With Robert Zemeckis‘s Forrest Gump opening on IMAX screens today (9.5), it’s been re-assessed by four critics — Ben Mankiewicz, Rotten Tomatoes’ Matt Atchity, TheWrap‘s Alonso Duralde and Christy Lemire — in a What The Flick? episode. Old news ’round these parts. I’ve been dumping on Gump for years, the last time in a 7.10.14 post called “How Do Those Chocolates Taste Now?”
“Millions of moviegoers fell in love with this delusional film about a kindly, aw-shucks simpleton who leads a charmed life,” I wrote. “We all know it wound up with six Oscars and made a mountain of money, etc. But in my mind Gump‘s most noteworthy achievement is that it showed how myopic Americans (particularly American males) were about themselves. They really love (or loved) the idea of half-sweethearting and half-dipshitting their way through life. Gump is also one of the most lying, full-of-shit films ever made when it came to portraying the tempests of the 1960s.
“Here’s how I put it way back in October 2008, although I was drawing at the time from an L.A. Times Syndicate piece about the Gump backlash that I wrote just after it opened:
“I have a still-lingering resentment of Forrest Gump which I and many others disliked from the get-go for the way it kept saying ‘keep your head down’, for its celebration of clueless serendipity and simpleton-ism, and particularly for the propagandistic way it portrayed ’60s-era counter-culture types and in fact that whole convulsive period.
“Every secondary hippie or protestor character in that film was a selfish, loutish asshole, and every man and woman in the military was modest, decent and considerate.”