It’s strange to feel sheepish about loving a film that won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture—a critical and commercial smash that earned nearly $700 million at the global box office and has been chosen for preservation in the National Film Archive.
And yet: Exactly two decades after its release, calling Forrest Gump one of your favorite movies is an act bound to raise eyebrows, provided you’re talking to anyone who fancies herself a film buff. Most anti-Gumpers resent the movie more for what it isn’t than what it is; as they’ll be the first to remind you, Robert Zemeckis’s film bested Pulp Fiction, now widely regarded as the movie most deserving of the top prize at the 67th Annual Academy Awards. (The Shawshank Redemption also has its partisans, though they’re a less vocal minority.) More passionate haters will attack the movie itself, calling Gump mawkishly melodramatic, aggressively uncool, an elaborate production designed to pander to a certain demographic’s documented historical vanity.