Tom Hanks Project – “Forrest Gump” Review

29 Apr

Forrest_GumpThis movie is as close to perfect as it’s gonna get. I remember a time in the mid-90s when it was so over-quoted that it was easy to get burnt out on it. And there are plenty of film fans who think it was a dopey, lightweight movie that stole all the Oscars that should have gone to “Pulp Fiction” or “Shawshank Redemption.” I don’t buy it. Even though I knew every beat of the movie after dozens of VHS viewings in my childhood*, I was amazed at how it could still affect me and how much I loved every minute of re-watching it with Caitlin for the first time. Spoiler alert: I’m throwing out 10’s for the first time. A bunch of them.

*I only saw this classic once all the way through, so I’d forgotten a lot, which was almost a happier surprise for me — I got to see it with fresh eyes and be delighted all over again.


“Forrest Gump” is the story of one man floating through life as he accidentally finds himself in the center of nearly every relevant event from the mid-50s through the 70’s. From the integration of schools to busting Nixon on Watergate, Gump runs through life, charmingly touching everyone in his path. It’s endlessly quotable and sweet and incredibly well-made by director Robert Zemeckis and tremendously acted all around. I’d say the plot is spoiler free at this point, but I somehow ruined a major character dying to Caitlin minutes before it happened, even though she’s seen the movie, so let’s just leave the plot alone and say that even if you’ve seen this best picture winner a number of times, it’s always a good time for a re-watch. The only parts I remembered were that Forrest was fairly simple-minded, that he ran, and that he went to war. Imagine my surprise when I discovered how much more this movie had to offer.

Laugh out loud: Zack: 76 Caitlin: 88 We laughed at every historical nod. At every Lt. Dan aside. At every Bubba shrimping reference. We laughed really hard every time Hanks waved or jumped off a boat or did anything particularly physical. There are so many sweet, cute moments in this film, it’s hard not to giggle every so often.


Comedy: Zack: 9.3 Caitlin: 9.3  Even though I always knew what was coming, I laughed a ton. There are a number of serious parts, but there’s laughs pretty much all throughout. Even things like Forrest saying “why are you dying, mama?” made us laugh. I don’t remember laughing at “Why are you dying,” but I do know there are moments you kind of coo and just want to scoop up these characters that you end up caring so much about. This isn’t meant to be a comedy, but I think it’s meant to be life-affirming, and there’s always comedy in life.

Cry: Zack: 2 Caitlin: 0 How did I cry at this one and not at Philadelphia? I cried when Forrest meets little Forrest for the first time (his daddy’s name is Forrest too?) and Tom is overcome with emotion and Jenny cries looking at them watching “Bert & Ernie” together. Then when Forrest is crying at Jenny’s grave (that was the spoiler I ruined for Caitlin) I lost it again. I teared up when Forrest asks Jenny, “Is he…is he…” and she interrupts and says, “He’s smart, Forrest, he’s so smart.” For Forrest to still, despite all of his momma’s reassurances, worry that he’d be the cause of his son to be ridiculed through life – it gets me every time. That depth of caring just shows how little credit people gave Forrest.


Eye Cover: Zack: 0 Caitlin: 2 Both were Vietnam scenes. As soon as they opened fire when the rain starts, the blanket went over her head. It stayed there through Bubba’s death scene. I just couldn’t watch these guys I’d grown to love get blown to smithereens, least of all Bubba. Poor, sweet Bubba.


Romantic Interest: Zack: 9.6 Caitlin: 9.7 Forrest lives for Jenny. She’s his only friend from about age 7 through high school. She’s the only woman he ever loves. He’d follow her to the ends of the Earth and back. I mean, he kinda did, running back and forth across the world for three years after she left him in the middle of the night. “You’ll always be my girl.” Come on. Can’t beat that. I think Forrest’s love for Jenny is sweet and true, as is hers for Forrest, but I do think that it takes her a long while to get to the point where she’s ready to love Forrest, so I can’t call this a perfect 10. I appreciate that Jenny never takes Forrest for granted, or abuses his caring for her – she waits until she’s truly ready to be with him. Caitlin convinced me to bump it down to a 9.6. Jenny’s inability to see that Forrest was right with her until the very end is a big limiting factor.

Contest: If you want our extra DVD of “Forrest Gump” comment on this post with your guess of how many times Forrest says “Jenny” in the entire movie. You have until Thursday, May 1st at noon to guess. Closest wins. You *can* go over. 


Hanks: Zack: 10 Caitlin: 10 Hanks is absolutely pitch perfect as Gump. The accent work. The mannerisms work. He’s funny. He’s charming. It never feels cheap or ploying. It’s just the best. He really is the perfect Forrest. You can tell Hanks cares for the character and doesn’t want to make a joke out of him – he is careful to be Forrest without being a caricature of him.

Movie: Zack: 10 Caitlin: 10 This is the Hanks movie to beat for me. I love the story. The message. The acting. The visuals. The soundtrack. My god, the soundtrack! I want to watch it again with commentary right now and then watch all the special features and then watch it again tomorrow. GUMP! Forrest Gump is about how, whether life is a series of little accidents or a pre-made plan or somewhere in between, if you just do the best with what you’ve got, you can see all of the sunsets and the stars and the sunrises to infinity and even if it doesn’t give you all of the answers, it puts everything into perspective and helps you live out your days as fully as you can. As someone who deals with a lot of anxiety about the future, this movie knocked me on my butt and grounded me into realizing that all I can do is the best I can do each day, which may be better or worse than the last, and that’s OK, and we’re all OK. And that’s all we have to say. About that.


8 Responses to “Tom Hanks Project – “Forrest Gump” Review”

  1. D.A.D. chi version April 29, 2014 at 11:36 am #

    48 Jennies ….peas and carrots

  2. Roarke Moody April 29, 2014 at 2:15 pm #


  3. Kellen Manley April 30, 2014 at 10:59 am #

    I’ll ‘price is right’ it…49 (but I also think it might be 48).

  4. Clarissa nava April 30, 2014 at 5:39 pm #

    42 times

  5. Marcus Kempton (@AspectRatio235) April 30, 2014 at 5:45 pm #


  6. tapeparade May 4, 2014 at 10:02 am #

    Oh my gosh I love this film so much, I watched it whilst ill with kidney infection. About 17 times. People are always asking me to do my impression of Tom Hanks when he says “Is he… is he…” bit – I bring that corker out at parties and in the pub all the time. SUCH A GOOD FILM. X


  1. Introduction to The Tom Hanks Project | rockloveaustin - May 1, 2014

    […] Forrest Gump – 1994 – Review […]

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