Friday, July 3, 2015

Thirty Years Has Not Diminished the Ride

1985, 1955, 2015, 1885.  These are important dates in American movie history... as today is apparently the 30th anniversary of the premiere of Back to the Future.  I watched the first movie last night and plan to watch the sequels over the next couple of nights.

I have watched pieces of each semi-recently, and saw the original many times.  But watching last night, I realized many things:
  • Such great casting.  The tale of Michael J. Fox coming in late, after many scenes had been shot with Eric Stolz, is well known.  But no one could have done Doc Brown like Christopher Lloyd.  Lea Thompson melted many a teenage boy and was otherwise both funny and dramatic as called for.  Her reaction to kissing Marty was wonderful--I had forgotten about that.  Crispin Glover may be somewhat crazy but he was so very good in all versions of George: awkward, creeper; middle-age failure; cool Dad.  Tom Wilson, my personal comedian, is the perfect bully. 
  • So many small pieces that worked so well. The movie opens on a bunch of clocks, including this one, the foreshadows the climax nicely:
  • My favorite line, which I messed up on twitter:  I am your density!
  • Which comes after a great, great moment where George walks into the dinner, asks for a milk! Chocolate!  Immediately receives the sliding glass and takes a swig.  Great comedy, and not easy as you can see at about 1:40 of this blooper reel:

  • Doc's reactions to various challenges to his plan are priceless.
  • It was only this time, watching after all these years and so many times, to realize how thoroughly unreliable the Dolorean was as a vehicle (just the driving, the stalling, hard to start part, not the time travel part).  Which is perfect, given how lousy the car was.
  • Huey Lewis, as head of the band competition committee, complaining about how loud Marty's band was.
  • Marty overplaying the guitar solo.
  • The racism!  Yes, Biff's buddies of bullies were bigots!!!  When they throw Marty in the trunk of a car, it turns out to be the band's car.  One bully utters a slur when confronted by the one bandmate.  
  • This movie was more rapey than I remembered as not only does Marty's plan have him being too aggressive for Lorraine so that George can be the hero, but Biff actually tries to rape Lorraine!  And then at the dance, some other dude tries to force his way with Lorraine, with George slowly and finally confronting him.  Not a cool school at all.
  • Great writing: "have you no concept of time!"
  • I may need to watch again, as Jennifer, Marty's girlfriend, seems to be wearing the same clothes as when we last saw her.
Anyhow, I plan to watch the next two in the next two days or so, but who knows?  I mean, my future is not written yet.

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