Author, poet, lawyer, former college football player, basic bro. I'm what you'd get if you crossed Nicolas Cage and Creed Bratton together
Forrest Gump is a movie about a mentally deficient man who experiences first-hand many of the most turbulent and significant events of the 1950’s through the 1980’s. Despite his cognitive handicap, he achieves remarkable success in a wide range of vocations, including, among other things, becoming an all-American college football player, war hero, ping pong champion, shrimp boat captain, millionaire business owner, and wandering runner. Gump does all this while maintaining an unhealthy obsession with a girl named Jenny, a hippie who grew up next door to him and later bears his spawn.
Considering how tumultuous 2020 was—feeling almost as if it was a single decade rolled into 366 days—I thought it would be interesting to conceptualize how a Forrest Gump set in 2020 would play out. How would the protagonist experience, interreact with, and interpret last year’s events? The following is how I think such a hypothetical sequel could transpire.
The film would begin several decades past where the last movie left off. For those of you who need a reminder, after years of aimless, drug induced, hippie excursions, Jenny returned home to stay with Forrest. She repays his hospitality by sneaking into his room late one night, taking his virginity, then heartlessly ditching him. It’s only when she’s about to die that she decides to reach out to Forrest, inform him that they have a son, then marry him, thereby leaving the poor man to raise their child as single parent.
Back to the current premise, the first scene would transpire in Iraq. As a shrimping tycoon, Forrest is visiting the country under the auspices of a special U. S. visa in order to help the struggling nation develop its seafood industry. While waiting outside the U. S. Embassy, Forrest notices several men sitting in a parked car, panicking. One of them seemingly throws or drops his phone out the window. Forrest, being the Good Samaritan he is, runs over and picks it up. He then chases after the car yelling, “Excuse me! You dropped your phone!”
Forrest chases the men for several blocks. Because he’s still really fast, Forrest eventually catches up with the car. He hands the driver the phone and quickly strides away. Realizing what has happened, the men began panicking, until suddenly, a drone’s missile strikes their automobile, instantly vaporizing them. As it turns out, the car held Qasem Soleimani and his entourage. They ditched the phone because they figured out they were being tracked on it. Forrest had thus unwittingly alerted the U. S. military to his location.
Due to his inadvertent heroic actions, Forrest is invited to the White House to meet with President Trump. I can only imagine how great a conversation between Gump and Trump would be. A fly on that wall would certainly get its money’s worth. Trump would then ask Gump to go on a secret mission with Rudy Giuliani to investigate Ukrainian corruption and find any missing computer servers. Gump, knowing as much about computers as he does about astrophysics, would assume that “servers” means the President is looking for cocktail waitresses.
Upon landing in Ukraine, Gump gets separated from Rudy and just wanders around, not knowing what the hell he is doing. He eventually ends up at a fancy building to which he is ushered inside to a meeting room by several large men clad in suits and ties. It turns out that he has ended up at the headquarters of Burisma Holdings, where he was mistaken for an American investor. Forrest stays after another American there named Hunter takes a liking to him.
When the conference concludes, Hunter invites Gump back to his hotel room. They end up having a drink before eventually ending up at a Ukrainian brothel. Forrest would then make the observation, “That Hunter sure was strange. He kept snorting sugar up his nose, which is weird because I always thought sugar was supposed to enter through your mouth.”
I think it would actually be funny here if Hunter ended up convincing Forrest to snort the “sugar”, which would then lead to a scene in which super hyper, coked-out Forrest and Hunter Biden run naked throughout Kiev at 3:00 in the morning. All the while, the Forrest Gump running theme would be playing (start video from 0:45 to get an audio feel of this scene Forrest Gump - Alan Silvestri - Run Forrest Run - YouTube).
The next morning, Forrest receives a phone call from an unknown number. A shrill female voice demands to know what he’s doing there. When he replies that he doesn’t really know, the anonymous woman demands to meet with him upon his return, to which Gump agrees. But before leaving, Hunter gives Grump a laptop computer and implores him to keep it safe.
Forrest makes it back safely and meets the woman who called him. It’s Nancy Pelosi. He tells the Speaker that Trump sent him to the Ukraine on a mission to find “servers” and that he made friends with Hunter. She demands he hand over every document related to the trip. Forrest complies by handing over his visa documents and other papers which include information he’s clueless about. However, he’s so uneasy that he doesn’t relinquish the computer. When the exchange ends, Forrest sees a store with multiple computers, so decides to just leave the laptop there.
Thus, Forrest has unknowingly set off the impeachment proceedings. However, to his dismay, he realizes that he accidently gave Pelosi the newest recipe to Bubba Gump’s latest shrimp concoction. Forrest tries to retrieve it from her at the State of the Union address, but is too late, as Pelosi unwittingly shreds it.
Depressed and demoralized, Gump does what he does best—pointlessly runs across the nation. While jogging through Oklahoma, Forrest becomes fascinated by a big cat sanctuary which is run by a unique character named Joe Exotic. Joe asks Forrest if he likes animals to which Forrest replies, “Very much so.” He tells Gump that he can stick around and work for the animal sanctuary if he wished. Forrest being Forrest agrees and begins doing low-paying, menial labor at the zoo. Just picturing Gump’s daily interactions with Joe and his staff alone would make this film worth the watch.
During one day, Cardi B visits the big cat refuge hoping it will help inspire her to write a new hit single for some odd reason. She meets Forrest, who is so enamored with her that he accidently spills a tub of water on one of the tigers. “Whoops!” Forrest says, “Well, that there is a wet pussy cat.” He then tries to dry off the animal with a nearby bucket and a mop.
Meanwhile, Joe starts to become infatuated with Forrest. I can imagine this scene now.
Joe: “You know, I like you, Forrest.”
Forrest: “Well, I like you too, Joe.”
Joe: “No, but I really, really like you, Forrest.”
Forrest: "I really, really like you too, Joe.”
[Forrest is so innocent that he has no idea what’s going on]
Joe: “Forrest, would you want to join me and my husbands to form a quadruple?”
Forrest: “You want me to help you make a shape?”
But before things could be taken to an even more uncomfortable level, Joe Exotic is arrested. This couldn’t have occurred at a more perfect juncture, as Forrest has received an invitation to celebrate the anniversary of the ping pong diplomacy. Once again, Gump is off to the land of China.
Gump traverses the country, playing in numerous ping pong matches, his final game being in Wuhan. While there, a well-dressed Chinese man politely asks Forrest if he could discretely take a few cylinders holding an unknown substance back with him to America. Being the nice guy he is, Forrest agrees. But upon receiving them, he breaks the canisters. The mysterious man freaks out, shouting, “Do you know what you’ve done?!” Gump profusely apologizes. He then returns home, thinking little of the incident.
Upon arriving in the United States, all hell breaks loose. Gump handles the COVID-19 pandemic well. His positive outlook on life, along with the fact he doesn’t really need to do anything, means he remains relatively sheltered from the outside world. That is until Forrest is informed that Bubba Gump’s is experiencing supply chain issues, particularly in its Pacific Northwest region.
Forrest travels to Seattle. While there, he gets lost and wonders into the newly formed nation of CHAZ. He quickly falls in love with the place, as its debris filled streets, awful stench, drug use, sexual promiscuity, and delusional, radical left-wing residents all remind him of Jenny. He then somehow ends up becoming its warlord. At this point, I really don’t know what he would do other than just rename every single building and statue within the zone after Jenny.
The now FGAZ (Forrest Gump Autonomous Zone) wouldn’t last long. However, it would once again propel Gump to celebrity status. This would primary be because his younger followers would create a TikTok for him. Forrest begins making videos, which for those above the age of 15, seems ridiculous. But his odd demeanor and antics become a hit with the younger audiences.
Now we reach the election, and there are one of two ways I could see this could unfold. First, the election could go the same way it does in our timeline i. e. Joe Biden being elected President. Forrest does not really care about politics, so this would have zero effect on him. Nonetheless, I could imagine an incident in which he is visiting D. C. during the day of the Capitol Hill Riots and inadvertently wanders into Congress (see image below). Forrest would then be arrested, but soon the White House staff realizes that he is the only person who can understand Biden. Hence, he is pardoned and kept on as the President’s personal translator, to the ire of Kamala Harris, who now can’t easily toss him aside like a used-up Willie Brown.
The second way, and the one I personally like better, involves Forrest meeting Kanye West, who is so impressed with the man, that Kanye insists Forrest sign on as his VP for his presidential campaign. Gump agrees, but through a registration fluke, the shrimping mogul ends up on at the top of the ticket. Forrest turns out to be an excellent campaigner, as voters resonate to his simple, yet untestable style. For instance, when asked how he would reunite the country, he responds, “We are all just like peas and carrots.” His team also comes up with the memorable campaign slogan “Run, Forrest! Run!” Get it? Because he’s “running” for office. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s a Medal of Honor recipient, even though he no longer possesses the actual medal itself, since we all know that Jenny definitely pawned it for heroin almost immediately after Forrest gifted it to her.
Forrest rises high enough in the polls that he is invited to a three-way debate between him, Trump, and Biden. Following the event, the public becomes overwhelmingly convinced that Gump is easily the smartest person running for the office. He ends being the first candidate from neither the Democrats nor GOP to win the presidency since 1850. Millard Fillmore, who was a Whig, was the last one, just in case you were curious.
Anyways, like every other task Gump has attempted, he ends up somehow being an incredible president. He appoints Lt. Dan as the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Forrest’s old war buddy does a solid job, since he’s personally experienced the system’s pitfalls. I could envision a White House scene in which Lt. Dan remarks, “It’s time to walk all over these Washington Bureaucrats”, to which Forrest responds, “But, Lt. Dan, how you gonna step on them when you ain’t got no legs?”, earning the President a look of distrain from his cabinet member.
And yet, the Gump Administration is successful, ushering in a Second American Century. Forrest goes down in history as the best president the United States has ever had. Oh, and he renames the Washington Monument, “The Jenny”.
© 2021 RMS Thornton