13 May 2009

My "Back to the Future" Theory


Well, it's not really a theory, it's more an observation. Something I always think about when I see one particular scene in one of my absolute favorite movies.

Back to the Future and The Ghostbusters are, hands down, the two greatest comedies from the 1980s. Both have that awesome melding of science fiction and comedy and adventure, built around two main characters (Venkman and McFly) that are unimpeachably awesome and played by two of the coolest guys in the world- Bill Murray and Michael J Fox. They're both backed by killer 1a characters (Brown and Ray Stantz), and were directed by two totally underrated directors, Ivan Reitman and Robert Zemeckis. I'm not telling you anything you don't know, I just want you to know that I know it and that's why I love this movie.

First, a diversion- Marty McFly smoked weed. That is a fucking fact. "That's heavy, Doc." When he blows the amplifier in the opening scene? "Heh. Rock and roll." He's always fucking sleepy, he wears those denim jackets stoner kids wore in the 80s. Skateboarded. He's in a stoner rock band called The Pinheads (Huey Lewis: "...too darn loud!") SON OF CRISPIN GLOVER?! I can also buy that this pothead had a smoking hot girlfriend because Marty McFly is clearly the man in every way that some kid in high school could ever, in history, possibly be the man. Also, I think "You're a real slacker!" is family movie euphemism for "stoner." (Did I go too far on that last one?) Watch the movie with that in mind, you'll agree. In fact, the entire chain of films is kind of hilarious if viewed as the goofy, stoned hero fantasy of Marty McFly.

OK, to my main point. In the film's big climax, Marty McFly has to hit his mark in the DeLorean at 88 MPH at the precise instant the lightning strikes the watchtower. OK. (I can already sense this is going to be underwhelming.) This is achieved by Dr. Emmett Brown, 30 years in the past, acting on information from the future to save this high school kid from being stuck in time. He does this by setting up an elaborate "weather experiment" constructed around the town's pride, the watchtower.

In fact, the movie also has a scene where a cop bugs Brown about the setup, including the DeLorean, asking for a "permit," which Brown provides, describing the experiment. That places a cop at the scene to attest to his being there, and conducting an experiment on the weather with the watchtower.

OK, so let's fast forward 24 hours. Doc Brown is beat. Deep down, he knew the chances of McFly hitting his spot at the right speed was nearly infinitesimal. It was miraculous- almost like it was meant to happen that way. And now, he's gone.

Meanwhile, the watchtower is destroyed. There may not be any free money anywhere for repairs, probably not for a long time. If I were running that town I think I'd probably head right over to Doc Brown's and ask him to give me one reason not to arrest him for fucking up our damned town landmark. How could you not blame him? He set up a giant fucking lightning rod on top of the thing, created this big huge explosion, and then suddenly we don't have a town watchtower anymore.

Right?

But that's just in the universe of the first one. In the sequel, it's shown, through archival newsprint, that Doc Brown was "committed" sometime after those events. You can probably assume, then, that this is what instigates that process. It's sort of implied in the second one that Biff had it done, but Biff wouldn't have had to. You could really say that being in an institution was being lenient. He could easily be in jail.

I worked this into something I wrote a long time ago as a parody of something else, but putting it down somewhere as it's own idea is important, I think. For humanity.

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2 Comments:

but, in both realities he lost the family fortune...so, maybe he did get sued for fuck'n up the ol' clock tower....?

By Blogger dave, at 5/13/2009 5:13 PM  

excellent point. that sounds most likely.

By Blogger BS Memorial, at 5/13/2009 5:22 PM  

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