Don’t get me wrong–I love Forrest Gump as much as the next person, but honestly, how did this movie win any Oscars at all? And it didn’t just win one Oscar–it won six: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and Best Visual Effects. But, does it really deserve them?
Believe me, it’s killing me to write these words, because not only is it bashing one of my favorite movies, it’s also bashing one of my favorite actors. But, it’s been said that admitting something has flaws is one of the characteristics of successful people. So, I’m not just being negative, I’m being very successful.
This movie is actually quite hilarious (until the end when it rips your heart into tiny little pieces and then throws them in the blender). All the coincidences Forrest stumbles upon are the epitome of comedy. He’s secretly the creator of the smiley face and the man behind the slogan “Sh*t happens”? C’mon, that’s hysterical.
But the humor just doesn’t seem fitting of an Oscar-winning movie. It’s not exactly high-brow humor, which is what you expect from a movie that has such a prestigious award. There’s even a joke about premature ejaculation (which seemed oddly-placed, in my opinion). Not exactly catering to the elite of society.
Still, it’s an entertaining movie and even if I don’t find it Oscar-worthy, I still think it has excellent jokes and comedic timing.
Yes, I understand that this is supposed to be from the life of a man who’s done everything, but it’s just so much on which to focus. Even a brief plot synopsis of this movie would take up a good two pages. It goes from Alabama to Vietnam to Washington, D.C. to Louisiana to Alabama and everywhere in between. Plus, it seems like there’s new characters with their own unique plot lines emerging with every scene. It’s difficult to keep up.
But then again, this could be the genius of the movie. They overloaded the plot so much that the Academy just knew there had to be some sort of great moral or value in it, so they gave it an award. After all, a two-and-a-half hour movie with a winding plot couldn’t possibly be just another movie, could it (jokes, Inception fans)?
Overuse of Music
This film had some banging music from the 50s, 60s, and 70s, but it was way overused. It felt like once one song had ended another one immediately began. If there were dancing involved, this movie could qualify as a musical rather than a comedy/drama.
The placement wasn’t ideal either. The Vietnam scene where the rain finally clears up and Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” softly plays in the background just seemed so out-of-place, especially when the bullets started flying. The music ended as soon and as randomly as it began–it probably played for a minute at the most.
It seemed like Forrest Gump was simply trying to evoke too much nostalgia in too little time. Like Robert Zemeckis was sitting at the conference table and said, “You know what will really make this movie great? Music. And I don’t just mean the occasional background track. I mean the whole movie is just going to be filled with music. All of it.” And all his underlings, too scared to contradict him, were all enthusiastically nodding their heads like, “Sounds great, Boss!”
That Contrast, Though
Forrest Gump is a strange movie in how it blends genres so brazenly. One minute, you’re chuckling at something cute Forrest did to try and see Jenny. The next, tears are streaming down your face.
This bugs me mostly because I never know what genre to put it in. Comedy? Drama? War? Musical? How did the Academy figure it out? Did they just take a head count to see how many people were crying and how many were laughing after the movie and then just use that reaction as the basis for the genre? I don’t know.
Then again, maybe the Academy liked the fact that it was so realistic. Life isn’t always happy or always sad. There’s moments of sadness and moments of happiness in between everything. That’s what makes this such a gut-wrenching movie.
Just a Little Too Much
Overall, Forrest Gump just had a little too much crammed into too small a movie. The music constantly reminded you what time period you were in with an overwhelming urgency. The low-brow comedy was placed at the most random times. Its run-time, though two-and-a-half hours, was still too short to contain all of the plot in a focused manner that didn’t drown the audience in plot.
This isn’t to say that Forrest Gump isn’t one of the funniest, most heartwarming movies you’ll ever watch. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and life and laugh a bit on the way, too. While it’s not exactly the most sophisticated humor, it’s still funny and you’ll definitely laugh out loud a few times. The plot is a lot to take in, but that just encourages you to watch it over and over again so you can figure out what’s going on. It has a lot of music, but who doesn’t love music?
To me, it’s a great film. Just not an Oscar-worthy film.
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