Thursday, October 8, 2015

Recap: "Back to the Future" Part 3: Present Perfect

You now, here's a thought. If they remade Back to the Future this very year, Marty McFly would see his parents meet in 1985.

Kind of makes a remake pointless.

Like most remakes.
It's the night of the big dance as well as the thunderstorm. Marty's all dressed up in his suit while Doc sets up his equipment for the storm. Doc is excited to be able to talk to Marty about all this thirty years in the future, but Marty... well, he's the only one who knows about Doc's death.

Marty: "Doc, about the future...."
Doc Brown: "No!"

Doc insists that whatever Marty has to say, he'll find out eventually. But since that's exactly the problem, Marty writes a note in the diner about the whole "Libyans shooting him dead" thing and sticks it in Doc's coat pocket while Doc shows a police officer his permit for his "experiment." Said "permit" being a bribe of fifty bucks.

Over at the dance, George is dancing exactly how you'd expect a white social outcast to dance in the 50's while Marty and Lorraine arrive outside.

Marty: "Do you mind if we... park... for a while?"
Lorraine: "That's a great idea, I'd love to park."
Marty: "Huh?"

Well. It seems as though the young lady who removed Marty's pants apropos of nothing when they first met, who continually gives him the come hither stare, and who makes almost no attempt to hide the fact that Marty makes her nethers wetter than the Great Lakes... wants to fool around with Marty.

Seems to me like there was a very obvious flaw in Marty's plan to take her farther than she was willing to go.

Lorraine: "Marty, I'm almost 18 years old. It's not like I've never parked before."

Also, Lorraine lies to her kids. Furthermore, she whips out some booze and cigarettes to Marty's incredulity and protestations.

Lorraine: "Marty, you're beginning to sound just like my mother."

Inside, the band is taking a little break while George realizes that he's late for his white knight appointment. Back in the car, Lorraine takes off her coat to reveal her dress and asks why Marty's so nervous. He explains that he finds himself in a situation where he's not exactly sure if he can go through with what he needs to do. Lorraine's solution is to begin macking on him. It's not enjoyable for either of them.

Lorraine: "I don't know what it is, but when I kiss you, it's like I'm kissing my brother."

"I don't see the problem."
According to the filmmakers, this part was really the only way to give closure to Lorraine's crush on Marty. Marty was against this kind of thing the whole time. In order to give closure to the issue, Lorraine had to give up on Marty for George.

And it works on a narrative level as a call back to when 1985-Lorraine said she kissed George for the first time and knew that he was the one. Here, she kisses Marty and the opposite is true.

But Marty ends up being yanked out of the car. Not by George, but by a rather drunk Biff. He wants revenge over the manure incident. And when he sees Lorraine in the car... well, he's the bad guy and the phrase "no means no" hadn't been invented yet.

Marty should have gone back in time and invented "no means no." Could have solved a lot of problems.
Marty gets taken around the back of the school and stuffed in the band's trunk, which one of the band members notices.

3-D: "Hey, beat it, spook, this don't concern you."

Whoa, there's a freakin' racial slur in Back to the Future?

Band Member: "Who you callin' 'spook," peckerwood?"

Three of them. Three racial slurs in Back to the Future.

Of course, it's that very special grey area of Period Piece-Induced Racial Slurs. You know, the ones that aren't there because the writer was racist, but because people were racist in the past.

Anyway, the band scares the gang off as George heads off to perform on cue.

George: "Hey, you. Get your damn hands off...."

Except it's not Marty, it's Biff. And it's not staged. It's real.

In the moment of truth, George McFly tells Biff to leave her alone. And when Biff steps out of the car, the first thing he does is start hurting George. Speaking of hurting, the band gets Marty out of the trunk by slicing the lock with a blade. And also slicing the guitarist's hand.

In the struggle between Biff and George, Lorraine tries to save George, but gets knocked down by Biff.

And that's it.

George decks Biff right in the jaw, knocking him out. Fighting for the woman he cares about. Lorraine takes his hand and the two head inside for their first date. And yet, Marty's photo is still showing his siblings disappearing. Clearly, his job's not done. But the storm is coming soon.

Marty discovers that the band can't play because they don't have a guitarist. So in order to ensure his own future, he decides to play the guitar himself while George and Lorraine dance to their rendition of "Earth Angel."  That is, until some jerk cuts in, resulting in Lorraine calling out for George as Marty disappears from existence in the film's dodgiest effect shot.

"Oh, man, what was in that booze Lorraine gave me?"
Luckily, George cuts back in to rescue his girl from another man's unwanted advances. Then and there, they kiss, restoring Marty and the picture.

"Good, this is nothing like kissing my brother."
"Um... how do you know what that's like, Lorraine?"
"Look, you can't open the book of my life and jump in the middle."
With the day saved, Marty has a bit of time before he needs to get back to the future, so he leads the band in a rousing rendition of "Johnny B. Goode," which he describes as "an oldie."

Marty: "Well, it's an oldie where I come from."

The lead singer, Marvin Barry, calls up his brother, Chuck Barry, and has him listen to a song that he hasn't written yet. Congrats, Marty McFly, you caused a time paradox within a minute of stopping one.

But it seems as though the universe doesn't care about this particular paradox, and the world continues as normal until Marty's 1980's-style guitar solo and stage antics happen. Apparently, kicking the speakers like The Who, lying down like Angus Young, hopping like Chuck Berry, and shredding some hot licks are too much, earning him a room full of confused looks.

Imagine what would have happened if he'd added a little Elvis Pelvis like in the script.
Marty: "I guess you guys aren't ready for that yet. But your kids are gonna love it."

After the dance, Marty meets up with Lorraine who politely calls his music "interesting" and tells him that she'd like George to take her home. He chucks her on the jaw and says his farewells to the two lovebirds. And also gives them a bit of advice regarding the future.

Marty: "If you guys ever have kids and one of them, when he's eight years old, accidentally sets fire to the living room rug... go easy on him."

"You know, Marty, I've always wanted a couple kids."
"Three. Don't give up until you have three kids."
"What?"
"I literally cannot stress that enough."
And with that, he runs off to the clock tower, leaving them behind to think about the future.

Lorraine: "Marty... such a nice name."

Which is why you're going to wait until your third child to use it.

Marty, after changing, arrives at the clock tower and gets ready to take off to the future, even though Doc is momentarily concerned about George acting uncharacteristically by punching Biff. Doc programs the machine to take Marty back to the exact time he left and runs over the plan again. He's set up a timer to go off when Marty needs to hit the gas, so it look like everything's set!

Except that Doc finds the note Marty left for him. And he's not happy about it. He refuses to potentially damage the space-time continuum, so he rips it up. Before Marty can straight-up tell Doc the truth, the wind knocks the cable loose from the clocktower, meaning that Doc has to head up and reconnect it with a little help from Marty down below. A keen eye will note that Doc shoves the torn-up letter in his pocket as he runs to fix the problem....

Marty tries to yell about the future as Doc works, but the wind is too strong and the clock's chiming is too loud. With the clock chiming 11, Marty has to get back inside the time machine as Doc works to reconnect the cable. After setting up the hook on the back of the car, Marty realizes the obvious. He's in a time machine. He can go back about ten minutes early and stop the Libyans! He resets the destination and prepares for the journey.

Marty: "Time circuits on. Flux Capacitor... fluxing. Engine running. Right."

Until the engine refuses to start, that is. Because the alternators on DeLoreans were infamously terrible.

Meanwhile, Doc accidentally knock a section of the ledge he's on out, resorting to hanging from the clock hands themselves to try and reconnect the cables.

When the alarm goes off, Marty manages to get the car to start by hitting it with his head and zooms off down the street.

Doc still can't replug the cable because a branch fell on the it, weighing it down. And when he tugs too hard, the cable comes out the other end. With little time left, Doc plugs in his end, and slides down the cable to plug in the other end. At precisely 10:04 on the tick, lightning strikes the clock tower, travels through the cable, and strikes the DeLorean's lightning rod at 88 mph.

With a spring in his step and a smile on his face, Doc dances through the streets.

He's gonna need a bit more bribe money for all that damage.
Elsewhen, Marty arrives in the future, where everything is as he left it, including the bum on the park bench With Michael J. Fox's ad-lib calling him "Red," people have assumed that this is Red Thomas, the former Mayor of Hill Valley. But alas, Red Thomas was an old fogey in1955. But who said there can't be a Red Thomas, Jr.?

With the car refusing to drive (again, crappy alternator), Marty spends ten minutes running to the Lone Pine Mall, indicating that things have changed.

So, wait, who's the mall named after now? Who's the Lone Pine?
Who, indeed...
He watches Doc get shot all over again while another Marty McFly escapes in the DeLorean. He rushes over to Doc... and finds that Doc's perfectly okay. He was wearing a bulletproof vest the whole time, thanks to a little note Marty wrote for him that he taped up after ripping it up.

Marty: "And all that talk about screwing up future events... the space-time continuum...."
Doc Brown: "Well, I figured... what the hell."

Right, let's just keep that "what the hell" in mind for the next film.
And since the Libyans just crashed into a kiosk at about 88 mph, they're taken care of. So with everything wrapped up, Doc gives Marty a ride home and tells him that he plans on going about thirty years into the future. Yes, dear readers, if you're reading this soon after I post it, he's coming to this very month.

But Marty's had enough time travel and is simply content to go inside and have the best night's sleep he's had in a while. When he wakes up....


His brother's wearing a business suit, not a burger joint uniform. His sister has multiple suitors. His parents are happy. And Lorraine approves of Marty's relationship with Jennifer. Truly, things have changed. In fact, Lorraine knows about her son's date with Jennifer tonight because in this reality, she and her son have a healthier relationship.

Marty's confused as to how he can borrow the car, though. After all, Biff wrecked the car. But when he goes outside, it's not wrecked. In fact, Biff's waxing it.

George: "Uh, now, Biff, I wanna make sure that we get two coats of wax this time, not just one."
Biff: "Just finishing up the second coat now."
George: "Now, Biff... Don't con me."
Biff: "I'm- I'm sorry, Mr. McFly, I meant I was just starting on the second coat."

So, uh... Lorraine seems surprisingly okay with George keeping around the guy who drunkenly tried to rape her. Or at least drunkenly grope her. We don't know exactly what he was trying to do. But either way, it was completely non-consensual and quite ungentlemanly.

George: "That Biff, what a character. Always trying to get away with something. Been on top of Biff ever since high school. Although, if it wasn't for him...."
Lorraine: "We never would have fallen in love."

Well, to be fair to Biff.... Actually, no. Biff's a piece of crap.

Still, one could probably assume that this milquetoast Biff at the very least was made by George to apologize profusely for his drunken misconduct. So while I'm not saying that Biff should get a free pass for what he tried to do, it's not out of the realm of possibility that Lorraine and George could have forgiven him enough to keep him around as their toady.

I mean, they don't exactly treat Biff like an equal, so it's not like they've forgiven him 100%, but thirty years was apparently enough for them to let him wax their car.

"I beg your mercy, Mr. McFly. Please don't use the car battery on me again."
"We'll see."
Anyway, Biff brings in a package containing George's first novel, A Match Made in Space.

"Biff, I'm gonna need you to back up about fifty or sixty feet."
"But then I'd be in the middle of the road."
"Exactly."
Ostensibly, it's a novelization of the events leading up to George and Lorraine hooking up.

I hope George McFly changed the name of the Spaceman from planet Vulcan, or George Lucas gonna sue somebody.
"Don't worry, George. It happened in 1955, you'll be able to sue him!"
George: "Like I've always told you, if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything."

And so, George is living his lifelong dream of being a published sci-fi author. And just think, in only thirty years' time, George McFly can be one of those crusty old sexist fossils who want to tell women to keep their gross ovaries out of the science fiction genre.

Biff hands Marty his keys, which puzzles Marty. He doesn't have a car. And that's true. He has a kick-awesome truck. And Jennifer arrives to get a ride. And she'd probably like Marty to drive her around in the truck, too.

Just as Marty's about to kiss her, the DeLorean returns with Doc Brown wearing the fashions of 2015.

I think I wore that outfit the other day, actually.
He rummages through the trash to find potential fuel to power up the DeLorean's Mr. Fusion power generator while explaining what the problem in the future is.

Doc Brown: "It's your kids, Marty! Something has gotta be done about your kids!"

I know, right? I could rant about those dang 2015 teenagers all day with their Tweetbooks, and their Facespaces, and their Let's Play-De-Pies.

As Doc, Jennifer, and Marty all get in the DeLorean, Marty notices something.

Marty: "We don't have enough road to get up to 88."
Do Brown: "Roads? Where we're going, we don't need... roads."

Can a guy get a gif of that?

A-thank ya.
And as the DeLorean takes to the skies, crackles with time energy, and zooms at the camera, the movie ends.

So. Thirty years later, does this film hold up?

Yes.

Is it a masterpiece?

Yes.

Am I going to review it in more detail?

Yes. Now let's review.

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