Friday, 12 March 2010

82. FORREST GUMP - 1994

There are some films that won Best Picture that surprise me to this day, and the fact that ‘Tom Jones’ won is the most obvious example. In my opinion, however, the least deserving winner is actually an obvious choice: a film that aims to make the everyday man feel good about himself and show that nothing is impossible. ‘Forrest Gump’ is an obvious winner.

I want to say something good about all 82 best picture winners, I honestly do. But, with ‘Forrest Gump’ I am almost stuck. Forrest Gump is a simple man who is encouraged by his mother to choose his own path in life. He does so, and on his way becomes involved in many historical events, and changes the course of history without even realising it. The reason that he does not notice the impact that he has made is that he is only interested in making his childhood friend, Jenny, fall in love with him. The very premise of the film makes me feel a little queasy.

I shall run through the different part of film production in the attempt to clarify why I think the film has few redeeming features. I shall start with the acting. Tom Hanks plays the title role, and this is where personal opinion really comes into play. I’m not a big Tom Hanks fan. I cannot, infact, think of any Tom Hanks film which I would actively want to re-watch (expect for the ‘Toy Story’ films), and this film does nothing to improve my opinion of him. It’s a fairly bland performance in my view. The supporting cast are largely forgettable: Sally Fields is the biggest name in it after Hanks, and she is pushed to sideline after declaring that everyone loved her after winning the Best Actress Award for ‘Places in the Heart’.
The storyline is fairly non-existent. This, on its own is fine. There are plenty of films with little or no storyline that are brilliant (‘La dolce vita’ being a fine example), but the storyline cannot be therefore used as one of the strong points of ‘Forrest Gump’.

The best things about the film are the cinematography and the soundtrack. The title characters journey through different decades and meeting different historical characters in different places lends itself perfectly to these areas, and on this score the film does not disappoint. However, a few picturesque shots and a couple of nice tunes do not make a Best Picture winner.

Whereas I have so far explained why I do not rate this film, I have yet to state why I despise it. The best word that I can use to describe this film is nauseating. It is so patronisingly repulsive that I cannot see how any fan of film can watch this and not realise that it is manipulative nonsense about one dimensional characters that do not develop over the course of this long and drawn out faux-history biopic.
When you consider other films that were released in the same year, the fact that this film won becomes even more ridiculous, especially the magnificent ‘Pulp Fiction’, one of the most influential films of the 1990s and responsible for cementing Tarantino as of the important directors of his generation.
In short, in my opinion, ‘Forrest Gump’ is a dreadful film.

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