One of the best things about the Christmas holidays is that you have time to revisit some of your favourite movies. This year I got to watch the almost 30-year-old film “Forrest Gump” again – one of my all-time favourites. Yep…it really did come out in 1994!! When Forrest says that line “My momma always said ‘life was like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get’, no one ever spoke a truer word. The film superbly plays on emotion throughout, finely balancing comedy and tragedy and to me that’s a good description of life in general….comedy and tragedy.
And Tom Hanks was brilliant as Forrest; totally deserving his Academy Award for Best Actor. And the film won Best Picture!
In March 2009, I got to visit San Francisco with Charlie and of course that first night we had to visit the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. on Pier 39. It even has a bench outside like Forrest sat on in the movie to take photos on. Inside, we enjoyed looking at the fun menu and chose Forrest’s Seafood Feast.
There are so many things I love about Forrest the movie and the clever way Forrest’s life is interwoven with world events. Forrest Gump's charm lies in its deliberate disregard for historical accuracy, serving as a neutral tour guide through major events. The movie adjusts factual occurrences for dramatic effect, blending Forrest into real telecasts and events for a compelling story.
I’ve listed "8 Things I love about Forrest" in this week’s blog ... including the brilliant soundtrack. That soundtrack has some of the best music of the 60's and 70's. Thirty years ago, I had a Sony Walkman MiniDisc Player and the double-disc 32-track “Forrest Gump” soundtrack was nearly worn out by my playing it daily. Of course, MiniDiscs were one of those inventions that never caught on as they were overtaken by streaming services. However, I still have my Player and a few Mini-Discs…including the Forrest soundtrack today; one day it may become a collector’s item! Nowadays it’s so much easier to listen to it on Spotify but there was something special about having the full soundtrack in one place!!
8 Things I love about Forrest Gump
1. Forrest The Inspiration for Elvis Hip Gyrations
2. Forrest Meets JFK
As a successful player at the University of Alabama, Forrest travels with the Collegiate All-American Football Team to meet President John F. Kennedy at the White House in 1963. As when recounting most historical events, Forrest Gump splices between Forrest in faux newscasts and his physical presence at the event. Forrest is amazed by all the free food and drinks at the event, drinking at least 15 bottles of Dr Pepper.
By the time the football team individually meets the President, Forrest can only muster up “I have to pee” as he shakes JFK’s hand. He then recounts how a few weeks later the President was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.
3. Alabama University Admitting First Black Students
Forrest witnesses Alabama Governor George Wallace’s infamous “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door” where he attempted to bar two admitted black students from entering the school. The event took place on June 11, 1963, as desegregation was being enacted within the resisting South. What Forrest Gump didn’t depict was President John F. Kennedy’s Executive Order sending the Alabama National Guard to physically remove George Wallace. He eventually moved after continuing to spout racist ideals, and Vivian Malone and James Hood successfully registered as the first two Black students at the University of Alabama.
4. Forrest is used in ping pong diplomacy
While recovering from his Vietnam injury in the army hospital, Forrest becomes a talented ping-pong player. He graduates from crushing other soldiers to playing against himself, eventually being sent by President Richard Nixon to play on the All-American Ping-Pong Team in China.
The event became known as “ping-pong diplomacy” due to its instrumental nature in healing the relationship between the U.S. and China. Forrest was in one of the first U.S. groups to enter China in over 20 years and came home as an international ping-pong master and celebrity.
5. Forrest Inspires “Imagine”
Forrest’s ping-pong skills turn him into a national celebrity garnering him a spot being interviewed on The Dick Cavett Show alongside The Beatles’ John Lennon. Forrest Gump inserts Forrest into the real-life interview, editing it in a way that Forrest, John, and Dick’s remarks inspire the lyrics to Lennon’s hit song “Imagine.”
The real interview took place on September 8, 1971, and had Lennon’s wife Yoko Ono in Forrest’s place, where they discussed why The Beatles broke up. The Forrest Gump version of the Dick Cavett interview has Dick ask questions about Forrest’s service and time in Vietnam, which were recorded alongside Tom Hanks in 1994 and digitally rendered into the 1971 John Lennon interview. Very cleverly done!
6. Forrest Uncovers Watergate
Forrest tells us how the U.S. ping-pong team was invited to the White House to meet President Richard Nixon, where Nixon personally sends him to a “nicer” hotel at the Watergate complex. That night, Forrest sees men in an adjacent building searching through an office with flashlights. Thinking the men are struggling to find a fuse box, Forrest phones the hotel to inform them to send maintenance.
Forrest's next scene cuts to Nixon’s televised resignation speech, insinuating that Forrest was responsible for reporting the Watergate Scandal. The Watergate Scandal is an infamous political scandal involving a break-in at the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters in Washington D.C.. An investigation of Watergate and Nixon was conducted after whistle-blowers gave information to national newspapers that it was sanctioned by the President, and Nixon resigned from office.
7. Forrest invests in Apple Computers
Lt. Dan informs Forrest, who is now home with his dying mother, that they invested in a "fruit company", known as apple, which soon takes off as a national hit. This ensures the financial security of Forrest.
8. The Soundtrack
As I said at the introduction, I really love Forrest Gump: The Soundtrack which is the soundtrack album based on the Academy Award-winning film Forrest Gump, and contains music from many well-known American artists. The score, composed by Alan Silvestri, was released separately (as Forrest Gump – Original Motion Picture Score) on the same day.
Bucket List Items Ticked Off in the above Blog post 121
Number 74(a) - Experiences - Pick 8 Favourite FilmsNumber 74(b) - Experiences - Pick 80 Songs/ Pieces of Music
Other Blog Posts
Blog 11 - Sydney, Australia
Blog 12 - Hong Kong, China
Blog 17 - Beijing, Xi'an & Shanghai, China
Blog 19 - California, USA
Blog 27 - Scotland
Blog 28 - Barbados
Blog 29 - Canada
Do you have a favourite film? Tell me about it in the comments section below.
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My name is Mary and this is my bucket list blog ...having survived a near-death experience. I hope it encourages you to "live your best life". See how I'm completing my own bucket list items. And let me know how you're getting on with yours!