Back to the Future

Released:  1985

Cast:  Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, Thomas F. Wilson

Oscar Wins:  Best Sound Editing (Charles L. Campbell, Robert R. Rutledge)

Oscar Nominations:  Best Original Screenplay (Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale), Best Original Song (“The Power of Love” – Chris Hayes, Johnny Colla, Huey Lewis), Best Sound Mixing (Bill Varney, B. Tennyson Sebastian II, Robert Thirlwell, William B. Kaplan)

SUMMARY:  Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) is a high school student who lives in California with his father (Crispin Glover), a nice but weak-willed man who is constantly bullied by his supervisor Biff Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson), and his mother (Lea Thompson), an out-of-shape drinker who seems to live in the past.  One night, Marty meets his friend “Doc” Brown (Christopher Lloyd) in a mall parking lot, where Doc unveils his latest invention:  a time machine built out of a DeLorean.  To make the time machine work, Doc has stolen plutonium from a group of Libyan terrorists.  Doc plans to use the time machine to return to 1955, but before he can leave, the Libyan terrorists show up and kill Doc.  Marty uses the DeLorean to get away, but accidentally activates the time machine, sending himself backwards thirty years.

In 1955, Marty meets his father George, who is already being bullied by Biff.  Much to Marty’s dismay, his own mother, Lorraine, becomes besotted with him; Marty realizes that unless he can direct Lorraine’s attention to George, he (Marty) will cease to exist.  Marty is able to find Doc, who explains that with no plutonium, the only thing powerful enough to make the time machine work is a bolt of lightning.  Luckily, Marty knows that a historic lightning strike is due to happen soon.  Marty also tries to warn Doc about his death in 1985, but Doc refuses to listen.  A school dance is being held on the same night that the lightning is due:  Lorraine has asked Marty to go with her, but he plans to set her up with George.  Biff intervenes and messes up the plan, forcing George to knock him out, after which an impressed Lorraine leaves Marty and goes off with George.

Since Doc refused to listen to his warnings about being shot, Marty has written Doc a letter, but Doc tears it up.  Despite last-minute difficulties, Marty and Doc are able to activate the time machine, and Marty arrives back in 1985 ten minutes before he left it.  Although he tries, he is unable to prevent Doc from being shot.  Much to his surprise, he finds out that Doc is wearing a bulletproof vest due to the warning letter from 1955.  Doc then uses the time machine to go to 2015.  The next morning, Marty finds out that his family has completely changed.  His father is confident and successful, while Biff works under him, and his mother is fit and sober.  As Marty gets ready to leave for school, Doc shows up in the time machine and informs Marty that he needs his help in the future.  Marty gets in the car, and the time machine disappears.

MY TAKE:  This movie is a classic for good reason:  there’s action, it’s hilarious, and it’s got great music.  The subplot of Lorraine’s interest in Marty makes for some awkward-but-funny moments, and Marty’s knowledge of the future constantly leaves people around him with strange looks on their faces (gotta love the “Johnny B. Goode” scene).  Plus, Marty helps his father get revenge on Biff, who’s a major jerk.  This movie also spawned two sequels, in which Marty and Doc travel to 2015 and then to 1885.  I don’t really know what else to say, other than this movie is awesome.

RATING:  If you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out.

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