By Bill Wine
KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Here we are on the twentieth anniversary of one of the most celebrated and influential movies in recent decades.
Forrest Gump was nominated for thirteen Oscars in 1994, winning six: best picture, best director (Robert Zemeckis), best actor (Tom Hanks), best adapted screenplay, best editing, and best visual effects.
And although you certainly don’t need to see it on an Imax screen in a movie theatre to enjoy or appreciate it, that’s exactly where you’ll find it as of this week.
So if you want to use the Imax release as an excuse to revisit it –- or, perhaps, to experience it for the first time -– then, by all means, have at this extraordinary entertainment.
While you’re considering it, I’ve got three movie recommendations for you: one is a sparkling comedy, another is a moving drama, and the third is a unique special-effects adventure.
And they’re all Forrest Gump.
It’s funny, thought-provoking, touching, unpredictable, even awe-inspiring. But like most great films, it’s difficult to categorize. Let’s call it a romantic comedy-drama docu-fable.
Whatever the heck that means.
It’s the fanciful story of one American with a small brain and a big heart who encounters several 20th-century icons and manages, while his country loses its innocence, to hold onto his.
Tom Hanks plays a man-boy with an IQ of 75, Robin Wright the woman he loves with unqualified devotion, Sally Field his wisdom-spouting mother, and best supporting actor Oscar nominee Gary Sinise his best buddy.
That’s about all you need to know going in, except that this humble, unassuming, straight-talking man will become part of just about every major American historical event over the three decades the film depicts.
Few movies have added as many lines of dialogue to our collective pop-culture consciousness:
- “Run, Forrest, run!”
- “Stupid as as stupid does.”
- “Life is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re gonna get.”
Despite its obvious critical and commercial success, the film had its share of detractors, a phenomenon that might be attributed to the fact that most layered, impactful movies, like a Rorschach test, can be interpreted in many different ways.
Among the host of trees this Forrest has going for it, two stand out: an actor at the top of his game and a director at the top of his.
Hanks, coming off his Academy Award-winning role in Philadelphia, turned in another gem as the supposed chump named Gump, playing the steadfast Forrest with irresistibly sweet, goofy optimism.
As for director Zemeckis, he proved once again that he was a master at combining high-tech effects and solid storytelling, as he had already done in the Back to the Future trilogy, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and Death Becomes Her, and would later do in Contact, Cast Away, The Polar Express, and Flight.
Forrest Gump takes a back seat to none of them.
The sequences in which Gump appears with actual historical figures of the fifties, sixties, and seventies remain, even in the CGI era, ingenious and hilarious.
So we’ll run alongside 4 stars out of 4 for the magical twentieth-century parable, Forrest Gump, a dizzyingly original existential dramedy about destiny that’s as light as a feather, as strong as an ox, as colorful as fireworks, and as spellbinding as hypnosis.