First Time Watching: Back to the Future

It is no secret that I am not much of a movie-watcher. Movies don’t entice me the way television shows, or sports, do. Also, where am I supposed to watch movies? I’m talking about the “classics” that everyone raves about.

Watch this, watch that, watch the other! Okay, but how? Where?

A lot of the movies I have seen, I saw at school. Movies like: Remember The Titans, V for Vendetta, Rear Window, Rudy, and a whole slew of horror films in a Grade 12 Horror Fiction class.

I grew up on Toy StoryHome Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire, and a bunch of sports movies. Oh, and whatever movies the Family channel was pumping out in the early 2000s.

I did watch movies at the theatre, sometimes, but I wouldn’t say I was there more than two or three times a year.

It’s been over ten years and I’m still mad they got rid of the Pizza Hut from the concessions. Do you know how perfect a personal pan pizza is in a movie theatre? It’s like water in a fish tank. It was meant to be. And they got rid of it.

I will always be mad about it.

In the back of my mind, I’ve always wondered what I’ve been missing out on when it comes to popular movies. So, in an effort to squash my stubbornness and expand my knowledge in the world of theatre (pronounced in a pretentious manner), I figured I’d watch well-known movies for the first time and turn it into a blog series.

Because let’s be honest, I wasn’t going to put in the effort to watch these movies and not make some sort of show out of it.

Movie Zero in this “First Time Watching” series is Back to the Future because I am constantly hearing about how great it is, mainly from Aaron.

The other night, I watched it. I am not going to recap the movie; I am just going to share my thoughts on it, while referencing various plot points. If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know what I’m talking about. If not, stay for the humour.

Back to the Future is from 1985 and I love the way movies were filmed back then. Even movies from the 90s – there’s just a certain simplicity to them. Whether it’s the camerawork, scene sequence, dialogue, or images of a simpler time, filling the screen, I love it.

So, when this movie started out with the camera panning across a bunch of clocks, and a television set with a news report, on top of other things, I was hooked. I was in. It gave me a very, Honey I Shrunk The Kids vibe.

And then Marty McFly walks through the door and the camera doesn’t immediately pan up to show his face. They build the anticipation like, “Who is this person? Do these legs have a torso?”

I like when movies take their time and ease into things. Set the scene – don’t ambush me with characters right away.

It stunned me a bit when I found out that Marty was in high school, but I guess that just goes to show that even in 1985, Hollywood was casting twenty-somethings to play high school students.

Easiest way to avoid dealing with child labour laws.

There is a lot of signage in this movie, especially around town, which immediately told me that this was probably a movie I would have to watch many times, in order to catch all the little Easter eggs.

I appreciate that from a movie. It’s like a recurring revenue business model, but for films. Put a bunch of small details in every scene and people will be forced to go back and watch, over and over, to catch everything. It’s brilliant.

Marty’s dad reminded me of Mikey Day from Saturday Night Live. That nerdy and/or dorky outfit with big glasses and a nasally voice is definitely something I’ve seen him do on SNL.

Oh, and how 1985 of them to have a character named, Biff. Is Biff short for anything? Bifocals? The name sounds like the noise you make when the wind blows your hat off your head. I think that is cool.

2020 needs more Biffs. There’s an eyeglasses joke in here somewhere.

When I saw Doc Emmett Brown, I thought, “Hey! That’s Al from Angels in the Outfield!”

Angels in the Outfield is one of my favourite movies. I have it on VHS. The character, Al, was The Boss Angel. He showed up and wore an umpire’s hat that said, AL, on it. AL stood for American League, but he said, “You can call me, Al.”

If you don’t know baseball, that last paragraph sailed right over your head. It’s such a great movie moment and it makes me wish MLB umpires still wore hats that said AL on them.

Anyway, that’s how I knew who Doc was.

Doc and Marty are playing with their time machine Delorean in the mall parking lot and then, all of a sudden, THE LIBYANS roll up and start shooting at them.

WHAT?

This felt like a very bad wrestling stereotype from the 90s, or a Mad Lib gone wrong.

Libyans? Did someone misspell, “Librarians”, in the script? I was confused.

I found it funny that when Marty went back in time to 1955, the only thing they did to make Doc look thirty years younger was comb his hair and not rub it with a balloon.

Now, they obviously weren’t going to cast someone else to play the younger version of Doc, since he was a main character. And it’s not like it’s easy to make someone look thirty years younger, but I found it comical that they barely tried.

It was very, “I’m wearing a sports jersey for Halloween and calling myself a fan” of them. That level of effort gets a thumbs up from me, every time.

One thing that bothered me about Marty travelling back to 1955 was all the coincidences built into it. He was only there one week, but in that week, the clocktower was struck by lightning and his parents met for the first time.

What a week in history. What are the odds he’d return to that exact week?

Marty walked into a cafe and the high school version of his dad was sitting right next to him – come on.

Earlier in the movie, his mom said she and her husband met when her grandfather hit him with his car. Now we go back thirty years to that exact moment. Only this time, Mrs. McFly has the hots (can’t believe I typed this) for her future son, Marty, but doesn’t know it, because he is a high school student just like her.

It felt like an under the table incestuous storyline and the whole thing had a soggy cereal vibe to it.

There were multiple times where I found myself saying, “How convenient”. It felt unrealistic. The plot felt contrived. This bothered me for at least twenty minutes.

Then I realized this was a “me issue” and not a “them issue”.

The whole premise of travelling back in time was unrealistic, yet I didn’t question it. The whole part where Marty and his siblings were being erased from a photograph – limb by limb – did not bother me.

And yet I was hung up on the whole, “Marty goes back in time and just so happens to witness some really important events, all within a few days of each other?”

I was wrong to be hung up on that. As someone who watches wrestling, I have to suspend my level of disbelief a lot, in order for things to make sense. And that is exactly what movies demand of us, especially ones of the science-fiction genre.

So, I was wrong. And I realized I was wrong because I found myself having fun.

These convenient coincidences that Marty was facing – big deal. They were great. I was entertained by his efforts to get his mom to notice his dorky dad.

Sometimes, you just have to watch the movie and not ask questions.

Some other random things:

I liked the pacing of the movie – it was a very quick one hour and fifty-six minutes. I also liked how the movie seemed to be divided into sections. It made it easy to remember the sequence of events, as well as gauge how far into the story we were.

When Marty entered the cafe and asked to use the phone, they told him it was in the back. Cut to him holding the phone and flipping through a phonebook. All of that was great. I loved every second of it. Hook up phonebook scenes to my veins.

“Phonebook scenes in movies” might be the most random thing I like. They are the best.

The school dance scene where Marty is on stage and the people on the dance floor are like, “Yeah…I kinda like this…let me rock my head up and down…and start dancing like everyone else in the room.” I laughed. That scene is in every movie that has a school dance.

When Marty returns to 1985, he witnesses himself take off back to 1955 in the Delorean. Does this mean that this moment is constantly being played over and over? Are there two Marty McFlys now?

Does that make him a McDouble?

In the beginning, we see Doc shot to death by The Libyans (Librarians?). When Marty returns to the future, having warned Doc about such a possibility while in 1955, we see Doc reveal he was wearing a bullet-proof vest.

Because I am me, I went back and looked at his clothing in the scene where he got shot and he is definitely not wearing a vest underneath his shirt.

Is that just a continuity error as it pertains to wardrobe, or was Doc not wearing a vest because he hadn’t been warned yet?

Was the scene Marty saw play out in the parking lot, when he returned from the past, a different variation of events BECAUSE Marty had gone back in time?

I think I know the answer, but I also think I’ve confused myself.

All in all, I liked the movie. Am I prepared to say it is one of the greatest of all-time? No. I would have to see it a few more times. However, I can see why it is so highly regarded.

I could also see it as a movie that raised a generation. If I were a kid in 1985, and I saw this movie, I would probably say it was one of my favourites.

Heck, that’s exactly what I’ve done with Home Alone and Mrs. Doubtfire. Those movies we grow up with always hold a special place in the nostalgia quadrant of our heart.

Don’t try looking for the nostalgia quadrant of your heart on a diagram.

This was fun! I already have a good idea what movie I’m going to watch next. So, stay tuned for that, whenever I get around to it!

If you would like to recommend a relatively well-known movie for me to watch, let me know in the comments below! Make sure it’s on Netflix, though.

Have you seen Back to the Future? What are your thoughts on it? What do you think of my new blog series, “First Time Watching”?

About Paul

I think of my blog as an all-you-can-read buffet. There's something for everyone and complimentary mints at the door as you leave.
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29 Responses to First Time Watching: Back to the Future

  1. James says:

    You picked a great one to start off with. The time travel only gets more confusing as you watch the sequels (but they are great too and Michael J Fox essentially never ages so even if he does look too old to be a kid in the first movie, he really doesn’t look any older in the sequels that were made a few years later). It sort of all makes sense within the internal logic of the movies but you can end up in some quite heated debates on this stuff.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. One of my favorite movies for sure! I always forget how obsessed you are with pizza 😋 you would still be bitter over the concessions removing Pizza Hut❤️ it’s okay. You can always stop at a Pizza Hut in the way and put it in your bag 😂. Thanks for another good piece! Also realized how freaking early you post! Do you sleep boy?!?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      Haha I definitely talk/think/drool over pizza wayyy more than I eat it, but how dare they close it? Then again, I was always their only customer whenever I went hmm.

      Do you have any movies for me to watch? I think in the past you were shocked I’ve never seen The Goonies.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am super excited for this series! I love Angels in the outfield! Ooo man such a good movie! And I’m glad you liked this movie. It really is a classic and I think you’ve convinced me to watch it again! Sometime very soon!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m also movie deprived! Home Alone and Remember The Titans are some of my favorite movies 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. darthtimon says:

    My first taste of Back to the Future was during a time when my brother and I were young enough to need a babysitter. She stuck the VHS on (I am betraying my age) and we’d watch it, and then move on to Part 2 and Part 3. I can say I enjoyed them, without them being standout classics.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Catherine says:

    I love that you picked this one as your “first”. I am really looking forward to hear more of your thoughts about well-known movies. I like films. A lot. A lot lot. But there are some I have never seen, and I am fighting anyone who insists that I have to see Titanic or Harry Potter..

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      Thank you, I hope I can make the rest of this series enjoyable! I’ve never seen Titanic either, but will probably get around to it just for this blog. Harry Potter is good – the first one is worth watching.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. peckapalooza says:

    Okay… I’m starting this comment as a placeholder before getting into your thoughts on the movie. I am excited to read this…

    I’m back. And I’m glad you liked the movie. Also, I’m okay with the fact that you don’t hold it in as high esteem as I do. Not everyone does. You’re wrong, but, you know… everyone’s entitled to an opinion.

    Thinking about Marty’s return to 1985, Doc definitely wasn’t wearing the vest the first time around. But did you also notice the change to the sign at the mall? Before Marty went back in time, it was Twin Pines Mall. After Marty killed one of Old Man Peabody’s pine trees and returned to 1985, it was Lone Pine Mall.

    I could go on and on… but I won’t. And I’ll let others suggest movies for this series because, again, I could go on and on. I’m looking forward to whatever you watch next!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      I did not notice the mall sign, until after I finished the movie. I looked up some articles on the movie and found it there. So that’s why I’m hesitant to hold it at the same standard you do because I’d have to watch it many more times just to catch everything and appreciate all the small nuances. But yes, it’s a very good movie and you should continue to rave about it!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hey hey hey!

    Looks like I’ll have to rewatch the movie after reading this lol!

    I was very very small when I saw it for the first time and it was a fun ride. Forget about understanding the plot 😂

    My recommendation: Fat Albert.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Paul, so glad that you watched this for the first time. Btw, movie theaters here in the US still have Pizza Hut concession stands in them, sorry. I’m also glad you like Rear Window, one of my all time favorite classic films.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      So lucky you still have a Pizza Hut! Yeah, we watched Rear Window at school in Grade 7. Loved it. Now, when I look out an upstairs window and see stuff going on, I think of that movie lol

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Loved every single second of this post and was anxious the whole time in case you ended up hating it ha!

    Liked by 1 person

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