Tag Archives: tom hanks
With the remake of Carrie out, it’s that time again for everyone to make their favorite complaint: “Oh god, another remake! It’s like they’re raping my childhood!”
If you’re going to put forth that Hollywood is in need some new ideas, I’ll listen. But it’s not as though this is a new thing. Movies have always mostly been sequels, remakes, or adaptations. Pick any random year since the dawn of cinema and I guarantee you’ll find as many as you do today.
Forrest Gump (1994)
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Screenplay by Eric Roth
From a novel by Winston Groom
I know it’s weird, but there are actual people who don’t like Forrest Gump. (Dr. Seuss described this phenomena as having a heart three sizes too small.) Sentimentality is a powerful thing—it makes people cry and tricks intellectuals into thinking art isn’t good. It also tricks moms into thinking that a movie with LSD use, a guy blowing his load early, sexual bartering, and child molestation is appropriate for an 8 year old—or, maybe I just have a really cool mom.
I was flipping through the channels the other day (I don’t use ‘the guide’) and I landed on Forrest Gump, which is the epitome of a ‘whenever it’s on TV I have to finish it’ movie. I landed on one of Jenny’s hippie scenes, the one where a dude pulls up in a Volkswagen Beetle and asks if anyone wants to go to San Francisco, and Jenny says “I’ll go,” and he says “Far out!”, like a very happy hippie.
At that moment, I had a realization: Forrest Gump is a pretty weird movie to be on ABC Family (which is the channel it was on). When I was a little kid, Forrest Gump was just a big, fun movie that made me laugh and then cry at the end. When I was eight, I didn’t understand that when Forrest is sitting on Jenny’s bed in her dorm and she takes off her shirt, he ejaculates early. Forrest Gump is a gritty, indie film masquerading as a Hollywood epic.
Field of Dreams. The undisputed king, for sure. But here’s ten other great ones.
It was a really tricky thing putting this together because they’re ranked on niceness, not goodness. Number two and number five are the best movies on the list. But they aren’t the nicest.
Niceness is even harder to define than coolness. Niceness is a warm and fuzzy feeling that a lot of art can generate. Probably the most popular example would be Norman Rockwell paintings. Niceness, like coolness, taps into our primal brains somewhere. We’re wired to feel it because it connects us to each other. But the problem with niceness is that it borders so heavily on cheese. Cheese done right is transcendent. But cheese done wrong is, well, cheesy.
When I was in junior high school, Scarface was the most talked about movie in the hallways. It was 2000, and those hallways were a reflection of the culture at large. One time a kid asked me, “Who directed Scarface, Scorsese?” He had never heard of Brian De Palma.
There’s a popular book called Easy Riders, Raging Bulls. It’s a gossipy, oral history of 60s and 70s American movies. In the back of the book, they summarize the directors integral to the movement and give a filmography for each. Spielberg, Coppola, Scorsese, Lucas, and Malick are featured, but not Brian De Palma—despite being mentioned heavily in the book. You’d think the guy that gave Robert De Niro his first on-screen appearance (The Wedding Party, 1969) and gave him steady work way before Scorsese ever did, would be important enough to mention.