The first time I saw “Forrest Gump,” on a rented Blockbuster videotape in 1995, I was in a daze as the final credits rolled. If I had been a cartoon character, I would have had stars dancing around my head like Wile E. Coyote. I turned to my boyfriend and said, “What’d you think?”
“Chick flick,” he declared — and I knew our relationship was doomed.
Just kidding. (We split up because I was a jerk who thought owning a vagina could prevent a person from comprehending a universally beloved classic, like, let’s say “GoodFellas.”) But men don’t get “Forrest Gump.” It’s not really a prison drama, like “The Shawshank Redemption.” It’s more of a female fantasy picture — “Sex and the City” with leg braces instead of Manolo Blahniks, the “Princess Bride” minus rodents of unusual size.
“Forrest Gump,” which enjoyed its 20th anniversary last year, takes place in a world women dream about. Way down deep in the kitten brain, Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks), Jenny Curran (Robin Wright) and Sally Field (Mrs. Gump) play out the dream scenario every woman wants: To be endlessly pursued by a dimwitted rich guy with a dead mother. Men sense that they are basically moronic utilities in this fantasy, and it bothers them.
For most of the movie, Jenny never really has to work (save for the one fun job she has where she gets to play guitar naked), which frees her up to spend the days and nights doing what gals love above all else: snorting cocaine, fucking random dudes, wearing sexy outfits, and keeping your admirer trapped in the friend zone.
Keeping your admirer trapped in the friend zone means acting cheerfully around a guy you don’t intend on sleeping with while they solve all your problems, preferably by punching your abusive boyfriend or tearing down a house of bad memories. (Jenny always had Forrest in the friend zone. In “Friends,” Rachel Green made Gunther fetch her coffee.) Men (except obedient doormats) cannot be present for friend-zoning because men are the get-your-buddies-laid police: They get butt-hurt and protest that someone’s not being fair. They can’t appreciate the fun of getting a man to buy your drinks and then blowing him off all night. In the female fantasy, all of this whining is unforgivable — too serious, too boring. Look at my titties in frustration, buy me another another drink.
To a man, Jenny is a psychologically-damaged cock tease. To women, she’s exquisite, she’s a hero. She rules the roost. From a young age, Jenny always has a friend on the bus and a guy to carry her school books. She doesn’t have to earn a living because she’s beautiful and can always find a ride. As she puts it, “Run, Forrest, Runnnn!!!!! To the jewelry store and buy me a necklace.” Unfortunately, that last part of the quote was edited out in post production. The fact that she eventually moves into his lovely estate — and that, at any moment, Forrest could die from his own stupidity — just makes the stakes higher, the fantasy more exciting.
When the “Entourage” boys sit around and play their video games, they’re a tightly knit clique — but their rule is to always be complete self-absorbed douche drizzles, usually to the endless parade of women they stick their dicks into.
As “Forrest Gump” shows us, men can actually be pretty easily ruled by women. It’s spotlights the painful truth to all men: At any moment, you can fall helplessly in love with just one woman who will bang a bunch of other dudes, move into your house, and possibly give you AIDs.
At its core, “Forrest Gump” is a story of friend-zoning behavior, which we see in this classic scene where Forrest protects Jenny from being disrespected while naked on stage. He defends her honor and keeps his eyes away from her lady bits. For all his chivalry, Jenny blows him off and gets into a stranger’s truck, not even giving Forrest a pity kiss goodbye as he heads to Vietnam.
The rule is, be sexy, ignore his feelings, and always keep the party going.
Wesley (the unfortunate fellow who gets beat down by Forrest), interrupts Jenny’s friend zoning ways despite the fact that he is uglier, and possibly even dumber than Forrest. He has nothing to offer Jenny, save for the taste of the back of his hand. Yet, he’s the one that leaves with the girl. A valuable reminder to all men that good deeds do not go unpunished. The bad boy will always nab your girl.
Even when it looks like Jenny is going to stay with nouveau riche Forrest and be his girlfriend, she doesn’t actually talk to him. She just lets him prattle on about ping-pong and then hyper-focuses on the original bad boy in her life, her father. Luckily, hero Forrest is there to tear down her painful walls.
But still, he begs her for requited love. It’s only once he’s shut the door on her does she feel compelled to even consider having sex with him. After he puts more flowers in her free bedroom, anyway.
What would “Forrest Gump” be like if it were told by a man? I mean, a REAL man, not that pantywaist Robert Zemeckis.
Meet a total doormat called Forrest Gump. Blue-balled to near death by a hot hippie blonde, Forrest spends his whole friggin’ life trying to get his dick wet. And what does he do to make that happen? He teaches Elvis Presley to dance. He becomes an All-American football champion. He shakes hands with Kennedy and gets a Medal of Honor from President Johnson for being a war hero in Vietnam. He saves lives, breaks Watergate clean open, and helps a disabled vet. He builds a successful shrimping boat empire, makes millions of dollars, helps up-start Apple, and wins international Ping Pong championships. After doing all this stuff, the girl has sex with him only one fucking time and then leaves him. At least the bitch had the decency to die of AIDs.
And who would want to watch that movie?