"I take orders from the Octoboss."


tn_flightI wish FLIGHT was called BAD PILOT and marketed as an outrageous comedy. It kinda follows the BAD SANTA and BAD TEACHER model by showing this guy (Denzel Washington, RICOCHET) who is in this occupation (commercial airline pilot) and ruffles alot of feathers with his irresponsible drinking and drugs and being an asshole. In fact, he ingests almost a BAD LIEUTENANT worthy amount of intoxicants. And like Bad Santa, who liked to buttfuck plus-sized ladies in the dressing rooms, or Bad Teacher, who seduced Justin Timberlake into a wild dry-sex romp, this guy is fuckin around, but just with a super hot flight attendant (Nadine Velazquez, BLAST) who gets listed first in “in order of appearance” credits because one of her breasts is the first thing we see in the movie.

still_flight-novemberrainBut I guess the problem with that title would be that he’s good at the actual piloting. Very good. One day there’s a disastrous flight where equipment failure puts the plane in a dive and, as you’ve seen in the trailer, he has a daring and novel way to get the plane semi-safely crash-landed. A wing takes out the steeple of an old church in the middle of a field. That’s a little much in the symbolism department, but exactly right as a re-imagining of the helicopter shot of Slash’s guitar solo in the “November Rain” video. Based on a short story by Del James. I wonder if that guy tried arbitration to get a “story by” credit.

But the authorities find out Bad Pilot was completely blitzed when he did the heroic landing, and they choose not to high five him for it or say it was awesome. He gets stuck between the NTSB, the pilot’s union (who provide a lawyer for him, RUSH HOUR 2’s Don Cheadle) and the manufacturers, all trying to prove who was responsible for the disaster.

Bruce Greenwood is the first one to talk to him when he wakes up in the hospital, he’s an old friend but also head of the union. He’s an interesting character as he tries to protect him out of friendship but seems increasingly horrified by what he’s seeing and exhausted by the pilot’s constant badness.

At first I wondered if this was really gonna be a movie standing up for him because although he endangered hundreds of lives every day with his behavior he was technically not at fault for this particular tragedy, and fair is fair. I mean it’s true, he’s innocent, but that’s not the kind of righteous cause a movie like this usually dramatizes. Of course, that’s not what the movie is about. The epic crash landing is just like how he’s living his life, working with giant balls and talent to tear through life and just barely not be horribly killed. He’s not just addicted to the alcohol but to that feeling of extreme danger and getting away with it. He thinks he can keep flying upside down forever, but that’s just not possible. He wasn’t built for it.

The director is Robert Zemeckis. Like I’ve been saying for years, his mo-cap technology has really evolved through POLAR EXPRESS, BEOWULF and A CHRISTMAS CAROL, to the point where this one just looks like live action. I miss the 3D and the awesome camera moves, though. Still, as usual he directs the shit out of this. The plane crash scene is a fuckin doozy. The most brutal part is what happens to a minor character. Only after her death do we hear about her troubled life and how she was trying to turn it around, and we realize that she went through a redemptive arc based on what she was doing when she died. She’s a hero. And Bad Pilot’s gotta be comparing his life to that, knowing he comes up short.

(Or it seems like it anyway, but maybe he reminds himself that if he hadn’t landed the plane then Katerina’s sacrifice would’ve been wasted.)

Whatever he’s thinking, he isolates himself in his farmhouse, befriends a cute recovering addict (Kelly Reilly), dumps out his extensive hidden caches of liquor, and prepares for his trial. Which of course means a bunch of epic relapses and FEAR AND LOATHING style binges. It’s an effectively frustrating experience watching him know what he needs to do and then make the wrong move over and over and over and over again. He lowers himself to some truly pathetic depths, dragging us into uncomfortable situations like trying to convince his very religious and law-abiding flight attendant friend to lie in her testimony, or getting chased out by his own teenaged son when he shows up at his ex-wife’s house unannounced and drunk. But Zemeckis also makes room for less stressful moments like the stagey but nice scene where Bad Pilot first meets the girl, plus a crazy cancer patient (James Badge Dale), while sneaking a late night smoke in a stairwell at the hospital. Dale makes a big impression in the scene but luckily they don’t try to make him relevant. He’s just a guy that the pilot runs into once.

John Goodman is funny but out of place as his funny Dude-like drug dealer. There’s a joke where he struts into the movie to the tune of “Sympathy For the Devil,” but then it abruptly stops because he pulls his earbuds out. I laughed, but some of the other Time-Life Best of the ’60s type music choices make me suspect that was just meant as an earbuds joke and not one about overused soundtrack songs.

mp_flightThis may surprise you if you are some kind of weirdo who doesn’t know about Denzel Washington, but he’s really good in this. He’s able to be an extremely flawed and complicated individual, very bull-headed but sometimes fun. It’s not Righteous Denzel, but unlike TRAINING DAY it’s about him trying to get better instead of just the good guy having to shoot him at the end. It would be weird if Bruce Greenwood shot him and then some neighborhood dudes told him to “bounce.” I’m not saying this is any less contrived, but it’s more moving.

It’s got a nice human message. This guy is a high level fuckup in his career and family life. But he is a person and he has talent and he has old and new friends who can find something good in him and if he works hard enough he can grow that part of him and help others.

I’m not sure he’ll be allowed to fly again though.

FOR THOSE WHO HAVE SEEN IT: what if that hotel room connecting door had been locked? Then he never would’ve gone on that monumental mini-bar escapade and maybe he would’ve gotten through the hearing okay and wouldn’t have made his confession. So thank you neglectful hotel employee (and overachieving mini-bar stocker).

This entry was posted on Sunday, February 17th, 2013 at 2:03 pm and is filed under Drama, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

54 Responses to “Flight”

  1. I liked this one alright, but I’d seen the same arc done much better a few months earlier in Julia. Which is an awesome crime film that you should totally review.

  2. I liked the part where he was always drinking different brands of each type of alcohol so there wouldn’t be any issues with the alcohol companies. Logically, he’d have a go-to brand of beer/vodka/etc right? Unless he just went with whatever was on sale…
    I suppose if he had been buying McGuffin Beer or something like that, it’d take away from the realism of the movie but you can’t have the same brand all movie for fear of dumb people assuming just that particular brand makes you an alcoholic.

  3. Didn’t that mini-bar seem crazy-full? I’ve been in a few hotels and seen a few mini-bars but never one that was quite that packed, that fucker was practically a liquor store, and knowing mini-bar pricing I can hardly imagine the bill for that escapade.

    Anyway, Washington was great as expected–has he ever been bad, really–at the same time the movie was NOT what I expected. When I saw the preview before Batman 3 I figured he was a heroic guy who somebody found out had a glass of wine or something before dinner and then the media and /or a big company tried to make him a scapegoat and he had to clear his name.

    But nope. He was a fuck-up. No ambiguity there whatsoever.

  4. This movie was decent. I liked that Denzel (and Zemeckis) had no qualms with making that character an unsympathetic asshole, yet depend on the audience to follow him because of Denzel’s acting and well, being intrigued in general and not because he’s likeable (he’s not really.) Denzel probably deserved that Oscar nod.

    I could’ve done however without the SPOILERS SPOILERS PANTS ON FIRE SPOILERS SPOILERS Lifetime Movie of the Week ending. End the movie with Denzel making his confession. He has hit You don’t need that shit of him in prison and honestly, I have trouble believing his son would make mends with him again that soon as Denzel more or less went batshit drunk invading his mom’s house.

    Worth seeing.

  5. Damn I accidentally pressed submit before I finished that one sentence I was going to include wiuthin that spoiler section.


    SPOILER SPOILERS PANTS ON FIRE SO IS YOUR DICK SPOILERS SPOILERS End with his confession, because he has finally hit rock bottom. That’s the dramatic conclusion to his story, his arc, his narrative, however you want to define it. SPOILER SPOILER YOUR PUBIC HAIR ON FIRE TOO SPOILER SPOILER

  6. JV – it didn’t occur to me at the time, but good point about the brand names. Maybe Zemeckis wanted to avoid any of the same criticism he took for Cast Away, which I believe may have been his last live action feature before this–e.g., that it was really just a long-form commercial for FedEx.

    (which it was, tho still a good film, primarily thanks to a great performance from T. Hanks)

    (Thanks to T.Hanks, that’s cute)

  7. Tom— Yeah, the whole none-too-subtle product placement thing becomes a legit concern after Cast Away put Fedex front & center.

    Actually, I considered it more a plug for Wilson Sporting Goods after that sillyass volleyball became the de facto costar of Hanks during the skeevy islander hermit phase of the movie. I mean, did he HAVE to name it “Wilson”? How about “Bubba” or “Cooter” or “Skippy” or “Friday”? (which would’ve been a clever albeit perhaps too obvious Robinson Crusoe reference).

    Presumably Washington’s character does not have a volleyball budster in Flight.

  8. I think if the door was locked he might’ve confessed anyway. It’s one thing for Whip to go on with the everyday lying that he’d been doing for years, the kind he did just to get by, but having to defame Katerina just to save his ass was just one gruesome lie that he couldn’t live with.

    Nice review Vern. I laughed at the November Rain picture. Love your point about Katerina’s redemptive arc.

    I liked this movie a whole lot. I think Zemeckis is super talented and I’m glad he’s not wasting that talent on cartoons anymore (nothing against cartoons, he’s just not as good at them as he is something like this). The crash sequence is incredible. The stuff that comes after is a little familiar, but it’s well done and dramatic and I believe sincere in its intent. I know a lot of people have slammed the movie for being kind of obvious but I think it all works pretty well.

    I really dug the usage of sound in the hotel room scene. The clacking of the door, the hum of the mini-fridge suddenly coming to life. Zemeckis stages it for suspense, and he’s really good at it. I appreciated his patient way of letting scenes breathe, like when Denzel first wakes up in the hospital. He’s just a natural storyteller. It’d be cool if he made a straight-up action movie again.

    And Denzel’s pretty amazing. One of his best performances since MALCOM X. Every criticism people level at the guy – that he’s gone full Pacino, or that he only plays himself – is totally exposed as bullshit here.

    RRA – I agree with you about the ending. It’s too pat. I think Zemeckis has a tough time restraining himself from pandering at times. Goodman’s awesome but the broad humor feels a little cheap (I still laughed at his scenes though).

  9. Does Denzel smile in this movie? Because that would make a nice change.

  10. The mini fridge was motivated. The swept the room and put all the liquor into the adjoining room… And then left it unlocked. I loved cheedle in gigs and really enjoyed the dark comedy elements, but the ending turns into a weird almost Capra-esque melodrama

  11. I’ve been meaning to see this, though the trailers turned me off. Mainly because planes do not fly upside down and if they do, it isn’t for long. Certainly wouldn’t be any maneuver that would avert a crash, more likely to precipitate one.

  12. Wow. I just realized that the last Zemeckis movie I saw was FORREST GUMP.

    Because, you know, I saw FORREST GUMP.

    But seriously. He used to be a sure-thing kinda popcorn director, but then he just stopped making movies I was interested in. First he got Oscaritis and then he got Cartoonitis, and before I knew it, 19 years went by since he made a movie I saw and 22 since he made a movie I liked. He had a hell of a run, one of the greats, but I don’t really think he has it in him to do another ROMANCING THE STONE or BACK TO THE FUTURE type light adventure. He’s just not that dude anymore. I’m glad he’s doing his own thing and not trying to recapture old glories when he’s not really feeling it anymore, but it’s a shame that I can’t really follow him down the road he’s on. Good luck to him, though. I’m glad people seem to like this one.

  13. Tawdry – nice catch on the fridge and door, that makes perfect sense.

  14. I’m happy to see Robert Zemeckis doing live action again, I saw both Beowulf and A Christmas Carol and while I can’t say they were bad movies per se, they did leave me cold and I think the CGI had a lot to do with it (well, A Christmas Carol was more fun because I got to actually see that in 3D, but it’s not a movie I have a desire to ever see again in non-3D), I want to see Flight soon

    also, my sources tell me Nadine Velazquez actually has a full frontal scene in this, sorry to perv out again, but a full frontal in a mainstream movie? who’d have thunk we’d ever see that again?

  15. Tawdry – I didn’t catch that about the fridge and the unlocked door. Nice detail. Those dumb bastards. At least they were trying.


    I could have had a lot more love for this were it not for the big endorsement of AA at the end. I’m a humanist so I can’t really get behind a government sponsored class that urges people to “turn our will and our lives over to the care of God”. So this is like the SIGNS of plane crash movies for me.

    I really like Denzel in it tho, but I kind of had an epithany that he pretty much always plays the same dude. The only difference in his roles is whether his cockiness leads him down a good path or a bad one…

  17. and I guess now is maybe a good time to have a general Robert Zemeckis discussion?

    I’m sorry, but you can count me as pro Forrest Gump, I’m sorry but that movie is just too sweet for me to hate and it was an interesting crash course on recent American history for me as a kid (hippies and Vietnam and shit), I guess it could be a nostalgia thing, but what can I say? like is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you might get (I’m sorry)

    plus, I’ve actually been at the very spot where the “box of chocolates” scene was filmed in Savannah Georgia, the bench was a prop however, there’s no real bench there, just some flowers

    also, how many of you guys have seen Used Cars? that’s a great, underrated little movie and it also has some similarities with Back To The Future in that they’re both comedies that end with surprisingly exciting set pieces (although, unlike Back To The Future, Used Cars has a little nudity)

  18. Mr. Majestyk – From I WANNA HOLD YOUR HAND up to DEATH BECOMES HER, Zemeckis was really Howard Hawks with his comedies, since its all those movies were whether they were also action adventure or coming of age or time traveling or film noir or whatever. A funny guy who made unpretentious, high quality entertainments.

    But yeah, “Oscaritis” fucked him. FOREST GUMP to a degree (even if I have no use for it) is old Bob Zemeckis still since it is a comedy. But once he won that Oscar and that movie made big money…old Zemeckis was gone. Zemeckis became an “important” filmmaker, and he had to make “important” movies. (I don’t like CONTACT.) That’s not to say he didn’t make any good movies afterwards, but hes much less interesting and endearing to me. I did mention I liked FLIGHT, but outside of Denzel (and that crash sequence) I can’t find the rest of the film’s elements that necessarily outstanding.

    Of course I do admit I admire that Denzel and Zemeckis made not just a movie for adults that (aside from that Lifetime movie ending) tried to challenge an audience to follow an unlikeable shithead, but with a big budget. If Denzel, a movie star/icon with an adult audience loyal to him, didn’t do FLIGHT…if FLIGHT got produced at all, it would be like almost every other R-rated, “adult” movie and that is a micro-budget picture by Hollywood standards. (think END OF WATCH.) Otherwise Hollywood wouldn’t have produced it. So I guess Zemeckis deserves credit for all that.

    Anyway In FLIGHT (and his previous cartoon movies) I noticed how Zemeckis’ humor had become so broad and cheap, one can’t believe this mother fucker once upon a time earned an Oscar nod for co-writing BACK TO THE FUTURE.

  19. I cannot say it enough, fuck Forrest Gump. The only way I would ever rewatch that maudlin, reactionary, saccharine garbage would be if it came with an audio commentary by Bill Hicks where he shits on it for two hours. Also, if there’s a place in Obama’s cabinet for a movie name czar, I would start an internet campaign to get Vern in the position.

  20. to be fair, I don’t think Forrest Gump is an all time classic or anything (it’s certainly not even close to being Zemeckis’ best movie), or even worthy of the Oscar, it’s just an ok little movie, is that so wrong? I like Pulp Fiction as much as the next guy, but sometimes you’re in the mood for something lighter and not a movie where a guy gets fucked in the ass by a redneck, variety is the spice of life and all that…

    also, I like Castaway a lot too

  21. I hate FORREST GUMP because I can’t see past the ideology, and I can’t see past the ideology because it pretty much only works on the level of allegory or fable. I’d say it’s a Trojan Horse but it’s not that subtle. It’s more like Slim Pickens riding an atomic bomb of right-wing idiocy.

    There is a lot about CONTACT that I find dumb and irritating, but it at least tries to engage with big sci-fi concepts that most movies refuse to even touch. For that reason I can’t be down on it too much.

    CASTAWAY I liked fine. Any movie where a guy considers sacrificing his life for a volleyball is okay by me.

  22. see, I was too young when I first saw the movie to read into any of the political ideology of it, I just saw it as a movie

    and it works as a movie, you can read into the message if you want to, but it doesn’t quite beat you over the head with it either, it’s not AN AMERICAN CAROL

    if you can’t see past the ideology that’s fine, but come on, if it’s a conservative movie it’s a pretty mild one, wouldn’t you say? again, it’s not AN AMERICAN CAROL, the movie was made in 1994, not the post 9/11 America, back when there was, dare I say? at least a few conservatives left not totally batshit

    and is Robert Zemeckis really conservative? I have not seen him make any political statements unlike Dennis Miller or David Zucker or David Mamet or (shudder) Frank Miller, if I had to guess he seems more like a middle of the road guy like….Tom Hanks

    also, there’s naked lady in FLIGHT, any true die hard conservative is not going to put that in one of their movies

  23. If I am ever on a plane that fucks up like the one in this film, I hope there is a drunk coked-out Denzel at the helm.

  24. Griff,

    Forest Gump is a great crash course…in being on the wrong side of pretty much every single important element of the 1960s. It reduces Black radicals to a cheap punch line, marginalizes Feminism, glorifies the Vietnam war, and presents literally-retarded logic as the epoch of Americanism why casting massive shade on actual rugged individualism. That said, the bit where he buys and burns down Jennys house is perfect and hugely cathartic, the effects work is ground-breaking, and Hanks totally disappears into the role. His second best behind Philadelphia.

  25. BAD PILOT would have been a better title and better movie. I liked most of it but it’s always afraid to let Denzel be really unlikable. He’s still got to be good old Denzel.

    SPOILER: Still, I liked when they actively got him coked up to go to the hearing. That’s balls, and it would have been more ballsy if they’d really gone with it.

  26. Crustacean, Denzel always smiles and laughs right after he gives you an intense dressing down. Haven’t you seen Jay Pharoah? :)

  27. Tawdry (glad to see you back) like I said Gump was just my introduction to things like Vietnam and Hippies, they were just things that happened in the past, I was too young to grasp the full meaning of the events and have a full opinion on them, seriously, I was like 5 years old, my whole family, including my now deceased grandparents, gathered around to watch it when it first came out on VHS and I just enjoyed this interesting tale of a marginalized guy and the odyssey he goes on throughout his life

    I mean, you guys do realize that you can enjoy a movie without agreeing with it’s message or it’s politics? hating Forrest Gump for it’s politics kind of reminds me of people that hated Avatar just because of it’s environmental message

    anyway, Gump aside we can all agree the Back to The Future trilogy is excellent though, right? it’s in my opinion one of the best trilogies ever made and one of the few that feels like just one long movie instead of 3 separate ones

    for me it’s actually a tossup as to whether 1 or 2 are better, the original is a classic no doubt but part 2 is more exciting and I love the whole part of the movie set in 2015 so, so much

    part 3 is certainly the weakest, but given how most third sequels suck (BTTF 3 is one of the few good ones along with Return of the Jedi, Last Crusade, Die Hard with A Vengeance, Return of the King and…..The Dark Knight Rises) 3 is surprisingly good, the basic premise (to send Marty 100 years into the past instead of just 30) is darn clever and fun and it has such a satisfying ending that brings everything full circle

  28. It bordered on being an afterschool special and I found a lot of it unintentionally hilarious.However it just became too much with the preachiness after a while. It came across as a parody of this type of story more than it ever seemed genuine. For example I saw the moment of clarity from the climax coming about an hour and change before it did.

    Because the movie was just that transparent. Great performance by the guy though I could see why he got the nod. Can’t really recall him playing a tortured addict before. Zemeckis did a great job with how he directed Denzel but Bob did come across a bit rusty at times during this too. I think his hiatus from live action was too long but it’s nice to see him back in that element. Hopefully he stays there. One thing I did really like about this movie was the little “VEAL” technique he employed; it was a pretty intuitive idea.

  29. For Forrest Gump they actually shot a sequence where they sick the dogs on MLK, and Gump distracts the dogs by throwing a stick for them to go fetch (oblivious of course to what was actually happening). They never used it for reasons of taste, but I kind of wish they had left it in. It would have been more honest about what they were doing and left an unsettling edge to the proceedings.

  30. Disagree with the after-school special charges on Flight (barring the last scene.) There’s definitely the drugs-are-bad-m’kay subtext, and that Denzel’s character should ease up (at least) to salvage his personal life and prevent plausible future disaster. But the crash at the beginning ISN’T his fault, right? The investigation uncovers a technical culprit, right? Despite his being altered and taking calculated risks to get the plane through the storms/choppy air/whatever before the disaster, his better quality – the man can fly – is what matters most by saving the day … and in return his livelihood, his passion, his freedom, and his public respectability all hang by a thread. That’s a lot more complex than an after-school special: Yeah, he should get ahold of his addictions, but is it fair to lose everything over a disaster that they didn’t factor into, and in which the pilot got a hero’s results?

  31. That’s the thing about the movie. The ambiguous nature of the accident. The crash is POSSIBLY his fault because well he pushed the plane way too hard too early on during takeoff. It’s not what we’re told by the end but that possibility does hang there.

    Also yes the man can fly but it’s like the movie itself asks “considering his skill level; had he not been inebriated would there have even be any casualties at all?”

    Bottom line: it is fair to lose everything if you willingly jeopardize people’s lives at your job with frequency not matter your skill level. Sure nobody else would’ve been able to have landed that plane most likely but other pilots would not have been as irresponsible and reckless as the protagonist of this movie either.

    Addiction is a disease and the man is brutally ill so yes somebody in his state definitely deserved to LOSE everything. You wouldn’t see anybody else with a serious illness being allowed to carry on with their work if they worked in a public service industry.

  32. Oh yeah also remember that he didn’t really check the state of the plane at all before takeoff so there’s another reason why he is at fault. I actually think the one thing the movie did do pretty good was keep it so ambiguous due to the amount of possibilities it presented regarding the cause of the accident. It’s refreshing considering how much movies tend to spoonfeed the audience now a days.

  33. Also, re Forrest Gump = stealth satire. The overriding feel might be aw shucks, I’m so happy that sweet disadvantaged guy had such a remarkable life. His all-American achievements though are shown to be more a matter of dumb luck than of the admirable qualities typically perceived in success stories. Plus the doctor’s markedly fallible, and mom guarantees her son’s best education by fucking the school principal … hallowed institutions get treated as a joke by Forrest Gump.

  34. While we are talking about Oscar movies: If any of you wonders if I’m doing another OScar Hangout this year (because the one last year was a lot of fun), the answer is “No”. Since Seth MacFarlane is hosting this year, I decided the only way to watch it and not blow my brain out, is to record it and skip his parts.
    Maybe next year again.

  35. ahhhh, bummer CJ, do you really hate Seth that much?

  36. Enough to not stay up all night (remember: Timezones) to see him crack lame jokes about how dumb Hollywood is all night long. I wouldn’t even stay up to see the real Ricky Gervais doing this, so why would I do that for wannabe Ricky Gervais?

  37. On a different topic: What is this sight doing to the link in my username?

  38. Oh, okay, it works now. Ignore me and proceed.

  39. Inspector Li – shoot, that reminds me, The AV Club had an article Forrest Gump was secretly a satire, I forgot about that, lemme see if I can find it…

    here it is, in a review for another Zemeckis movie http://www.avclub.com/articles/i-wanna-hold-your-hand,66622/

  40. Well, the book is much more blatantly satirical. It seemed to hold its hero in contempt. This was spelled out even more explicitly in the sequel, written to capitalize on the success of the film, which openly mocked the in-book movie that had been made based on Gump’s life and seemed to go out of its way to portray the sweet clod of the film as a greedy, ignorant hypocrite.

    A case can be made for GUMP being a satire, but I don’t really buy it. It’s too committed to its cornball message in style and tone for that. If it had ever started out at all subversive, with the cynical, anarchic Zemeckis of USED CARS poking his head out one last time before succumbing to the second stage of his Spielbergization (the Desperate Prestige Grubbing Phase that began for The Beard with THE COLOR PURPLE), it stared into the abyss too long and became the thing it meant to savage.

  41. “the Desperate Prestige Grubbing Phase that began for The Beard with THE COLOR PURPLE”

    but what about Lincoln?

  42. I gots to go pee pee

  43. Impressive recall, Griff, and thank you – I thought I was on my own with the Gump read. Mr. M has a point that the satire fades as the movie goes on. I’d argue though that it’s there for sure though; so much of the editing plays up the irony. People laugh because emotionally they’ve bought into Forrest and they like seeing him get ahead, yet a big part of the humor is that Forrest’s success is not what you’d expect for someone so lacking in insight. You can coo at his luck or slap your thighs at how smarts don’t mean nothin’, but I suspect Zemeckis and Eric Roth are very aware that Forrest’s qualities don’t (or shouldn’t?) jibe with the institutions that reward him. They might lose that emphasis in order to send audiences out on a sentimental note, but that weird duck schism is what makes the movie interesting (if not a favorite – much prefer pretty much all Zemeckis’s live action stuff outside of Cast Away.) Now if I could explain away the awful, on-the-nose use of pop songs …

  44. they should make Forrest Gump vs Sling Blade

    at first it would seem obvious that Karl Childers could just damn near cut Gump’s head in two (especially after that second whack) with his kaiser blade (some folks call it a sling blade) but Gump can run really fast

    so who knows who would win?

  45. Funny you should say that Griff. When I was in high school I made a video FORREST GUMP MEETS RAIN MAN, and in college I made SHINE YOUR SLING BLADE as a spiritual sequel.

  46. me and you think alike I guess

  47. Griff I think it’s perfectly excusable that you liked the film as a child, but I see no reason to not revise your opinion in light of now being an adult.

  48. well, I will let you guys in a little secret, I have not since the movie since the dvd days, maybe about 8 years ago or so? I’ve yet to re-watch it on blu ray and who knows, maybe my opinion would change

    also, why am I not seeing more Used Cars discussion, it’s got Kurt Russell for crying out loud!

  49. Apologies if someone else has already mentioned it – my first thought was that ‘Sympathy For The Devil’ used to introduce john Goodman as a reference to ‘Fallen’; the Denzel / John Goodman demonic possession buddy cop movie with the same tune used over the end credits (if memory serves).

    I might be giving the filmers too much credit there though. Probably they used it just cos it’s a cool tune.

  50. Tango Urilla – That’s an interesting little connection there. I didn’t really think back on it since I had forgotten all about FALLEN but yeah that’s a possibility. Personally though I think it was more so to highlight that Goodman’s character was the enabler of Denzel’s temptations. His own personal Devil getting him closer to self destruction with every delivery request.

  51. Broddie – I expect you’re right; I think it’s more a random-chance reference that comes from that particular tune being used so often as a signified of the on-screen character’s ‘badness’.

    p.s. can anyone tell me where this ‘Recommendations’ section is ? I cant see it on my ipodphone screen and i want to recommend ‘Robot & Frank’.

  52. Tango: It’s under Reviews -> Suggestions

  53. Cheers buddie.

  54. My hot take: Denzel should’ve won the Oscar for this performance over DDL as Lincoln. Don’t get me wrong. LINCOLN is a much better movie. Outside of the plane crash and ham-fisting his love interest’s addiction and recovery parallel, Zemeckis’ vision for this material isn’t that much better than you’d expect from a cable movie about alcoholism, denial, and addiction. But Denzel brings that movie star aura and quality and acting chops combo that’s hard to rival. I’m not sure if anybody, including DDL, could’ve swapped roles with him for this part and gotten a better performance for the movie. Denzel whipped out a few too many of his moves for this movie, or else maybe he’d have edged out Casey Affleck last year. (I don’t feel as strongly about one.)

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