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Mama Always Said...

Remember this immortal line from the movie Forrest Gump?

Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates.
You never know what you're gonna get.

A simple philosophy, shared by a simple man. But what you may not know is that the screenwriters of that film went through a number of drafts before the came to what they considered the most appropriate quote. Oh, yes. And I'd like to share with you today some of the gems they discounted.

First there were the other confection-related words of witticism.

Mama always said life was like a box of M&Ms.
Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.

Mama always said life was like Reese's peanut butter cups.
Two great tastes that taste great together.

Mama always said life was like Doublemint gum or a three-way.
Double your pleasure, double your fun.

But the screenwriting team soon saw they were going in a direction they hadn't intended and decided to think more broadly utilizing a simpler construct.

Mama always said life was like a hammer.
You never know when you're gonna whack your thumb.

Mama always said life was like a toaster.
You never know when you'll get burned.

Are you picking up on the contrasting aspects of the two sentences? Let's try a few more.

Mama always said life was like a pair of pants.
You never know when you'll catch you junk in the zipper.

Mama always said life was like TSA security agents.
They've got the whole world in their hands.

The writers knew they were getting close with:

Mama always said life was like a bowl of ice cream.
If you don't eat it quickly on a hot day it'll melt all over your friggin' lap.

And they came pretty close to getting it when, after many hours in a tiny, locked, smokey room and several bottles of Jim Beam, they came up with the following, which I believe they left in the director's cut:

Mama always said life is not like a box of chocolates.
It's more like a jar of jalapenos.
What you do today can burn your ass tomorrow.

And they thought they'd gotten it right when, just before that they'd come up with:

Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates.
You eat too many and you get the runs, Forrest, runs.

You see what the screenwriting process is like?

Mama always said you had to wade through a lot of crap
Before you could get to a box of chocolates.


Anonymous said…
I cannot believe they passed over the hammer/thumb comment.

That is priceless and worth its weight in metal!


nonamedufus said…
Quirks: Who knew Mama could be so philosophical. And here I thought she was just so fat. said…
The beauty and a annoying aspect of that movie is now everytime I start a sentence with "Mama..." i have to use a southern twang, often in the tone of a southern black man. Considering I'm a nerdy white northern irish dude, it sounds terrible. That movie also ruined the word Shrimp, Jenny, and the line "I gotta go pee"..
nonamedufus said…
Waltsense: I've never bought a box of chocolates since.
Linda Medrano said…
I know I'm in the minority, but I hated that movie. I don't even like Tom Hanks. Go figure! (But I do like your quote better than the one they used.)
Leeuna said…
That was one of my all time favorite movies. I think the writers were brilliant. Forrest's comments were so simple minded yet they said so much. I think my favorite line was when he told Jenny, "Sometimes there aren't enough rocks." Think about it. I've often felt that way.
nonamedufus said…
Linda: John Travolta turned down the role. Stupid is as stupid does.
00dozo said…
Life is like a reality show. You just don't know which Palin will appear next.

(Yeah, I'm milkin' it.)
nonamedufus said…
Leeuna:Speaking of lines Gary Sinise's character tells Hank's character he's going to be an astronaut. The following year the two actors starred in Apollo 13!
nonamedufus said…
00dozo: That would certainly work now, wouldn't it. haha
Nicky said…
Life is like a wheel of cheese. a big ol' circle, often smelly and sometimes full of holes.

And this is why I wasn't hired to be a screenwriter for the movie.
nonamedufus said…
Nicky: How about: Life is like a plate of cheese - you never know when it'll turn bad or be gouda.
injaynesworld said…
You must have sat in some of the same story meetings that I did, because this really sums up the process well.

I loved that movie. Pure genius.
nonamedufus said…
Jayne: I hadn't realized but the movie was actually based on a book. Imagine the fun that guy had coming up with all those experiences and the language to describe them.

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