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Fridge / Forrest Gump

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Fridge Brilliance

  • Forrest is a simple minded fellow, but he is good at one thing: following orders. Jenny told him to run as a kid, and he ran so fast he broke right through his leg braces. She told him to run if he encountered danger at Vietnam, and again he outran the entire ambush. His drill sergeant told him to disassemble his weapon, and Forrest took it apart so fast he set a new company record. Why? "[Because] you told me to, Drill Sergeant?" How did Forrest get so good at ping-pong? Because the soldier who introduced it to him told him just to never take his eye off the ball. It's the reason why Forrest found the Army so easy, because all he ever had to do was follow their orders. So while he may be handicapped in thinking for himself in life, give Forrest a command to do and he will do it to the highest of human potential.
    Forrest: (telling Jenny about his Medal of Honor.) I got it just by doing what you told me to do.
    • However, there is a contradiction to this. Lt. Dan told Forrest to leave him in the jungle, as he was planning to die out in the field. Forrest may follow orders, but knows when to make a decision that's important when it comes to someone else's life.
  • When they were showing Jenny about to jump off her balcony and she stopped herself. The next scene we see her in is when she reunites with Forrest at his house. Her life was a living hell, due to her abusive father, the drugs and sex with different guys who didn't seem to care for her and were outright abusive to her, so nothing should have stopped her from jumping. However when she nearly slipped, she snapped out of it suddenly before cradling herself in the cold. When someone survives nearly killing themselves, often their lives flash before their eyes. It was her thoughts of Forrest that kept her from going too far.
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  • When Forrest first tells Lt. Dan about his plans to captain a shrimp boat, Dan scoffs, "The day that you are a shrimp boat captain, I will come and be your first mate." He then adds, "If you're ever a shrimp boat captain, that's the day I'm an astronaut!" Not only does Forrest become a shrimp boat captain and Dan his first mate, but Lt. Dan later appears at Forrest's wedding with artificial legs made from titanium alloy — as he explains, "it's what they use on the space shuttle".
  • The film outright states that Lt. Dan's decision to invest in Apple made them incredibly wealthy. The film was released in 1994, during the company's lowest point, a few years before Steve Jobs was brought back and revitalized the company. If Forrest was wealthy from his Apple stock back then, imagine how wealthy he must be from his Apple stock *now* (Assuming, of course, Lt. Dan or whoever actually handles Forrest's financials didn't sell it all).
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  • Lyndon Johnson laughing after Forrest moons him in public makes a lot of sense, considering how Johnson was an outrageously crass man in his own private life. He even pissed on his own Secret Service agents.
  • Forrest does indeed cry while standing at Jenny's grave, but he fairly quickly pulls it together and continues on. Ignoring the fact that he has a son for a moment, the movie all but BARELY averts Did Not Get the Girl since Jenny dies shortly after he marries her at the end of the film, and considering he had been more or less pursuing her throughout the whole movie, it seems odd that he isn't significantly more emotionally devastated. However, the last scene with Jenny is Forrest telling her about the beautiful things he saw throughout his experiences. When she says how she wishes she could have been there with him, he tells her that she always was. Forrest isn't as emotionally devastated by her death as one would expect because he's always kept her with him even when he wasn't sure if she loved him back. Her marrying him and all likely gave full closure on that and even though she's no longer alive, he still keeps her with him like he told her earlier.
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  • When Forrest's drill sergeant questions him, there's a humorous dissonance between his compliments and the belligerent and sarcastic way he belts them out. Does he really believe Gump is an outstanding private? Perhaps, but it is a Secret Test of Character. If Gump takes offense to his tone, or gets full of himself from the praise, he fails that test. But since Gump does neither, he passes with flying colors and provides an example for the rest of the cadets.
  • In the final scenes, where Forrest is teaching Forrest Jr. how to play Ping-Pong, Forrest Jr. actually manages to score a point against him. What happened? Forrest finally took his eye off of the ball because he was more focused on watching his son.
  • Some have wondered why Forrest never actually developed PTSD from his time in Vietnam, anyone else would have had suffered greatly just from witnessing the carnage they did. Given who Forrest is, being very simple minded and always think of the positive of life, he just didn't linger on past events unless they were involving Jenny. What could have been a very traumatic experience for him is just another foot note in his amazing life.
Fridge Horror
  • Jenny is implied to have died from AIDS. Forrest Gump, Jr. is less than 10 years old. This means one of two things: Jenny gave Forrest AIDS or cheated on him (in the viewer's heart and mind anyway), contracting the disease.
    • As female-to-male transmission of HIV is actually somewhat less likely than male-to-female (for anatomical reasons meaning there's greater chances for tissue tearing in the female and let's leave it at that) it's possible Forrest simply dodged a bullet there. The implication is definitely that Jenny got her illness from her "wild" past. The Fridge Horror extension of that is... how about maternal-to-fetal transmission of HIV?
      • Given Forrest Jr.'s age, it's possible she got infected after her son's birth.
      • Even if she was infected before, it's still far from a sure thing that an HIV-positive mother will transmit the virus to the child, especially if the child is born before the appearance of symptoms indicating that the immune system is starting to give in. Now we just need to hope he wasn't breastfed.
      • While breastfeeding is ideal, the benefits are not as significant as some make them out to be and they are certainly not worth the risk of contracting a fatal disease.
    • There's a very strong implication that Jenny came back to Forrest's house to sober up. After she gets sober she starts spending time with him and grows very close with him, culminating in her sleeping with him. But she hates herself, feels guilty for what she did (despite it making Forrest happier than he'd ever been) and leaves. It's very possible that her guilt pushed her to relapse and that's when she picked up the virus.
    • Donated blood was not tested for HIV at that time so she could have been infected through blood transfusion.
    • The rate of transmission for females-to-males is less than half of one tenth of a percent per encounter and Forrest and Jenny had sex ONCE. It's reasonable to say that Forrest did not contract AIDS. However, the chance that Jenny passed the disease to Junior is anywhere from 20-35% depending on if she breastfed him; for the sake of a happy ending, the audience may assume Junior either just dodged a bullet, or Jenny contracted the disease after giving birth.
      • If Jenny got AIDS, it's way more than likely she got it through needle exchanges (Jenny did a lot of drugs). Not giving it to Forrest or Forrest Jr. was just a happy coincidence.
    • A nicer theory that takes a lot of edge off: Jenny could have had some complications during childbirth, lost a lot of blood, and needed a transfusion...that unfortunately was contaminated. That way, neither Forrest NOR Lil Forrest is infected, unless Lil Forrest contracted it through breast milk.
    • According to Word of God Jenny had hepatitis C, not HIV. Neither Forrest Sr nor Forrest Jr would be at high risk of being infected by her.
  • This little snack from the Fridge came to me after I read an old Reader's Digest article about Viet Cong tunnels. More often than not, those tunnels would be fortified with deadly or incapacitating booby traps, such as grenades-in-a-can on tripwires or feces-covered punji sticks. That's why Forrest is most often sent into a hole to see if there are any Viet Cong inside. Because of his low I.Q., he's expendable.
    • The problem is that Tom Hanks (and by extension Forrest) is 6"2, way too big to be an effective tunnel rat. This is illustrated when Forrest only manages to get his upper body into the hole. Tunnel rats were shorter soldiers with the average one being 5"6. So Tom Cruise would make a better tunnel rat than Tom Hanks.
    • On the subject of Vietnam, I realized later that the flag hanging on Lt. Dan's latrine in the scene when Forrest and Bubba arrive is a Viet Cong flag. Three guesses what they use for toilet paper when they run out of the usual stuff.
  • After he returns to America, Forrest appears on TV with John Lennon, where he insipres the song 'Imagine'. Mark David Chapman killed Lennon, among other reasons, because he was angered by the fact Lennon's lyrics included 'imagine no possessions' when he had quite a lot compared to than average person. So in a way, Forrest was indirectly responsible for Lennon's death.
    • Not to mention that Lennon apparently based his vision of utopia on Maoist China.
  • As pointed out on Cracked's "After Hours" program, the only way for Forrest to have picked up on the fact that Jenny's father was "a very loving man" was to have heard it from other townsfolk. Meaning Jenny's molestation as a child was well-known enough for others to mention it (or "clarify" for Forrest when he asks about it), but no one actually intervened.
    • Forrest said that the police took Jenny away to live with her grandma.
    • To make matters worse, this was pretty typical for the time, especially in rural communities. For example, To Kill a Mockingbird is set in a rural Alabama town similar to Greenbow, and it is strongly implied in the book that Bob Ewell abuses his children and that everyone in town knows about it. Back then, people did not publicize this type of behavior, similar to how alcohol or drug abuse and mental disabilities were kept secret. But, everyone in Forrest's town would still know what went on in that house, and even if it remained unsaid, the townsfolk would make sure their children never went near that house or anyone who lived there. This would explain why Jenny is sitting alone on the school bus, and is never shown interacting with any other children. A bigger question would be why Forrest's mother allows him to hang out with Jenny, but we never see Jenny interact with Forrest's mother, and Forrest's mother is rather busy trying to convince everyone her son is normal and does not have any mental disabilities.
    • It might be a little simpler (and more grim) than that: Forrest might have witnessed Jenny's father molesting his daughters. Being Forrest (and a child himself), he might have simply interpreted the abuse as parental affection because it was the only context he understood—after all, Momma kissed and cuddled Forrest all the time, so why wouldn't Jenny's father kiss and cuddle her? More sinister yet, Jenny's father might have felt free to molest his daughters in front of Forrest because he counted on Forrest being too dumb to know what he was seeing.
  • While it's certainly not Forrest's fault, but this Cracked article points out that the movie glossed over that the storm that put Bubba-Gump shrimp as the only shrimping boat in Bayou La Batre, Alabama also destroyed every other shrimping boat. The area, in real life, is pretty high in poverty, in part because for many of those shrimpers, this is their livelihood and only source of income. So all those captains and their crew are SOL while Forrest is raking in the money.
    • Though Bubba Gump may have hired at least some of the now boat-less fishers as employees when it expanded. (The company had several ships at the time of the framing story, and why not man them with the people who already have plenty of working experience in shrimp fishing?)
    • Considering Forrest's kindness and lack of imagination, I would say it's a safe bet that he hired a lot of them. And also considering that Bubba Gump was very financially stable and Forrest wasn't concerned with his own personal wealth, they were likely making a lot more than they made while they were independent. It's also pretty likely that if Lt. Dan was business smart enough to invest in Apple in the 80s, he's probably more than smart enough to hire the other shrimpers in the area.
    • Harsher in Hindsight, as the real Bayou La Batre (which primarily exists because of its commercial fishing industry) was nearly wiped off the map by Hurricane Katrina. The actual aftermath of Katrina was even more devastating than its portrayal in the film, with small fishing boats littering the streets of the downtown area. Larger shrimping vessels that were hurled into the surrounding woods remain there to this day.
  • Watch Forrest's expression when he takes breakfast in bed to Jenny in the scene after they get married. He's not stopping to admire her, his wide eyes indicate he's thinking she may have already died!
  • While we don't get to hear Forrest's speech at the National Mall, we see that whatever he's said is enough to bring the whole crowd to tears.note  It's entirely possible that the crowd is not weeping over what he said, but because he is plainly intellectually challenged, they may have assumed that he sustained his mental handicap in Vietnam—that this is how he returned home.
  • Forrest's Berserk Button is anyone harming Jenny. He's also one track-minded to a fault. The punches he threw at the strip club before he deployed to Vietnam were pretty mild. The ones he laid into the guy at the Black Panther gathering after he returned from the war were devastating. If Jenny hadn't intervened, would he have stopped before killing the guy?