My Dad has always wanted a son. He grew up with eight older brothers so boys were all he knew. When I was born, I think he was at a loss because he didn’t know what to do with a baby girl. Barbies, dress up — these were all new concepts to him. So my parents tried again and again… and again for that elusive boy child. By 2000, they had had four daughters and had come to the realization that it just wasn’t in the cards for them to have a little Eddie Jr.
Dad made the most of it by sharing his interests with us. While my younger sister became his softball prodigy, I inherited his love of movies. He taught me how to find film inconsistencies, how to recognize and name popular actors, and how to pay attention to the story in order to anticipate the ending. After school and on weekends, we watched movies that were popular in his time: Angel and a Bad Man, Wargames, Aliens, and Back to the Future.
Back to the Future quickly became my favorite. In it, Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), a high school senior, travels back in time and unknowingly jeopardizes his future when he prevents his parents from meeting. The only way for him to get back to the present is with the help of mad scientist Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd). I loved everything about the Robert Zemeckis sci-fi/comedy: the dynamic between the actors, the recurring gags, and the modified Delorean, which I envisioned owning one day. One year I even dressed up as Marty for a school project. I was extremely disappointed when nobody recognized who I was.
The movie was so successful that Universal Pictures decided to make two sequels: Back to the Future Part II and Back to the Future Part III. Dad and I still argue over which is the best movie in the BTTF trilogy. He prefers the original and as for me, well, they are listed below from most beloved to least favorite.
Back to the Future, Part III
Marty ends up in 1885 as he attempts to save Doc Brown from being shot in the back “over a matter of eight dollars.” The movie has many cultural references to Clint Eastwood and the 1964 A Fistful of Dollars western. Part III is my favorite as it reminds me of the old spaghetti westerns on TCM.
Back to the Future
Marty’s first venture into the past results in him screwing up his timeline and almost disappearing. The original and Part III are really tied for first place. One of the great things about this movie is Doc Brown’s reaction to Ronald Reagan being president: “Ronald Reagan?!? The actor?!? Then who’s vice-president?!? Jerry Lewis?!?” Plus, 1950s Marty wore Chucks and totally inspired me to do the same.
Back to the Future, Part II
Marty and Doc travel to the year 2015 to help prevent Jennifer and his son from making a grievous mistake. It’s basically a remake of the original but with hoverboards. It’s funny to watch because I can’t believe that’s what Zemeckis and Bob Gale envisioned people dressing like in the future. P.S., I’m still waiting for my power-lacing Nike MAGs.
The Back to the Future trilogy was just added to Netflix streaming. Go watch it before it becomes history!