By Lisa R. Petty (Ohio)
A Smarter, Better Forrest Gump
Some people are addicted to alcohol, or crack, or Cheetos, or Twinkies, or bad relationships, or, according to some weird show I watched, eating toilet paper. Not me. My big, dark, scary addiction is biopics. Ok, so I would eat my own weight in Twinkies if I found a palatable gluten free version, but Twinkies truly aren’t my number one addiction. Seriously, if a movie is advertised as “based on a true story,” I will immediately run out and apply for a loan so I can afford to go to the theater AND have popcorn. As we all know, it costs approximately $35,000.52 to see a movie, and get popcorn and a soda.
So, if you know me at all, you know that Forrest Gump has been my favorite movie since 1994. It is a love I have passed down to my son. He and I frequently run lines from the movie together. We take turns being Forrest or Lt. Dan. Forrest Gump is a movie that needs a lot of analysis to fully “get.” If you think it is just a dumb movie about a Southern idiot, you don’t “get” it. If you think the feather floating around is just a feather, you really don’t “get” it. Sometimes, I think only English majors and their offspring truly understand the symbolism of this film. Well, I imagine that the history buffs probably like it, too. Even though Forrest Gump is not “based on a true story” it has a lot of actual historical events throughout the film. The same could be said for The Butler. Here is a little article that talks about the differences between the movie and “reality.” It even mentions the Forrest Gump connection. So, I guess I’m not alone in this theory.
The Butler is one of those movies that makes me feel like I have done absolutely nothing with my life. I find that to be motivating rather than depressing. I have two college degrees, and I work from home, I take care of 5 pets, a teen son, and a husband, but what do I do besides stare at screens, clean, and shove food in my face? No, gym people, I’m not saying I need to cut out carbs and run a marathon. I’m saying I think we all need to do something for people. The funny thing is that the character in The Butler, Louis, who does the most for other people is not a real person.
The bottom line is if you haven’t seen The Butler, you should. It’s not entirely a real story, but it’s a good story, just like Forrest Gump, but with a more intelligent main character. The Butler focuses a lot on the history of race relations in this country, and by history of race relations I am talking about the fact that people have been treated like dirt simply because they have a darker complexion. That is one of the best reasons to watch the movie, other than to see the amazing make-up work done to age Forrest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey, the butler and his wife, roughly 50 years during the course of the film, or to see John Cusack as Nixon. The film discusses racial hatred, but it also focuses on love, and the fact that love does win. Always.View Movie Quotes