Monstervision's Joe Bob Briggs Looks At

Forrest Gump (1994)

Life is like a box of chocolates – or shrunken heads

"Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In" for 9/17/94
By Joe Bob Briggs
Drive-In Movie Critic of Grapevine, Texas

Ever once in a while I get stuff in the mail from this club called Mensa, which only lets you in if you can PROVE you have a really high IQ or you score 9000 on your SAT's.
I scored 900 on my SAT's. I took em three times, and scored 300 each time.
Anyhow, you've probly seen this indoor bullstuff flick called "Forrest Gump," which is the story of how great it is to be retarded. In fact, the guy is not only retarded, he's crippled and poor, and the only thing he has going for him is that he's Tom Hanks. And the idea of the movie is supposed to be that the MORE retarded you are, the happier a life you'll have in America. And the more you don't understand money, the richer you'll be. And if you're crippled, you'll be magically healed cause it'll cause you to work your legs harder. And if you get into the army, but you turn away from battles and run, you'll end up as a war hero. And if you fall in love with somebody who doesn't love you, you'll eventually get married because the other person will be drawn like a magnet to your overpowering love (Please don't tell the stalkers, okay?).
Anyhow, aren't we gettin a LITTLE carried away here?

I actually think the Mensa people and the Forrest Gumpers are exactly alike. People wanna be DIFFERENT. So if they can be different by being SMART, they'll do that. And if they can be different by being RETARDED, they'll do that. You could sneak a reetard into Mensa, and nobody'd know the difference. I guess maybe if they asked em the capital of Rwanda they'd know the difference, but just in terms of talkin to em they'd never know the difference.

What if Forrest Gump had an IQ just 10 points higher? Then he would be accepted into public school, and he wouldn't be considered a reetard, and he'd be just another average everyday Roto-Rooter man like all the rest of us.
I'm sorry, but the flick is bogus.

You wanna see a realistic movie, check out "Shrunken Heads," which is what would happen if three kids in the neighborhood got blown away by thugs working for a lesbian gangster, but then they had their heads cut off and boiled in a vat by the friendly neighborhood comic book salesman and Haitian voodoo police officer, and then they came back to life and flew around with knives between their teeth, getting revenge by slicing up criminals and turning em into friendly zombies who go around cleaning off graffiti and replacing the trash in upturned Dumpsters.

All right all right all right, we've seen the story before, right? But never with Meg Foster in drag, wearin a fat suit.
The most interesting part of it is trying to figure out the STRATEGY that a flying shrunken head would use to fight a killer thug with a sawed-off shotgun and a getaway car. Fortunately, it helps that the killer heads are dead spirits brought back to life by voodoo, since that means they can pretty much do any damn thing they please, and you don't have to EXPLAIN it. I hate movies where they're EXPLAINING why the shrunken heads are able to fly.

Anyhow, we're talkin blood on the windshield, blood on the mirror, blood in the shower. We're talkin Goo-Fest '94.

Forty-three dead bodies. Head-hacking. Throat-ripping. Mouth maggots. Zombierama. Two motor vehicle chases, with three crashes. Gratuitous magic jelly beans. Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Julius Harris, as the Wicked Rastafarian, who says "Yes, Freddy, cops in Haiti are extremely scary" and "I will pluck out your tongues with bull cutters and roast them, and I will take your brains and chill them for the purposes of garnishment"; Aeryk Egan, as the head head, for saying "As we continue to nurture our hate, the loss of our humanity will quicken evermore" and "There's nothing more for us in this world now except for revenge"; and Becky Herbst, as the 15-year-old who gets romantic with a head.
Three and a half stars.
Joe Bob says check it out.


Victory Over Saddam Hussein! The Kuwait City Drive-In, bombarded by the evil Iraqis, was one of the first public places reopened after the war was over, and now, even though there are still MINES in the area, it's doing a BOOMING business. My kind of country. Wade Kearns, an Air Force pilot based in Europe, reminds us that, with eternal vigilance, and military force if necessary, the drive-in will never die. To discuss the meaning of life with Joe Bob, or to get free junk in the mail and Joe Bob's world famous newsletter, "The Joe Bob Report," write Joe Bob Briggs, P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, TX 75221. Joe Bob's Fax: 214-985-7448. Joe Bob on Compuserve: 76702,1435.

Dear Joe Bob Briggs,
Pat and myself, being ardent fans of topless action flicks and your column, have become concerned in recent weeks over the falling breast count in your reviews. We firmly believe this to be the fallout that normally accompanies the Democrats' return to power. As proof of this, look at Dona Speir and Roberta Vasquez, and who do you see? I'll tell you who. Ronald Reagan and George Bush for the past 12 years. We think this administration also forced Andy Sidaris and his lovely wife to retire from the drive-in movie business.
Kevin and Pat Person
Livermore, Calif.

Dear Kevin and Pat:
You would think the Democrats would be the PRO-breast party, wouldn't you? On the other hand, even Jane Fonda--breast queen of the sixties--married a Republican.

Dear Joe Bob,
The following bit of pottery is dedicated to Barbara Crampton. How the mighty have fallen.
To Barbara
When first we saw you, covered with slime,
'Mid corpses lumbering in the flashlight's shine;
Then strapped to the gurney, helpless and sublime;
Barbara, how we loved you.
Now you've vanished from the ranks of the Weird,
And on daytime soaps you have appeared.
Your breasts have all but disappeared!
Barbara, how we miss you.
Alan Peschke
Stockdale, Tex.

Dear Alan:
I'm so choked up.
Sic transit gloria nekkid.

Joe Bob,
Pick a number between one and 10,000. 9,000, am I right?
"Ever since 'Blow-Up' we've had about 9,000 movies based on the world of high-fashion photography."
". . . did someone build about 9,000 new topless bars in this country last year?"
". . . even after 9,000 people tell em, 'Look, that's the way is it is, that's the way it's always been, it's rotten.'"
Elliot Pearl
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Dear Elliot:
At least, when I use a cliche, I INVENT the cliche first.

Dear Joe Bob,
I'm sick of flash photography in movies and TV, and I don't think you should count breasts that have only about three milliseconds exposure. In fact, you could provide a real service to drive-in movie fans by listing the total exposure time along with the breast count in your movie reviews. Just imagine the significance of a movie review that said, like, "one breast, 30 minutes." Think about it.
Len Peters
Alameda, Calif.

Dear Len:
Believe me, if the breast doesn't do its job, we don't count it.
You think my reviews would reward under-performing garbonzas?

Dear Joe Bob,
Where can I buy Chesty Morgan's movie "Deadly Weapons," or any of her movies?
Bob Pell
Brazil, Ind.

Dear Bob:
Chesty Morgan's two greatest movies--they may be her ONLY movies--are "Deadly Weapons" and "Double Agent 73," and both are available in lurid Technicolor from Strand VCI Video in Santa Monica, California. You get the added bonus on every video of an introduction by yours truly.

© 1994 Joe Bob Briggs All Rights Reserved

For more of Joe Bob's pre-TNT reviews in Grapevine, Texas, go to his Drive-In Reviews Archive over yonder at Joe Bob

"Tom Hanks" availability on video and on DVD from

Chesty Morgan availability

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Trivia courtesy of the Internet Movie Database

* Bill Murray (Groundhog Day) was considered for the role of Forrest
Terry Gilliam (Time Bandits and Brazil) turned down the chance to direct the film.
* David Alan Grier turned down the role of Bubba.
* The Bayou le Batre hospital named after Forrest Gump is actually the University of South Carolina - Beaufort Performing Arts Center.
* The Vietnam scenes of Forrest Gump were shot on what is now the Ocean Point Golf Course on Fripp Island, S.C.
* Gary Sinise's lower legs were wrapped in a special blue fabric that allowed them to be optically removed from the film by computer later.
* Hanks' younger brother Jim doubles for him in many of his mindless running sequences.
* Hanks patterned his accent after Michael Conner Humphreys who played young Forrest, who actually talked that way.
On the day that Tom Hanks shot the football running scenes he had been suffering from influenza.
* The park bench Tom Hanks sits on for much of the movie was located in historic Savannah, GA, at Chippewa Square. The fiberglass bench he sat on has since been removed and placed into a museum to avoid being destroyed by the weather. The church where the feather first falls is about 100 yards just down the street from his bench.
* When Lt. Dan says "I'm walking here!" to the cab - a nod to Midnight Cowboy (1969) - the song in the background is "Everybody's Talkin'", also from Midnight Cowboy.
* The scene in Midnight Cowboy was an accident - a cab ran the police barracade and Dustin Hoffman improvised the line while angrily pounding on the cab. It was so good it was included in the movie
* The background music playing while Forrest is using the bathroom in the Kennedy White House is the theme from Camelot (1957), which was a name often used in reference to Kennedy's years in office.
* Gary Sinise's character tells Hanks's character that the day Forrest works on a shrimp boat is the day he'd be an astronaut. The following year, Sinise and Hanks appeared together as astronauts in Apollo 13 (1995).
* All of the still photos of Forrest show him with his eyes closed.
The necklace worn by Lt. Dan is a rosary with a Saint Christopher medal, inscribed "Protect Us In Combat". It was worn in Vietnam by Sinise's brother-in-law, Jack Treese, in 1967-68.
* Tom Hanks said that he would make the film only if all the events that took place were true to historical reality.
* When Forrest gets up to talk at the Vietnam rally in Washington, the microphone plug is pulled and you cannot hear him. According to Tom Hanks, he says, "Sometimes when people go to Vietnam, they go home to their mommas without any legs. Sometimes they don't go home at all. That's a bad thing. That's all I have to say about that."
* The first boy in the school bus who refuses to let Forrest sit next to him is played by Alex Zemeckis, director Robert Zemeckis' son.
* The girl in the school bus with the red hair is Hanks's daughter Elizabeth.
* Attention to detail: When Gump calls to report the Watergate burglary, the security guard answering the phone says "security, Frank Wills" This was the actual guard on duty during that night, and was the person who discovered the break-in.
* The quote "My name is Forrest Gump. People call me Forrest Gump." was ad libbed by Tom Hanks while filming the scene and director Robert Zemeckis liked it so much that he decided to keep it in.
* The actor who plays the reporter on the scene when Hanks visits Washington DC after his tour in Vietnam was, himself, an actual tourist from Atlanta, GA. He happened to be on Capital Hill that day with his wife, and was asked to read.
* In the opening shot of the film, the feather floats down over Madison Square in Savannah, Georgia. It then floats up to the sky where there is a dissolve, barely visible, and then it sweeps down past the Protestant Church and then heads for Chippawa Square, about half a mile away from the first square (although we are left to believe it's the same square).
* Comedian Dave Chappelle turned down the role of Bubba, thinking the movie would bomb and has since admitted to deeply regretting it.
* Warner Bros. gave up the rights to the film in 1988, in exchange for the rights to Executive Decision (1996, Kurt Russell), because the studio felt that the project had lost its commercial promise in the wake of Rain Man (1988).
* The drill sergeant during the basic training sequence is a real drill sergeant, Staff Sergeant Earl Larrett.
* The disco and strip scenes were shot in the Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles, California, as was the archive footage (1968) of Robert F. Kennedy, after he won the California Primary. RFK was gunned down in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel just minutes later.
* Robert Zemeckis decided to leave out several planned effects shots. One shot in particular involved Forrest running into Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and his supporters. Forrest distracts several dogs trying to attack King and his supporters by playing fetch with them and rendering them harmless to King and himself as well as his supporters in the cut footage.
* Sally Field is only ten years older than Tom Hanks.

Weird Al Yankovic tells the story of Forest Gump in 2 minutes
(click twice to play video)

Elvis has left the building, and he took Joe Bob with him.