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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Forrest Gump (1994)

#1 - 1994 Box Office: Gross $329,694,499

The story of a lifetime
Robert Zemeckis directs this adaptation of Winston Groom's 1986 novel, which tells the story of a simple man (Tom Hanks) who travels across the world, unwittingly finding himself in the middle of major historical events of the 20th Century. Whether it's at the integration of University of Alabama or a protest rally headed by Abbie Hoffman at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, Gump finds himself meeting Presidents and influential people throughout his life.  However, he almost always is drawn back to his childhood friend, Jenny (Robin Wright) who never judged Forrest.  He spends some time in Vietnam and makes a lifelong friend in his Lieutenant, Lt. Dan (Gary Sinese). Sally Field plays his long-suffering mother while many other famous figures (e.g. JFK) costar thanks to Industrial Light & Magic.

Trivia (mostly courtesy of the IMDb)
  • The fastest grossing Paramount film to pass the $100-, $200- & $300-million marks (as of its release)
  • For the first ten weeks of its release, the film held the number one position at the box office and the film remained in theaters for 42 weeks
  • Winston Groom had a 3% share in the film's net profits, however despite earning over $300 million at the box office, Paramount claimed that they were still at least $60 million out of profit due to the costs of promotion, distribution and interest.  When Paramount came to Groom for the rights to his sequel, Gump and Co., he reportedly replied, "I cannot, in good conscience, allow money to be wasted on a failure."
  • Bill Murray, John Travolta and Chevy Chase turned down the role of Forrest
  • David Alan Grier, Ice Cube and Dave Chappelle turned down the role of Bubba
  • The necklace worn by Lt. Dan is a rosary with a St Christopher medal, inscribed "Protect Us In Combat." It was worn in Vietnam by Sinise's brother-in-law, Jack Treese, in 1967-68
  • The first boy in the school bus who refuses to let Forrest sit next to him is played by Alexander Zemeckis, director Robert Zemeckis' son
  • While playing at the nightclub, Jenny goes under the name of Bobbie Dylan and sings "Blowin' In The Wind" by Bob Dylan
  • With every transition of Forrest's age, one thing remains the same- in the first scene of each transition he wears a blue plaid shirt
  • Sally Field is only ten years older than Tom Hanks
  • The traffic flow around squares in Savannah is normally counterclockwise. The flow was reversed for the movie in order to have the bus doors open into the square
  • Every still picture of Forrest during this film shows Tom Hanks with his eyes closed (sounds familiar)
  • Forrest's awards and decorations, as worn in his Class A uniform are: the Medal of Honor, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Infantry Shoulder Cord, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Badge and Meritorious Unit Commendation
You died on a Saturday morning...
Some may view Forrest Gump as silly, manipulative drivel.  I, however, am always amazed at the vastness of the story.  From Elvis Presley to John Lennon, JFK to Watergate, Apple stock to Sh!t Happens bumper stickers—this film somehow ties the most random pieces of pop culture together like Billy Joel did in "We Didn't Start the Fire."  And speaking of music, the soundtrack is fantastic—The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, KC & the Sunshine Band, more The Doors, The Byrds, etc.—it almost feels like an entire generation's music put on film.  In researching this blog, I've read there are many differences between the film and the novel (Forrest becomes an astronaut?!) and I'm tempted to seek out this book and its meta-referential sequel.  Although I don't know how I'd be able to read the novel without seeing Hanks' top notch performance throughout... Despite its somewhat heavy material at times, this movie just makes me happy whenever I see it.  I can't think of anything wrong with it!

Ponch's Rating:

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