This week, Forrest Gump celebrates its 25th anniversary.
Now I have heard all the criticisms. How it’s nostalgic Boomer porn. How it punishes Robin Wright for her promiscuity. How it’s not Pulp Fiction. (Don’t worry, fans. I have a Quentin Tarantino prompt scheduled in a few weeks when Once Upon A Time In Hollywood comes out.) I admit, there are good points raised, and we should view this Oscar winner through a critical lens.
Yet, I still like this movie.
I like how people are being good and kind to each other. I cry when Lieutenant Dan turns to Forrest and says, “I never thanked you for saving my life.” The two-disc soundtrack was a staple of my college years. It seemed like everyone had it. For a selection of hits that span four decades, it’s not a bad compilation.
This movie is a modern day fairy tale. I love the stunning cinematography (by Don Burgess). I like the shot where helicopters descend on Forrest and Bubba in the jungles of Vietnam.
I guess Apocalypse Now had better helicopter shots. This scene, though, specifically got me on a different emotional level. The US military had just dropped napalm on a Vietnamese jungle, and Forrest is doing the opposite: he’s outrunning the fire so he can save a life.
It’s part of the reason that I don’t buy the interpretation of Forrest being a moron who just stumbles through life. He has obvious skills. He’s athletic (he invents the super-marathon!), persistent, and precise. It’s just that no one in society from the 50’s onward, aside from his drill sergeant probably, knew that he could use them and dismissed as “stupid” as just a convenience.
But it’s all in vain. Bubba tells Forrest he wants to go home… and that’s when the Bell Huey’s finally come to pick up the injured. The cavalry is a promise of hope that comes too late.
So in honor of Burgess’ work here, today’s prompt: What is your favorite example of movie cinematography?
As always, talk about movies you’ve seen recently here.
Building Entertainment: The Animated Films of the Walt Disney Studio. Live-action Edition. The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes
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