film.

Check back tomorrow for the next installment of "You know what's a good movie?".

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