People are shocked when they find out I haven't seen their favorite, classic, essential-addition-to-the-pop-cultural-canon film. So I made a list, and am working my way through. Join me as I watch your favorite movie for the first time.
THOUGHTS AND IMPRESSIONS UPON WATCHING "BACK TO THE FUTURE" FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 2018:
Stars! The globe!
Oh false alarm: that's the Universal logo.
This is far too many clocks.
Crispin Glover?? Isn't that a historical person?
(EDIT: Was thinking of the "St Crispin's Day Speech" from Henry V. So while I may be dumb, at least I'm dumb in a literary way.)
Omg I would love an alarm clock that played the radio. I'm alive in 2018 and I don't even have that, just a shattered glass phone square that wakes me up with Marimba. (I'm sure there's an app for that, if I searched.)
Plutonium stolen on the news! Bet that's important.
Angry toast being toasted and re-toasted. Coffee brewing but there's no pot. Where is this person this morning?! Bet we'll find out!
Exposition via Rube Goldberg machine is so satisfying.
Wait - why so much uneaten dog food piled up?!
Oh no where's Einstein the dog. Why hasn't he been eating his food every morning.
THERE BETTER NOT BE A DEAD DOG IN THIS FILM.
At some point someone better say "we're going back... to the future" or I'm demanding my time/money back.
Giant speaker, no further explanation.
Okay, young Michael J Fox is so cute.
NO!! Do not hold onto the back of a truck while riding your skateboard with no helmet!! I vividly remember watching a 9-1-1 reenactment tv episode of a girl pinned under her friend's car, still alive, but with half of her body crushed under a wheel, from doing something like this.
We've got children of the 80s recklessly riding skateboards to school, while us children of the 90s watched after-school specials of y'all smushed, sitting on our couches in the homes we aren't allowed to leave because no one played outside anymore. What happened in the 90s?
Jennifer's helping Marty not get caught with a tardy, so she's obvi a cool girl. Get to class, Jennifer. Date boys who are on time.
... and Mr. Strickland basically says the same thing. As always, I identify with the antagonist principal/authority figures.
Mr. Strickland is angry Marty is hanging out with Doc. Which is a... valid concern. Why would a kid be hanging with an adult Doctor? Mr. Stickland and I care, Marty.
I also got detention for being late 4 days in a row. You might call me the Marty McFly of small, private Christian academies.
Mr. Strickland says "No McFly ever amounted to anything" - if this plot turns out that a younger Mr. Strickland loved Marty's mom back in the day, but Dad McFly won her, it would explain where they got the plot for Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis' Freaky Friday.
"I'm afraid you're just too darn loud" - is this an oft-quoted line? If not, can we make it one?
Jennifer's nails are out of this world. So long and rounded.
Wait I think I missed something about "tomorrow night". They're going... camping? To have... sex? Or am I being weird and they just really REALLY care about going camping, together, alone?
Shot of Marty's mom specifically pouring vodka in her lemonade glass. Subtle undertone of marital/familial dissatisfaction?
The clock tower was hit by lightning 30 years ago. This seems like a very specific fact I sense we're supposed to keep track of.
Omg that's what's her face in old age makeup! (EDIT: I meant Lea Thompson, and from perusing her IMDB I know her from the very unsuccessful 90's sitcom "Caroline in the City". Again, a child home alone watching lots of tv in the 90s.)
Einstein the dog!!! He's okay!
Oh yeah, and the doctor's here too.
Einstein has his own little doggy seat belt in the cool car!
Wait, don't conduct experiments on your sweet dog!!!!!
88 mph - excuse me, there's A DOG IN THERE.
"Don't worry the molecular structure of Einstein and the car are intact" YEAH BUT I BET HE'S REAL SCARED.
"Einstein's fine, he's completely unaware anything happened" ... Well it's still not nice and I don't like it.
Doc, Christ wasn't born on 12/25/0000. Christmas was attributed to 12/25 cause there was already an established pagan holiday around then. And scholars think Christ was prob born closer to 4 BC. (That's right, I may have been late frequently but I paid attention at my small private Christian academy.)
Why are the bomb-buyers Libyan? Was something happening in Libya at the time?
(EDIT: Have googled "Libya in the 80s" to discover the US bombed Libya in '86 and am learning a bit about Gaddafi.)
The Libyan guy whose gun jams makes these exasperated noises that sound like foreign words but are not words. (I guess this is before the PA on set could at least frantically google "what language Libya" and "how do you say damn in Arabic" before shooting)
Omg Crispin Glover is the guy who later goes on to be the "tall creepy man" in Charlie's Angels!
George McFly is a peeping Tom!!
MARTY TOOK HIS DADS PLACE.
Genuinely lol'd at the Calvin Klein joke. Big belly laugh.
"Next Saturday night we're sending you... back to the future!" *Doc looks at camera*
George McFly is terrified of creative and personal rejection too. This is a sort of stunning embodiment of how the sins of the father pass on to the sons. Fear lives in parents, and their children metabolize it in ways they don't even recognize.
Biff is a horrifying assaulter. "Meat hooks" is also an excellent term for a gross guy's grasp.
We're going to spend this whole movie rooting for Lorraine to end up with George McFly, the peeping Tom outside her window, aren't we?
Love Biff's friend who's always inexplicably in 3D glasses.
LOL at Doc in 1955 not believing Raegan the actor would be president in 1985. If you went back in time and told me Trump would be President I would've been like "the utterly irrelevant reality tv star? There's NO WAY America would be that dumb."
Oh boy, Marty has this plan for how he'll upset his mom by getting fresh with her in his car, but his mom is def gonna be into it. I can already tell. Mama thirsty.
I think a far more interesting choice would be if it didn't magically feel somehow "like kissing my brother" to kiss your son from the future. Would have been more tricky and gnarly and human if Lorraine had totally dug it. Big Oedipal cop-out from the writers there.
Oh no Biff gets in that car with Lorraine! George, it's your cue!!!
Oh my god Biff is legitimately going to rape her. This is so dark. The look on Lorraine's face when she cries out for help - this is horrifying.
GEORGE PUNCHES HIM. Thank God!
Now George saunters off with Lorraine in the moonlight and I have almost all but forgotten he is a pervert peeping Tom?
These boys are a perfect microcosm for this moment's reckoning with sexual inequity. Georges of the world: just because you identify as shy and nerdy, just because you aren't a Biff, doesn't mean you don't violate and dehumanize women. You're on the hook too, bro.
Wait, if George has learned to be brave now, then won't he be a different dad in the future?
Okay so in this universe, Chuck Barry invents his sound because he heard a white kid from the suburbs? That's some Mad-Men-Don-actually-invented-the-Coke-commercial kinda revisionist history.
Doc is absolutely right not to want info about his future. No one should have that responsibility!
Just go back a minute earlier, dummy.
Okay he figured that out, but needs 10 whole minutes to yell "Move!" and push Doc out of the way?
OH MY GOD THE CORD UNPLUGS.
OH MY GOD THE CLOCKTOWER CHIMES.
OH MY GOD THE SECOND CORD UNPLUGS. WHAT A NIGHTMARE.
HE MADE IT. MY HEART WAS RACING.
Won't there be a second DeLorean now?
OMG HE MISSED IT. DOC IS SHOT.
BUT BECAUSE HE WENT BACK IN TIME, NOW HE IS WEARING A BULLETPROOF VEST.
(K maybe I was wrong about that "no one should have info about their future" in this specific instance. But I still think it's more interesting if death is an inevitability that no man has a right to thwart, even with cool inventions. Give me some of that Appointment in Samarra goodness.)
Oh, Biff is now their servant.
Yeah it's adorable to have the guy who tried to rape you waxing your car out front. A *hilarious* plot ending.
Jennifer's hair is AMAZING. Is that what women of the 80s thought they would get from a perm?? Those BOUNCY WAVES. What a dream girl.
Okay so after going 30 years in the future, Doc returns with a flying car? And those rad sunglasses? Real 2015 must have been such a disappointment for kids of the 80s.
I like how this film is really just a story about family that HAPPENS to have cool time travel. It's not leaning on sci-fi for its meaning and wonder. Reminds me of what I loved about About Time - it's not about time travel, instead its about how time travel makes us question our responsibility for our own actions, makes visible our unseen impact on the lives of others, and asks us which mistakes we would or wouldn't change if actually given the chance.
I remember in 2015 there were a bunch of different days when people excitedly announced on FB "Happy Back to the Future Day!! Today's the exact date they input when they go into future!" I wonder if anyone ever got to the bottom of that.
This movie is a delight. I don't at all need to see two more, it is exactly perfect as-is and I like it with an open-ended conclusion!