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Everyone loves Forrest Gump. Potentially the most relevant fictional character in late-19th-century history. The slightly slow guy from Alabama met multiple presidents, was an NCAA All-American kick returner (Devin Hester before Devin Hester, said me, just now), a war hero, shrimp tycoon, and storied long-distance runner.
Tom Hanks’ lovable and loyal titular character made the absolute most of his two hours and twenty-two minutes (or nine hours if you’re watching on TBS) of screen time, so it makes one wonder, what would he make of the screen time if he was swapped into Hanks’ other roles?
Your initial thought might be “ehhhhh” when thinking about how Forrest might function in different movie universes, mostly due to his aforementioned learning disability. But, there are two real certainties when it comes to Forrest Gump the fictional man. One, no matter what everyone seems to love him. Being loved gets you by in a lot of shit.
Secondly (and most importantly), almost everything works out ideally for the guy. Think, this guy with no sailing experience took a shrimp boat out into a hurricane and returned a millionaire. He had unprotected sex with someone who almost certainly died from AIDS and came out of it with nothing except a borderline genius son. In any movie universe, I like Forrest’s chances to change the game with mostly successful results. Obviously, spoiler warning.
Saving Private Ryan – Captain Miller
Turning Captain Miller into Captain Gump shaves at least two hours off this movie. Gump gets off his boat and to the seawall in about 45 seconds and probably takes out that German machine gunner by his damn self.
Afterward, as soon as he hears that he’s gotta round up a squad to go fetch a soldier to go home he’s off sprinting through Normandy faster than you can say “Matt Damon,” not even bothering to pick a squad. He’d run for about three days, grab Private Ryan in Ramelle and throw him over his shoulder like he’s Jenny singing topless at a bar, and spring on back to Omaha beach. In true Gump fashion, he’d probably have a hand in accidentally calling in an air strike that somehow kills Hitler and ends the war abruptly.
Philadelphia – Andrew Beckett
This is probably one of the few Hanks scenarios where things don’t go as great for Forrest because the plot of Philadelphia would be turned into Bubba Gump Shrimp forcing him out because he didn’t come out as quite off the hook with Jenny as he did in his own film.
You’ve Got Mail – Joe Fox
Forrest may have cornered the shrimp industry, but he’d be way too much of a sweetheart to put The Shop Around The Corner Out of business, especially because we’ve seen what a cute blonde will do to that man’s heart. While imagining Forrest successfully navigating an anonymous online relationship may be a stretch, to be honest, he probably can’t keep a secret for shit so Kathleen would know pretty early on that the guy from Gump Books was her online crush.
Considering he’s flush with all that Apple stock, Forrest would decide that he doesn’t want to put a Gump books in NYC anyways. He’d build one in Jersey and spend the rest of his days getting read to by Kathleen at The Shop Around The Corner and going on long-distance jogs with Brinkley.
Cast Away – Chuck Nolan
Yeah… Chuck Gump isn’t getting off that island.
Sully – Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger
Kick aside your initial reaction that this movie was based on a true story. Remember pre-Vietnam Forrest being an absolute machine when assembling his rifle? Imagine that guy flying a plane. Not only would Gumpy not have had to land that plane in the Hudson, the second those birds wrecked those engines his ass would’ve had the plane headed to Teterboro Airport, landing smoothly with a few seconds to spare. Might even hit them with a “Roll damn Tide” as he was headed down the runway.
The Terminal – Victor Navorski
Just like in the original movie, a stranded Forrest Gump would befriend every airport employee and help them. However, our gullible hero would’ve also likely been duped by Stanley Tucci into walking out of the airport and being detained, likely winding back up in the middle of a civil war in Krakozhia.
This might be a nightmare scenario for most, but I’ve got zero doubt that Forrest would become a Krakozhian war hero, be named the new ruler of the country, and fly out that last jazz musician who’s John Hancock he needed to play for him at the palace while he watched and crushed Dr. Peppers. .