Back to the Future (1985)
If time travel were possible and we could move as freely from year to
year as we move from street to street, the world's leaders would erect
a massive, impenetrable dome around the entire 1980s and deny all
claims of its existence. This is because the 80s sucked, and anyone who
embraces its nostalgia was either too young to remember the real deal
or spent the entire decade off their tits on tequila and cocaine.
ironic that today the 80s practically defines the spirit of retro,
because the 80s itself was all about the future - probably because we
wanted so badly to escape. Clothes were puffy and glittery and so ugly
it was actually depressing. Everyone's humungous hair was in everyone
else's glossy, painted face. We danced like malfunctioning robots to
synthetic music mass-produced by computer nerds, and did I mention the
hair? We had terrible hair.
So Robert Zemeckis' Back to the
Future was just the sort of nostalgic teen science fiction I needed.
When you're stuck in 80s South Africa, going through the horrors of
high school and puberty, what could be better than a movie about a guy
who uses future technology to travel into the past to fix the present?
Actually, it's a bit more complex than that. Here's the plot:
teenage musician Marty McFly (Michael J Fox) is inexplicably friends
with an aged mad scientist, Dr Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd), who
steals radioactive plutonium from Libyan terrorists to fuel a time
machine he built out of a sports car. While testing the machine in a
deserted parking lot, the crazy terrorists arrive and shoot the mad
scientist. Marty escapes in the sports car/time machine, but finds
himself stuck in the 1950s with no more plutonium fuel to get back home.
Marty finds the 50s version of the mad scientist, who looks exactly as
old as he did/does in the 80s, and enlists his help to get Back to the
In the process, Marty has to play matchmaker to the
teenage version of his parents so they'll get together as fate
intended, or he'll snuff out of existence. Along the way, he has to
face high school, a gang of bullies and puberty. These are concerns
every teenager can to relate to, no matter what the decade. He also has
to fend off the sexual advances of the totally hot teen version of his
mother, which is every bit as disturbing as it sounds.
nearly worked himself to death on this movie, rushing between sets of
the movie and the sitcom Family Ties, which was every bit as awful as
its title. His efforts paid off, though. Producer Steven Spielberg was
at the height of his game, and the movie was a runaway hit, spawning
two sequels which were not as good as the first, but great anyway.
was a relief to see that the movie still held up, despite being nearly
a quarter of a century old. Actually, it holds up far better than just
about every teen movie released in the last five years. Do yourself a
favour and grab a copy. There's swearing, violence, skateboarding, time
travel and allusions to incest. What more could you possibly want?
Memorable quotes (source: IMDB.com)
McFly: Last night, Darth Vader came down from planet Vulcan and told me
that if I didn't take Lorraine out that he'd melt my brain.
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 is doubting Marty McFly's story that he is from the future]
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?
[chuckles in disbelief]
Dr. Emmett Brown: Then who's VICE-President? Jerry Lewis?
Biff Tannen: Since you're new here, I-I'm gonna cut you a break... today. So, why don't you make like a tree and get outta here?
Marty McFly: What about all that talk about screwing up future events, the space-time continuum?
Dr. Emmett Brown: Well, I figured, what the hell.
A movie that's about escaping the '80's? What's not to love? Here's why this is a classic.