Twenty-five years ago, when going to a movie was still such a thing that one might even do so (as I did) on a weekday afternoon before one’s evening shift at work, Tom Hanks was on the big screen as “Forrest Gump,” interacting with historical figures such as JFK, LBJ, George Wallace and John Lennon.
The computer-generated effects that placed his character in real-life historical footage were novel at the time and seemed innocent enough. Today, though, we have to worry about the ever more frequent use and dissemination of altered video for political manipulation.
In “Seeing isn’t believing,” the Washington Post’s Fact Checker team explores the techniques used in such distortions. It’s excellent multimedia journalism, but you’ll have to go to the article itself for the experience. The Post also asks readers to submit examples of potentially altered video it can investigate.
Meanwhile, for a re-evaluation of “Forrest Gump” itself, see “Everyone Is Wrong about Forrest Gump,” by Kyle Smith of the National Review. According to Smith, the conventional wisdom about the movie is that it’s a “heartwarming tearjerker” about a guy with a low IQ and a big heart. In reality, he writes, it “has layers and nuances and ironies, and it’s far bleaker than it is given credit for,” with challenges to both liberals and conservatives:
“Gump, who willingly goes off to fight in Vietnam, becomes a war hero. He keeps his hair short, eschews hedonism, and works hard, making it big as an entrepreneur and investor … . He becomes a beloved figure in his community, which he strengthens with his philanthropy. His lifelong love, Jenny (Robin Wright), grows up to be a flower child, topless performer, radical anti-war activist … and apparent heroin addict. …
“Yet beneath the film’s takedown of flower power there is an irony: Gump isn’t really an avatar of patriotism, hard work, and clean living because he isn’t bright enough to make informed choices. His success is flat-out dumb luck.”
“Forrest Gump” is back in theaters ever so briefly for anniversary screenings (June 25 only). Several theaters around the Twin Cities area appear to be in on the action. Start here for times and locations.
“Forwarded with comment” is a periodic, online-only feature of Star Tribune Opinion. The idea is to share and discuss interesting items we encounter in our daily reading but are unable to republish in full.