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July 1994


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Edmund Carlevale <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 8 Jul 1994 12:43:47 EST
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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As far as I can tell, no one has commented on the religious aspects of
Forest Gump.  The movie briefly seems to be ridiculing those impulses,
when a band of anonymous nobodys follow Gump on his cross-country
jaunts, waiting breathlessly for his pronouncements, but in fact the
whole film has an impulse towards godliness.  I thought the film a text
straight out of The Course in Miracles, with the idea that one doesn't
have to do a thing in life and marvelous things will occur simply as the
result of one's idosyncratic gifts--even Vietnam yields beautiful
memories.  A friend in the TCIM recently said that he watched
Schindler's List "very closely," and noticed that the Jews didn't look
"particularly happy," while "the germans all looked as if they were
enjoying themselves."  In Gump I was amazed at the way the film didn't
progress, that the simple lessons of the opening sequences were repeated
again and again without any new spins.  This whole anti-experience and
anti-growth notion is what I disliked most about the film.  The ad
featuring Gump on a park bench, overhearing the voice of god, is exactly
the right image to sell the movie, and a reason for others to revile it.
I did think the Nike business and the explanation of running as a
reaction to grief was fairly good, and the special effects were the most
extraordinary I've ever seen--almost frighteningly so, in that they
weren't used for space ships and such, but to change reality in a
sneakier, more dangerous way.  My final reaction is that this is the
first post-Kael movie, in that this blend of shrewd sentimentality is
exactly what she stood up against for so long, and exposed.  Perversely,
she probably loves the film.
Edmund Carlevale.