Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tuesdays Top-Grossing Reviews: 1994

Year: 1994
Film: Forrest Gump
Box Office Gross: $ 329,691,196
Awards: 6 Academy Awards, Best Picture, Best Actor for Tom Hanks, Best Director for Robert Zemeckis, Visual Effects, Adapted Screenplay, Film Editing
Actors: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Sally Field, Gary Sinise, and Haley Joel Osment

In 1994, I was in high school and many of the historical references in Forrest Gump went right past me. It's one of the reasons it holds up so well. It doesn't spend much time carefully explaining historical events, but rather explores how they affected or were affected by a single person. So as you learn more about history yourself, Forrest provides another glimpse at something you didn't notice before. It starts in the early 1950s, with a young Elvis Presley staying at Forrest's mother's boarding house and learning his signature move from Forrest dancing with leg braces. With the help of his best friend Jenny, Forrest navigates high school, and even college since he could run really fast on the football field. After college he joins up to fight in the war in Vietnam, and given that he only does what people tell him to do, he fits right in. He knows right from wrong and saves a whole bunch of people, including his CO, Lt. Dan (Sinise). There are a lot of effects where Forrest gets to meet with various president's too, from JFK, Johnson, and Nixon. Since social niceties escape Forrest, he doesn't notice much about them other than they're "nice young men". During his stint in the Army, Forrest meets Benjamin Beuford Blue "Bubba". Bubba teaches Forrest all about shrimping. And even though Bubba doesn't survive the war, Forrest goes into the shrimping business with Lt. Dan. Through all his adventures, Forrest thinks about Jenny. Finally, Jenny calls to Forrest to come see her and they end up together raising their son.

This was an incredibly creatively done movie that doesn't really try to judge history, but show funny intersections that might have happened. The performance by Hanks (one year after Philadelphia won him his first Oscar) is terrific. He's consistently innocent, polite, informative, loyal, and non-judgemental. The Oscar nominated score gets me every time. I love the intro and conclusion of the movie following the feather with the great music by Alan Silvestri. This is also one of the best soundtracks ever. It's strange to look back at 1994 and see that Forrest Gump competed with The Shawshank Redemption (No. 2 on IMDB's top 250) and Pulp Fiction (No. 5) with Forrest only making it to No. 51. Forrest Gump only outgrossed another 1994 movie, The Lion King, by $1million. It just goes to show how high-class 1994 was. The catch-phrases from this movie have also held up pretty well, "Run, Forrest, Run" and "Life is Like a Box of Chocolates" are pretty common around my house. Also, the Bubba Gump Shrimp company is now a franchised seafood restaurant. Not sure what that says about the movie itself, but the movie's definitely ingrained into our consciousness.

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Nayana Anthony said...

Nice trip down memory lane, Jess.

I was 15 and saw this in the theater with two guy friends. I then proceeded to thoroughly embarrass myself by bawling through the last 10 minutes.

Jess said...

Thanks Nayana, I meant to mention that I was motivated to do 1994 by your Wackness review!