Back to the Future Day Celebration! Time Travel Movie Fest: Back to the Future (Movies A-Go-Go)

1985 popcorn masterpiece

Rating: 19/20

Plot: I already wrote about this movie here.

And you can probably read more coherent thoughts there, too. I've apparently bumped my rating up 2 points. Back to the Future, the more I think about it, really belongs on a list of my favorite movies ever. It's an 80's movie that doesn't feel all that dated, and the only things that I really feel like criticizing are product placements that would probably embarrass Speilberg and an ending that Crispin Glover doesn't like. This is one of those movies that I've seen so many times that I feel like I have every beat memorized, yet it doesn't really get old. It's as fresh now as it was the first time I watched it, and you still notice new little details each time you watch the thing.

Anyway, this got the extremely popular Movies-A-Go-Go treatment in honor of Back to the Future Day a little over a month ago, and then I forgot to put it on here. So here it is.

Love the sound of ticking clocks, but here are a couple questions: 1) Why does one man need this many clocks? 2) Where can I find myself a Harold Lloyd clock? Nice foreshadowing, by the way.
That one-shot travel through Pee Wee’s house is so good. And maybe it’s because I’ve seen this a dozen times or so, but the storytelling is so perfect here. This movie gives you information so effortlessly.

Product placement: A Burger King and an awesome Mountain Dew trucker’s cap. And by the way, it sure is sad that Doc Brown went from living in the sweet pad we see later in this movie and earlier in the timeline to what's apparently a shed next to a Burger King.

Wasn’t your fault that you were late, Marty? You were in your friend’s house about five minutes and ended up 25 minutes late. Marty's concept of time makes you wonder if he's equipped to be in a movie about time travel.

What’s going on with Mr. Strickland’s neck wrinkles?

The Pinheads. First album: The Pinheads Play Huey Lewis and the News.

Save the Clock Tower Woman isn’t overdoing it or anything.

I’m already really sick of Huey Lewis. I can’t hear him without thinking of his penis.

Crispin Glover! His gesticulations during the “Run ‘em on over first thing in the morning” line are just part of what makes this one of the greatest performances in cinematic history.

Pepsi, Bud Light, Nike. Even Doc Brown’s got a pair of Nikes.

Based solely on Crispin Glover’s laugh, he should have gotten the “Michael J. Fox money” he asked for to do the sequel.

Interestingly enough, Crispin Glover still doesn't look as old 30 years later as the 1985 version of his character looked in this movie. The guy doesn't age.

A Devo reference? "Is that a Devo suit?" I never would have noticed that without the closed captioning. I'm not sure why I never made that connection before.

December 25th was the birth of Christ? You know better than that, Doc. Not even the staunchest of Christians believes that anymore. Clearly the man has snorted too much plutonium.

Doc Brown has a wrinkly neck problem, too. It was a dangerous situation in the mid-80’s.
The foreshadowing in this movie is so good. I’m not sure I ever noticed that “next 25 World Series” line before.

Such great music right before the arrival of the terrorists. The gradually build-up is so good.

This movie gives Libya a bad name. Terrorists in a VW bus?

Laugh it up, Terrorist. It's all fun and games until you explode in a mall parking lot while trying to get back your plutonium.

Why does Marty drive right into a photo thing? Smart move if you know you're being gigawatted into the past, but if you don't, it just seems like bad driving. Marty's as good at driving as he is getting to school on time.

“Looks like an airplane...without wings!” Nice acting, Pa.

“Take that, you mutated son of a bitch!” Also good.

Ronald Reagan, another reference that pops up later. This movie is so good at doing that. This is about as cleverly written and visually-gagged as a movie can be, isn't it?

I’d be embarrassed if I lived in a city that couldn’t come up with a better motto than “A Nice Place to Live”


I like the dad’s line which makes it clear that he’s hit a lot of Peeing Tom’s with his car.

The running gag about Marty being a sailor is funny.

Question: How cute would your mom have to be for you to have any sexual interest. I mean, Lea Thompson's got to be kind of close, right?

I remember seeing this movie as a kid and thinking that Christopher Lloyd actually was this way. The silver jacket, the hair, the contraption on his head. He’s channeling Dr. Frankenstein.

“Jesus, didn’t that guy ever have hair?”

“A rhythmic ceremonial ritual.” I can definitely see why Marty would want to hang out with this science guy, but I would love a prequel showing how these two met. I know it's blasphemous suggesting that anybody else play these characters, but wouldn't that be cool? And I know it wouldn't exactly be logical, but finding out that Doc Brown had to befriend Marty despite how unlikely that would be just to not destroy the space-time continuum would be a nifty conflict. Has that been addressed in a comic book or something?

I can’t be the only person who watches this and wonders why Biff’s friend wears 3-D glasses all the time. I believe that was referenced on Doctor Who which makes me feel a little geeky.

Hey, Darth Vader wasn’t from Vulcan! I’m surprised this doesn’t piss off more sci-fi geeks.

“Lou, give me a milk...chocolate.” This five minute sequence--”My density has popped me to you.”--is 
Crispin Glover at his best. Why didn't the guy get an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for this work?

Why do Biff’s words cause the jukebox to shut off?

This movie made me want to take up skateboarding, and I soon learned that I had no business being on a skateboard.

I hate the shot of Marty riding behind the blue-green truck and giving a wave to the people watching in the diner.

Doc Brown apologizing for the quality of his model. So good.

Lloyd’s gasp when the burning car hits a pile of crap and catches it on fire is also so good. Could any other actor have made this character this memorable?

“Hey, you, get your damn hands off her.” That’s one of the beautiful things about this movie. I can’t imagine anybody else--not even Eric Stoltz--playing Marty. I can’t imagine anybody else playing Doc Brown. And I definitely can’t imagine anybody else playing George McFly. This performance is spot on, idiosyncratic.

And now we get to see him dance? Just imagine that you’re at the Enchantment under the Sea dance and you see this guy dancing by himself like Crispin Glover is dancing.

“Who you calling spook, Peckerwood.” I probably quoted that line way too many times as a teenager, naively.

No, it doesn’t make sense that George, in a moment that gets me every single time, is going to be able to knock out Biff like that, but how do you expect Biff to fight with the raging hard-on he must have when he gets out of that car?

As Marty’s hand disappears, you really get the idea of how all these small moments in life really matter. I don't like the disappearing hand gimmick, but that message is still powerful.

There’s such irony with this Chuck Berry allusion. In reality, white rock and roll guys borrowed from black musicians. Here, we flip the script and have Chuck Berry being influenced by a white kid. That's probably racist.

Doc’s told Marty not to give him any information about the future, but shouldn’t he at least tell him that being sent back at “the exact same time” is a terrible idea? Although I guess he isn’t going to end up at the mall again, so maybe it doesn't matter.

I’ve always wanted to time this “less than four minutes” because it’s always seemed a lot longer than that to me.

As we approach the climax, I’m trying to think of a movie that is as purely entertaining from start to finish as this movie is. Comment below if you can think of any.

Ahh, and there’s Doc’s near plummet that brings us back to the Harold Lloyd clock at the beginning of the movie. So good.

I like Doc Brown’s shoes.

Longest four minutes in movie history. And it’s taking a Delorean travelling at 88 miles per hour a long time to go one block. Suspend your disbelief and just go along for the ride though.

Photo thing in a mall parking lot, movie Part III, the time machine is about to hit a drive-in screen. What’s the significance of any of this? The Delorean keeps almost hitting things that produce images.

Did I never notice the mall's name change or did I just forget about it? That's clever stuff, ruined only a bit by more obvious product placement. 

Fred does not look great, Marty.

Why does Marty have his alarm set for 10:27? And why does he sleep on his face with one arm 
behind his back? If it wasn’t shown twice, I’d assume he didn’t do it all the time.

Marty just avoided his mother’s kiss. I wonder why.

I totally get why Crispin Glover hated the end of this movie. It is sort of like a capitalistic wet dream, isn’t it? Would everything be just as “alright” if they didn’t have all this financial success and material possessions?

This cliffhanger ending seems abrupt to me. Maybe it’s partly because I know how crappy most of the second movie is though.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

first time watching this since 198whatever. you are right the pacing is nice. it always entertains. glovers best.