published in Volume 2, Issue 1 on January 20th, 1995
Forrest Gump was an idiot boy who grew up into a philosopher, among other things. I was a normal boy who's still striving to figure out my place in this world.
Forrest Gump the movie spoke to something inside of me, something deep inside of me. Forrest Gump the person also spoke to something inside of me. After seeing the movie five times, I'm still not sure what it is about Forrest that intrigues and inspires me so much.
I'm pretty sure it's not the "idiot makes good" theory that the news media is trying to force down our throats. Anywhere you turn these days, the newspapers and newscasters are crying it out: "America embraces stupidity, thanks to movies like Forrest Gump and Dumb and Dumber."
But I don't think that those of us who are going to see movies like Gump are embracing stupidity. There's something else at work in the movie. It has something to do with the way that Eric Roth took Winston Groom's 1986 novel and transformed it from a rough, lewd story about Forrest Gump the lucky simpleton into a moving parable for the 1990s about a devoted friend and family member.
Who wouldn't want the kind of devoted love that Forrest has for Jenny? Who wouldn't want to love the way that Forrest loves Jenny and his mother? Who wouldn't want the fortitude to always say exactly what's on your mind? Who wouldn't want to be in their mid-30s and still be able to act like a child, to be able to hold on to childhood dreams and remember and relive them as vividly as if they were still a child?
I think that what's at work in Forrest Gump is not seeing an "idiot makes good" story, but rather an "I can make myself better" story. We walk away from the movie using Forrest as a yardstick by which we can measure ourselves and our lives. Are there things in my life that I'm not happy with that I can change? Can I be a better partner for my spouse? Can I be a better friend? Whatever happened to that toy truck I used to play with when I was a kid?
Thanks to Winston Groom and screenwriter Eric Roth, Forrest Gump has become a real person -- someone that many of us can identify with. Someone that most of us wouldn't mind knowing or having as a friend.
This is the power that the written word can have. Certainly Tom Hanks is to be lauded for bringing Forrest Gump to life so vividly, but if it weren't for the brilliant minds of Groom and Roth, Forrest Gump would not exist today in the lives of so many people around the world.
Both writers had a vision of who Forrest Gump should be. Both writers took slightly different angles on defining who Forrest Gump is. They took a chance that this character and his story would speak to someone. That Forrest would live, given a chance.
This is the chance that many authors take. Regardless of whether or not their characters or stories ever become blockbuster movies is beside the point. The fact that they believe strongly enough in a character and a storyline to write it down for others to read -- this is what gives those characters and stories life.
In this issue of Morpo, you're going to read about the characters, stories and worlds that eleven individuals created. You may believe in some of them or you may not. Some of these characters and situations may speak to you, or they may not. For one reason or another, they spoke to the editors of Morpo, and we wanted to give them a chance to live outside of our worlds, outside of the authors' worlds.
We hope you enjoy this issue of The Morpo Review and enjoy entering these worlds and meeting the people in these worlds as much as we did when we read them for the first time, second and third times.