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Monday, June 21, 2010

Fun Summer Movies: BACK TO THE FUTURE (1985)

Taking a page from my good friend Kori, I will be writing about past great summer movies that were just fun and entertaining. Nothing too much to think about just a movie where you could sit back in the theater and relax and have a really good time. That magic has been diluted a little bit thanks to overuse of CGI and non-interesting characters. But Hollywood still manages a few good ones every now and then. Summer blockbuster season officially began with 1975's Jaws and never looked back after that. I will post at least one film a week, maybe two if I have enough time. It will be random, no particular order. Whatever movie that I will be thinking of at that time will be the one I post about. I will concentrate on the period of the 80's up until now. Many of these films are the ones as a teenager that I saw over and over at the theaters. And what better film to start off with than 1985's Back To The Future.

I was 15 when this film came out and I thought this was one of the coolest movies ever. And it still is to this day. Everyone knows the story by now: typical small town teen-ager Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox in his best role) who loves rocking the guitar and spending time with his girlfriend Jennifer. Marty doesn't care too much for his home life as he thinks his parents (Crispin Glover, Lea Thompson) are total squares. And he has an abrasive sister to deal with also. Marty's best friend is the eccentric scientist Doc Brown (a hilarious performance by Christopher Lloyd) who is constantly working on some type of science experiment. Well his latest project is time travel. And the good doc has created a time machine out of a DeLorean sports car. He asks Marty to help him out with some test runs at the town mall's parking lot late one night. And much to their surprise it actually works. Of course the Libyans show up looking to kill Doc, since he stole their plutonimum to power his time machine with. After a brief skirmish Marty is forced to jump into the DeLorean and head back to 1955.
That's when the fun really begins as Marty finds Doc during that time period and convinces him that he is from the future. So Doc works on a way to send Marty back home and Marty has to deal with his parents, since he kind of inadvertenly caused them not to meet. And if they don't hook up, then Marty will never be born. And Marty's dad life long nemesis Biff becomes a problem for him. Back to the Future is a great movie and it's the perfect summer film. It has a clever storyline, a terrific cast, lots of humor and cool visual effects that still hold up today. A great musical scene which features Marty rocking out with Johnny Be Good. It's good family fun that everyone can enjoy. And let's not forget the awesome song The Power Of Love by Huey Lewis and the News. Huey actually has a small cameo in the film as well. Produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by ace Robert Zemeckis, who also helmed Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Romancing the Stone.

Back to the Future was a huge hit during the summer of 1985 as it would gross $200 million in North America alone. Not bad for a film that only cost about $20 million to make. It would be followed by two more sequels that while entertaining, were not as good as the original. In fact Part 2 might cause you some head aches trying to figure out all the time travel gibberish. Regardless, the original is the true classic and it set Michael J. Fox on the path to movie stardom. As he became a mainstay during the late 80's and early 90's with other hit films such as Teen Wolf (1985), The Secret Of  My Success (1987), and Doc Hollywood (1991).
Trivia Notes:

Michael J Fox is the only modern actor in Hollywood to have the top 2 movies on the same weekend at the same time: Back to the Future and Teen Wolf. 1985 was a very good year for Mike.

Apparently Ronald Reagan was amused by Doc Brown's disbelief that an actor like him could become president, so much so that he had the projectionist stop and replay the scene. He also seemed to enjoy it so much that he even made a direct reference of the film in his 1986 State of the Union address: "As they said in the film Back to the Future (1985), 'Where we're going, we don't need roads.'"

Ranked #10 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Sci-Fi" in June 2008.
Michael J. Fox had always been the first choice for Marty, but he was unavailable due to scheduling conflicts with his work on "Family Ties" (1982). Eric Stoltz was cast as Marty but he disagreed with the rest of the cast and crew about the tone of the film. After a few weeks of filming, Fox was asked to replace Stoltz. Fox worked out a schedule to fulfill his commitment to both projects. Every day during production, he drove straight to the movie set after taping of the show was finished every day and averaged about one or two hours of sleep. The bulk of the production was filmed from 6pm to 6am, with the daylight scenes filmed on weekends.

A persistent myth is that Michael J. Fox had to learn to skateboard for the film. In fact, he was a reasonably skilled skateboarder, having ridden throughout high school. However, Per Welinder acted as a skateboarding double for the complex scenes, and Tony Hawk (who had originally been cast as a double when Eric Stoltz was playing Marty, but was too tall to double for Fox) helped choreograph and coordinate the skateboarding action.

Memorable quotes:

Marty McFly: Wait a minute, Doc. Ah... Are you telling me that you built a time machine... out of a DeLorean?
Dr. Emmett Brown: The way I see it, if you're gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?

Dr. Emmett Brown: If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits eighty-eight miles per hour... you're gonna see some serious shit.

Lou: You gonna order something, kid?
Marty McFly: Ah, yeah... Give me - Give me a Tab.
Lou: Tab? I can't give you a tab unless you order something.
Marty McFly: All right, give me a Pepsi Free.
Lou: You want a Pepsi, PAL, you're gonna pay for it.

Dr. Emmett Brown: Then tell me, "Future Boy", who's President in the United States in 1985?

Marty McFly: Ronald Reagan.
Dr. Emmett Brown: Ronald Reagan? The actor?
Dr. Emmett Brown: Then who's VICE-President? Jerry Lewis?
Dr. Emmett Brown: I suppose Jane Wyman is the First Lady!
Marty McFly: [following Doc] Whoa! Wait! Doc!
Dr. Emmett Brown: And Jack Benny is Secretary of the Treasury.
Marty McFly: [outside the lab door] Doc, you gotta listen to me.
Dr. Emmett Brown: [opens the door to the lab] I've had enough practical jokes for one evening. Good night, Future Boy!
Marty McFly: No, wait! Doc. Doc. The-the-the bruise - the bruise on your head. I know how that happened! You told me the whole story. You were standing on your toilet, and you were hanging a clock, and you fell, and you hit your head on the sink. And that's when you came up with the idea for the Flux Capacitor...
Marty McFly: Which... is what makes time travel possible.

1 comment:

Mommy Mayhem said...

This was an awesome movie although I think I was about 9 or 10 when I first saw it. It will be on my movies to watch over the summer for sure. thanks for posting this! I look forward to reading more of your movie posts!


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