Sentimental Whack-a-Mole

If you really want to push my buttons, reduce me to tears, make me cry a dozen times, you don’t have to say a word–just turn on “Forrest Gump” and back out of the room slowly; bake for approximately two and a half hours, and return and you will find the gooiest, flakiest, weepiest little pastry inside this cinematic oven.

Ben and I just finished watching “Forrest Gump”, the sentimental 1994 classic film.  And I know that there are some haters out there; I mean, people despise this movie–and people are entitled to their opinion, of course it’s sappy and melodramatic–but people are reviewing it today and accusing it of being cliched.  This movie invented it’s own cliches.

robin_wright_forrest_gumpTo me, this movie is rife with emotional landmines, a sentimental whac-a-mole, a never ending parade poignant moments popping up everywhere, complimented by the best music of it’s era.

Bubba dies–WHAM!

forrest_gump_1994_9-800x450

Jenny and Forrest meet in the water at the Washington Monument-WHAM!

water hug

Jenny giving Forrest the peace sign as the bus pulls away; while The Byrds “Turn, Turn, Turn” plays on–WHAM!

Robin Wright Penn
Lieutenant Dan makes peace with God–WHAM!

lt dan

Mama dies–WHAM!

mama fg

And then as the film winds down, the hits come harder and faster.  After the drug abuse, and abusive boyfriends, Jenny comes home! WHAM–happy tears!  And then Forrest asks her to marry him; she says ‘no’, makes love to him in the middle of the night, and then grabs a cab ASAP while ole Forrest is still sleeping, slicked in a post-coital glow.

Ben reckons that this is a “dick move” on Jenny’s part.

And this is where the internet explodes with Jenny-cide, that bitch ran out on him! She’s a tramp! She’s a whore! She’s an addict; a gold digger! Never mind the business with the endless child molestation that set her on this awesome path, she’s the devil, I tell you the devil!  I think Jenny is one of the most tragic cinematic characters; this girl gets a raw deal from the get-go.  Traumatized from years of sexual violence, in an era where one didn’t seek counsel for such things, she had no structure, no self-worth.  She is always running and there lies the symbolism of Forrest relieving his heartbreak by running repeatedly across the country.   Forrest loved her unconditionally, which is the kind of thing that a troubled person runs the hell away from.  So, while the e-naysayers are out there, smack talking this twenty year old classic, claiming that Jenny is a ruinous opportunist, using him for his fortune; I disagree.  She was a single mother, slinging coffee in a diner, she was hardly biding her time to pounce, when Forrest would have had her home all along.  She didn’t want to take advantage; she also told Forrest “You don’t want to marry me”.  She thinks of herself as damaged goods, doesn’t want to be his burden. Jenny reveals that she has some “early 80’s mystery incurable disease” —oh yeah, WHAM! And she dies, leaving Forrest with the kid soon to be in “The Sixth Sense”.

baby gump

And then, just when you can’t take another moment; there’s Forrest Gump’s gravestone monologue, where he expresses all his love and loneliness to his deceased wife.-WH-WH-WHAM!

Some critics are awfully concerned with the film’s message, what the ending means–what Forrest’s life means.  ‘How can he be happy?’  I don’t think the movie ends happily; I think Forrest would spend the rest of his life longing for Jenny; but his life would have purpose in being a parent.  This movie says that stupidity equals redemption–I don’t think this movie says anything about stupidity being good or bad, just that this one man had this life, and was in a sense, lucky.  Forrest Gump is a racist.  That’s my favorite.  This reasoning is that he was named after a KKK leader; but his mother’s rationale is that the name is to remind him that sometimes “people do things that just don’t make no sense”.  Which is a theme that continues throughout the picture.  And also, the fact that Bubba is a black man of limited intelligence; but it’s not questioned as much as Gump’s intelligence–“oh, so we are just assuming that’s he’s stupid because he’s black!” they cry.  No, I don’t think that’s the case at all; if they wanted to explore Bubba’s character, they would have made the movie and called it “Bubba”.  And also, it’s two and a half hours long, they can’t luxuriate over every single minor character–is that reasoning enough for you, those who felt the gay and lesbian community wasn’t properly represented?  Sheesh, what are we wanting from our movies besides engrossing stories and excellent soundtracks–laughter and catharsis.  Listen, I don’t want to force my cinematic agenda down anyone’s throats; but I will leave you with this thought–before Tom Hanks signed on to the film, the role was attached to Chevy Chase and Bill Murray before it was offered to John Travolta, and like Dave Chappelle, who turned down the role of Bubba, has since admitted regret for not being involved.  That’s the beauty of hindsight bitches!  But as it says in the film; we make our own destinies– sometimes by accident, and sometimes by choice, and there’s no way of knowing how it will all shake out, until it’s too late to turn back.

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