Earlier this year I dissected my love for bad movies, that genus of film so mindnumbingly incompetent, that it speeds past tedium and heads right into the vicinity of brilliance. There is a new member on that hollowed list and his name is Larry Crowne.
If you ever wanted to see what Forrest Gump would be up to in late middle age or how Forrest would direct those adventures than a genie only owes you two more wishes. Forrest Gump is Larry Crowne, a borderline mentally retarded man who gets downsized from a retail store. Fortunately Larry’s neighbor introduces him to something called college. The college in this movie does not allow anyone under 30 to enroll, but there is a thriving subculture of scooter riders. This allows for a five minute scene with no dialogue of Forrest Gump driving around on a scooter to the tune of Tom Petty’s Running Down A Dream.
One of the two teachers at the college is Julia Roberts. Somehow by the end of the movie Forrest Gump and Julia Roberts are in love. I never saw the other movie they starred in together, Charlie Wilson’s War, but I’m assuming that’s where the romantic scenes were.
But maybe this is a clever part of Forrest Gump’s directorial motif. Life is random. Why should one scene really have anything to do with another? Don’t characters enter all our lives without any significance at all and don’t semesters of our lives pass when nothing dramatic or interesting at all happens? Why should Larry Crowne’s life be any different?
Larry is unique in the annals of cinema. I can’t remember another character so open to the powers of suggestion. Here is some of the fine paraphrased dialogue found in the movie.
“Hey Larry, you should go to college.”
“Hey Larry, we’re going to cut your hair and rearrange your living room even though we just met you.”
“Hey Larry, want to work as a line cook at my seedy diner?’
“Hey Larry, declare bankruptcy and let the bank foreclose on your house.”
“OK.” (I applauded the scene where Larry stood up for all the little people who couldn’t be bothered to read the fine print when refinancing their mortgage. One other person joined in on the cathartic, sarcastic clapping. I hope he had a home to go to after the screening.)
Usually when seeing a movie that is such an entertaining calamity of a train wreck, I’m left wondering whether the results were intentional. Did Tommy Wiseau earnestly think he was making fine art when he created The Room or was he in on the joke and aspired to make a bad movie? I do not have to ponder this question with regards to Larry Crowne since it was written, directed, and starring Forrest Gump whose claim to fame was that he was really, really stupid.