Sunday, April 4, 2010


I’m going to warn everyone right now, there’s a good chance this is going to make you feel old.

Name a movie that EVERYONE likes, go ahead, I can wait (Especially since you’re reading this hours after I’ve written it). Try to name a single movie that unequivocally every single person you know likes. You can’t use STAR WARS because sadly there are some people that think it’s overrated or are turned off in general by sci-fi. JAWS is too graphic, too gory and just a little too scary for some. How about GONE WITH THE WIND? Nope, I can stop you right there because I think that’s one of the most overrated films of all time. Maybe CASABLANCA? I’d love to say yes, but there are far too many people that won’t watch a movie if it’s in black and white and doesn’t have explosions. With RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK you’re getting closer but I’m sure somewhere out there, there are a small handful of people that find it too thrilling or not quite deep enough. One could argue for THE PRINCESS BRIDE but at the end of the day not nearly as many people have seen that movie as you’d think. Is there a film, any movie out there that genuinely reaches across all lines, bursts through all demographics and is really, truly embraced by all who have seen it? The answer is yes, there’s at least one film that immediately springs to my mind.

Twenty-five years ago Robert Zemmeckis in conjunction with Steven Spielberg and too many other great talents to name released a perfect movie. A movie that to this day I think holds up unimaginably well. A movie that had EVERYTHING and something for EVERYONE, a movie that even when you watch it now, a quarter of a century later, you look at it and realize there is not a single, solitary thing you would change. A movie that has stood and will continue to stand the test of time, which when you think about it is all too fitting considering the subject matter. I am of course talking about BACK TO THE FUTURE.

That’s right, 2010 marks the 25th anniversary of the classic sci-fi, comedy tale of Marty McFly, Doc Brown and the coolest Delorean / time machine that’s ever hit the screen. 1985 was a hell of a year for movies, it was the year that saw the likes of BLOOD SIMPLE, WITNESS, THE BREAKFAST CLUB, LADYHAWKE, FLETCH, THE GOONIES, DAY OF THE DEAD, SILVERADO, PEE WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE, REAL GENIUS, BETTER OFF DEAD and BRAZIL released and that is just the very tip of the iceberg. However out of all those great, classic films, some of which I consider some of my favorite movies of all time the one that holds the biggest place in my heart is BACK TO THE FUTURE and I’m almost willing to bet I’m not the only one.

While I’ll be the first admit that I’m tend to hyperbole more than most people I don’t think anything I’ve said so far is untrue. Seriously, start talking with someone, ANYONE about BACK TO THE FUTURE and no matter who they are I can pretty much guarantee a smile will cross their lips as you dredge up fond memories of a film that plays in at least some way to every single person I’ve ever come into contact with. It is a film that reaches every person that sees it, whether it be because of the comedy, the sci-fi, the nostalgia or for those snobby intellectual types the subtextual undertones about mothers lusting after their sons, children bringing parents together and so much more. BACK TO THE FUTURE is a lightning in a bottle type film, one in which every possible individual item converged to form the kind of magic that every film maker prays for yet is only harnessed on far too rare occasions.

I tell everyone that probably one of my ten favorite movie moments amongst the thousands of films I’ve seen is when George McFly (Played by the creepy, yet brilliant Crispin Glover in a role that should have notched him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar) finally stands up for his future wife and more importantly himself and decks Biff Tanen. It’s one of those scenes that gives me goosebumps every time I see it, heck it gives me goosebumps every time I think about it. The reason the scene works so well, the reason audiences cheer at that moment is because it is the moment, the singular, serendipitous moment that 90 minutes worth of film making brilliance has led up to. At that point you forget all about Marty McFly’s need to get back to his own time period, you are there, smack dab in the moment of the greatest revenge of the nerd moment ever committed to film. And after all that you still have the coolest rendition of Johnny B. Goode ever and the pulse pounding, heart in your chest thrill of watching Doc Brown try to harness lightning via a clock tower to send his young charge back to whence he came. Seriously, tell me thinking about those moments doesn’t make you want to rewatch the film this very second.

Unless I’m greatly mistaken BACK TO THE FUTURE has never shown up on any AFI Top 100 list, yet I’m willing to bet its more beloved, more watched than at least half the films on that list. If you’re anywhere close to my age you grew up watching BACK TO THE FUTURE. It was a movie that the whole family could enjoy because it was clean, funny, thrilling and uplifting. In many ways it’s like THE PRINCESS BRIDE only it’s a film that exploded into the mainstream in a way that Rob Reiner’s opus never did. BACK TO THE FUTURE is the movie that made Deloreans cool, orange vests a hip fashion trend, time travel… somewhat believable and most importantly of all brought people of all ages and walks of life together to marvel at the magical stories movies can tell. Happy 25th anniversary to truly one of the greatest movies ever made.

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