Sunday, April 22, 2012

Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump (Two-Disc Special Collector's Edition)

#71 (1998) and #76 (2007) on the AFI Best 100 American Movies Lists.

Forrest Gump is a 1994 American epic comedy-drama romance film based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Winston Groom. The film was directed by Robert Zemeckis, starring Tom Hanks, Robin Wright and Gary Sinise. The story depicts several decades in the life of Forrest Gump, a naive and slow-witted native of Alabama who witnesses, and in some cases influences, some of the defining events of the latter half of the 20th century.

The film differs substantially from Winston Groom's novel on which it was based, including Gump's personality and several events that were depicted. Filming took place in late 1993, mainly in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Extensive visual effects were used to incorporate the protagonist into archived footage and to develop other scenes. A comprehensive soundtrack was featured in the film, using music intended to pinpoint specific time periods portrayed on screen. Its commercial release made it one of the top selling albums of all time, selling 4.42 million copies.

Released in the United States on July 6, 1994, Forrest Gump was well-received by critics and became a commercial success as the top grossing film in North America released that year. The film earned over $677 million worldwide during its theatrical run. The film won the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Director, Actor, Screenplay, Editing and Visual Effects and garnered multiple other awards and nominations, including Golden Globe Awards, People's Choice Awards and Young Artist Awards, among others. Since the film's release, varying interpretations have been made of the film's protagonist and its political symbolism. In 1996, a themed restaurant opened based on the film, and has since expanded to multiple locations worldwide. The scene of Gump running across the country is often referred to when real life people attempt the feat. In 2011, the Library of Congress selected Forrest Gump for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

* Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump: though at an early age his school principal determines young Forrest possesses an IQ of 75, he has endearing character and devotion to his loved ones and duties, which brings him into many life-changing situations. Along the way, he encounters many historical figures and events throughout his life. John Travolta was the original choice to play the title role, and admits passing on the role was a mistake. Bill Murray was also considered for the role. Hanks revealed that he signed onto the film after an hour and a half of reading the script. He initially wanted to ease Forrest's pronounced Southern accent, but was eventually persuaded by director Bob Zemeckis to portray the heavy accent stressed in the novel. Hanks agreed to take the role only on the condition that the film was historically accurate. Michael Conner Humphreys portrayed the young Forrest Gump. Hanks revealed in interviews that after hearing Michael's unique accented drawl, he incorporated it into the older character's accent.
* Robin Wright as Jenny Curran: Gump's childhood friend who enters his life at various times in adulthood, eventually becoming mother to his son and later marrying Gump. Jenny is a survivor of child sexual abuse, which results in her struggles with self-destructive behavior throughout much of her life. She eventually sorts herself out and becomes a waitress in Savannah, Georgia where she lives in an apartment with her (their) son, Forrest, Junior. She dies from an unknown virus, which reviewers and authors speculated as being HIV/AIDS. Zemeckis reflected on Wright's portrayal of the role, "Robin exudes a kind of strength and, at the same time, a vulnerability. She doesn't bring any of her stardom to the role. You don't look at her on-screen and think that this is Robin Wright's interpretation of the character. She's a real chameleon." Hanna R. Hall portrayed the young Jenny Curran.
* Gary Sinise as Lieutenant Dan Taylor: Gump and Bubba's commanding officer during the Vietnam War, who comes from a long line of soldiers with a dubious history of dying in combat. After losing his legs in an ambush and being rescued against his will by Forrest, he falls into a deep depression. He later serves as Forrest's first mate at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, gives most of the orders, and regains his will to live and ultimately forgives Forrest for his actions in Vietnam and acknowledges that Gump saved his life. By the end of the film, he is engaged to be married and is sporting "magic legs" – titanium alloy prosthetics which allow him to walk again.
* Mykelti Williamson as Benjamin Buford "Bubba" Blue: Bubba is Gump's friend whom he meets upon joining the Army. Throughout filming, Williamson wore a lip attachment to create Bubba's protruding lip. David Alan Grier, Ice Cube and Dave Chappelle were all offered the role before turning it down. Chappelle claimed he believed the film would be unsuccessful and has also admitted that he regrets not taking the role. Bubba was originally supposed to be the senior partner in the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, but, due to his death in the line of duty in Vietnam, his commanding officer Lieutenant Dan Taylor took his place. The company posthumously carried this name.
* Sally Field as Mrs. Gump: Forrest's mother, who raises him after his father abandons them. Field reflected on the character, "She's a woman who loves her son unconditionally. ... A lot of her dialogue sounds like slogans, and that's just what she intends."
* Haley Joel Osment as Forrest Gump, Jr.: Forrest and Jenny's son. Osment was cast in the film after the casting director noticed him in a Pizza Hut commercial.
* Peter Dobson as Elvis Presley: a house guest Forrest encounters. Although Kurt Russell was uncredited, he provided the voice over for Elvis Presley in the scene where Presley met Gump.
* Dick Cavett as himself. Cavett played the 1970s version of himself, with makeup applied to make him appear younger. Consequently, Cavett is the only well-known figure in the film to play a cameo role rather than be represented through the use of archival footage.
* Sam Anderson as Principal Hancock: Forrest's elementary school principal.
* Richard D'Alessandro as Abbie Hoffman: A Yippie at a Vietnam War rally who gives Forrest a chance to speak about the war.
* Geoffrey Blake as Wesley: A member of the SDS group and Jenny's abusive boyfriend.
* Siobhan Fallon Hogan as Dorothy Harris: The school bus driver who drives both Forrest, and later his son, to school.
* Sonny Shroyer as Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant: Forrest's football coach of the University of Alabama.
* Grand L. Bush, Conor Kennelly, and Teddy Lane Jr. as the Black Panthers: Members of an organization that protests against the Vietnam War, President Lyndon B. Johnson, and anti-black racism.
* Bill Roberson as Fat Man on Bench: An older man who sits on the bench next to Forrest in Savannah, Georgia and listens to Gump's stories.

The film is based on the 1986 novel by Winston Groom. Both center on the character of Forrest Gump. However, the film primarily focuses on the first eleven chapters of the novel, before skipping ahead to the end of the novel with the founding of Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and the meeting with Forrest, Jr. In addition to skipping some parts of the novel, the film adds several aspects to Gump's life that do not occur in the novel, such as his needing leg braces as a child and his run across the Continental US

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