I ain’t much for popular opinion.
I can’t remember the last time I fully trusted the tally of a widely held opinion. This isn’t a contrarian gallivant, myopic bent or some degenerative condition that rhymes with Larry King. Nah, it’s just the truth in my lovely bones. A truth that cannot shut up, even when it really . . really should.
Every now and then, I say something that perturbs the proclivities of a heretofore popular vote gone final. Like . . for instance, when I suggest that I ain’t down with the idea that Forrest Gump is a great movie.
I discussed this opinion with a friend of mine recently, and the results . . they were predictable. And shit! If it ain’t safer to stand in the middle of Pyongang and call Kim Jong Un a cocksucker than it is to suggest that Forrest Gump isn’t the greatest story ever told. Because her response was uglier than a Charles Manson welcoming committee. More inhospitable than Elton John after a bad spa day. It was meaner than a shit faced Bethany Frankel, a sober Tucker Carlson . . more hell bent than Trump in a KFC drive-thru whilst waiting on a big vote.
So if you have a problem with it, you ain’t telling me anything I ain’t heard already. But please notice I make a point to say Gump ain’t great, I’m not saying it’s not good. Maybe even really good. Not that it matters to Gump Nation.
The IMDB 100 Greatest Movies of All Time lists Forrest Gump at Number 16 . . . of all time. Take it for what it’s worth, considering they put Gladiator at 34- a flick which is basically the cinematic equivalent of a bacon cheeseburger; easy to love, but not to be mistaken with a filet mignon. The American Film Institute is a tad more realistic in their top 100 ranking, listing Gump at 71.
There is alchemy to ranking systems, in that they are able to transform the factual into something much sexier than that. Forrest Gump happened into the right time and the right place. America was in a funky place in 1994, having hired a President it wasn’t fully sold on to make good on a Kennedy myth that we knew was never present. We were struggling through a racial divide that was only getting more complicated with the arrest of O.J. Simpson. Terrorists had bombed the Trade Center the year before and taken down the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City only months earlier.
Forrest Gump was a simple piece of American pie served to the hungry masses. The first weekend’s box office bite quenched a hunger, after which the film’s producers upped the marketing ante and every other fucking commercial and movie ad was Forrest Fucking Gump . . and I know because I was there. Sooooo . . . good became something else entirely, in an Andy Warhol manner of artful speak. You can win a pot with an okay hand but it requires selling the table, and man . . did they sell the table. After which it had everything movie goers pined for. It offered big names, a popular director, simple dialogue, kitschy catchphrases, paint by the numbers history lessons and a killer soundtrack. It was a political movie that wasn’t political, and who doesn’t love that?
My top 5 reasons why Forrest Gump Love bugs the shit out of me? Sure . . .
5- Too Much Information- You know those restaurants where the menu is a novel, featuring everything from chicken pot pie to paella so you always end up ordering an omelette or a burger? Yep, that’s Forrest Gump. It’s too much, without really being enough of anything.
4- People Love The Every Man- In movies. Everybody loves Forrest Gump when he’s a fictional character. But in real life . . ain’t nobody showing a dude with a crew cut and an IQ of 75 much love. Especially not Robin Wright.
3- Peeps Even Get The Lines Wrong– People are always plugging Gump lines into every day conversations, but when pressed for the best of ’em . . they can’t get it right. It ain’t “a box of chocolates” or “stupid is as stupid does” or even “run Forrest run!”. It’s “sometimes, there just aren’t enough rocks”. And it’s not even close!
2- Musical Seduction- The soundtrack seduced those peeps who were on the fence into going along with those peeps who were head over heels for the movie. Because really . . you can close your eyes and just listen.
1- Tom Hanks Did A Job . . But . . Just That– Never mind that, because back in the day, he was the silver screen’s sultan. There’s a reason why Hollywood has an A-list. Those peeps bat four in the lineup and yes . . they are expected to clean up. Hanks did his job . . but that doesn’t mean this was a great job!
It’s funny, because when I had this ‘disagreement’ with my otherwise agreeable pal, she had to pull the Fargo card on me. As in “You love Fargo . . so what do you know?”. And it’s funny because she was trashing my opinion in order to make hers. Which isn’t the same thing . . at all. I mean . . I didn’t trash her sports teams or her choice in a husband (who happens to be a Red Sox fan), and I didn’t even trash her love for the sitcom Roseanne, which is a show whose popularity I will never understand.