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Episode 127- Back to the Future Trilogy (w/ Evan Dickson)

Episode 127 - Back to the Future Trilogy (w/ Evan Dickson)  

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  1. 1. Should at least one of the Back To The Future movies make it into The Canon?

  2. 2. If yes, which movies should make it in?



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Thus far I'm one of only three people who does not think that even the first "Back to the Future" should be in the canon. To me it's a bland, lifeless movie that reminds one of special holiday sitcom versions of things like "It's a wonderful life." Fox, the hero, gives a flat performance. The whole beginning of the movie is nothing but tedious setups for, I think, very unimaginative payoffs. The only performances I liked were Lea Thompson's teenie bopper, though she's so undeveloped that after her first zonked out moments nothing more happens to her; and Christopher Lloyd's eye popping scientist. Everything else in the movie is flat and mechanical. I saw this when it first came out and even as a kid I thought it was a little bit much that, in the end, Fox got everything he mentioned wanting, including that SUV he was salavating over. It becomes a little gross. It's weird to me too that no one's ever noticed some of the incredibly lazy writing. In the scene where Crispin Glover is spying on Thompson and Fox inadvertantly keeps his parents from meeting, he's hit by a car, I believe, and knocked out. Yet no one thinks to take him to the hospital. They instead let him lay around for hours unconscious in Thompson's bedroom so she can fall for him and screw up the future. Couldn't the writers have come up with any better way to complicate the situation than this piece of flimsy baloney? Biff is such a banal meanie that I actually wound up feeling sorry for him as a kind of victim of the narrative, assigned the role of mega asshole with no attempt to understand him as person at all.

 

And another thing. It's funny how Amy and the guest host discussed the film's sexism, but didn't even notice the worst stuff in the thing, which has been bugging me since the eighties. The movie seems to suggest that once Crispin Glover's character grows a pair, steps up and punches Biff out for trying to rape Thompson this gives him enough confidence that he not only becomes a successful business man and a published writer, but his newfound virility also seems to cure his wife of her frigidity and bitter alcoholism! I don't usually give a crap about whether or not a movie is politically correct, but it does seem to me that this is a particularly pernicious message; worse it's artisically cornball, straight out of the fifties movies I think this picture maybe likes too much.

 

As with so many of the trashy, high concept, studio movies of the eighties I grew up with, like "Ghostbusters" and "Gremlins" and "Big Trouble in Little China" and "Mannequin," I just don't understand how anyone could think such a shallow, obvious film could be a classic for the ages. Meaning, I disagree with Amy and think this really is just a nostalgia pick for those who were elementary school age or so when they discovered it. A classic film would never pre-program every audience reaction the way this one does, with script characters who are nothing more than rhetorical devices. Or if it did, they, the characters, would be so robustly caricatured that they would take on a strange unique cartoony life of their own as with, say, the suburban figures in Tim Burton's "Edward Scissorhands." That movie was also a little sentimental but had a few genuinely magical surprises in it. I of course realize that I ain't gonna win this one, but I have say "No" here, because I couldn't even sit through the whole thing the last time I tried to watch it. What's next? "Just one of the guys"? "Real Genius"?

 

And when did this film become so influential? I'd all but forgot about it until five or so years ago when millenials started claiming it wa so great.

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BTTF one still holds up, minus the racist Libyan subplot and the rape stuff, as a movie with heart & charm.

BTTF 2 was utterly ridiculous and 3 jumped the shark and was just a shell of a film. So my vote is for BTTF only.

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I've seen the first movie so many times that I just rewatched part 2 and part 3 back to back. I seem to only ever remember the first 20m of part 2. The rest always seems to slip from my mind. I like the idea of revisiting the events from the first film, but I think it could have been done better.

 

I love the third movie because I like western's, and I think it was a fun way to conclude the trilogy. I think it relies on too many references back to the first, and the overall story isn't as well written as the first two.

 

My vote is for 1 Only.

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And another thing. It's funny how Amy and the guest host discussed the film's sexism, but didn't even notice the worst stuff in the thing, which has been bugging me since the eighties. The movie seems to suggest that once Crispin Glover's character grows a pair, steps up and punches Biff out for trying to rape Thompson this gives him enough confidence that he not only becomes a successful business man and a published writer, but his newfound virility also seems to cure his wife of her frigidity and bitter alcoholism! I don't usually give a crap about whether or not a movie is politically correct, but it does seem to me that this is a particularly pernicious message; worse it's artisically cornball, straight out of the fifties movies I think this picture maybe likes too much.

 

I would argue that the movie is actually arguing that Lorraine is happier in the "new" future with more confident George because their relationship is better -- as in, rather than starting because she felt "sorry" for him, it started based on mutual respect and admiration. Sure, there is a lot of "yadda yadda" for what happened in the intervening time (just like everything else in the movie), but I don't think the movie argues that it's solely based on George's virility.

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I would argue that the movie is actually arguing that Lorraine is happier in the "new" future with more confident George because their relationship is better -- as in, rather than starting because she felt "sorry" for him, it started based on mutual respect and admiration. Sure, there is a lot of "yadda yadda" for what happened in the intervening time (just like everything else in the movie), but I don't think the movie argues that it's solely based on George's virility.

 

 

Agreed. I don't think it's a virility thing. I think him standing up for her laid the groundwork for an overall healthier relationship.

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I couldn't get the system to accept my "no" vote, but I'm in a tiny minority--and Amy has probably recorded the new episode by now, anyway--so nbd.

 

Soft "no" on the first BTTF (which would be just sweet and clever enough to squeak in on its own terms) because the filmmakers have forever imprisoned it inside the BTTF "trilogy." ("Endurance test" would be a more apt description.)

 

Anyway, I really just came here to quickly celebrate the nightmarish horror that is BTTF Part 2, the most bizarrely fascinating misfire in all of cinematic history.

 

This movie has always been classified as a comedy, which is mystifying to me. Whatever BTTF Part 2 is, it is not a comedy. I can't remember if it was Amy and Devin who pointed out that Forrest Gump was secretly a misanthropic masterpiece, or if I heard that somewhere else, but in any event, the Gale/Zemeckis team showed their hand early with BTTF Part 2.

 

Every character in this movie is either selfish, sociopathic, criminally clueless, completley bonkers, or some combination thereof. Marty and Doc Brown in particular show a lack of empathy bordering on psychopathy. If further proof is needed, consider the fact that, for no good reason whatsoever, they drug Marty's girlfriend and dump her in an alley.

 

A goddamn ALLEY. In the middle of town, in an environment that is completely alien to her. Without a shred of remorse or any good reason.

 

This wouldn't be so bad if this particular future were presented as some kind of peaceful utopia, but with Griff and his criminal cronies running around wielding baseball bats, this is clearly not the case. (And just who or what is Griff, anyway? Some kind of clone? Somebody please explain to me who his parents are.)

 

Speaking of clones... why are so many people in Hill Valley exact replicas of their male ancestors? Is it something in the water? Is it possible that Doc Brown's miscellaneous tinkering with atomic energy has had an unexpected effect on the town's gene pool? (It's too bad we never get to see Doc's grownup sons interacting with their dad, which would surely been have been a tour de force by Christopher Lloyd.)

 

Speaking of Doc... I can't stress enough what a menace this dangerously unhinged lunatic is. From his association with Libyan terrorists to the continual and pointless risks he poses against the very fabric of existence--not to mention his habit of spying on people from the shadows--this guy has exhibited nothing but creepy, reckless and irresponsible behavior.

 

Doc keeps insisting that the time machine must be destroyed, and yet he keeps coming back to it, like a compulsive gambler. (And the stakes are the spacetime continuum.) Also, if you actually apply the series' own rules to the narrative, the Doc who exists post-Part 2 (and continues to live in Hill Valley up until 1985) should remember sending Marty #1 back to the future, and then finding out from Marty #2 that his (Doc's) own "future" self will die in the old west. (I know that's a confusing sentence, but blame the filmmakers.) Why would he bother going through the whole debacle? His smartest move at that point, after sending Marty #2 back to the old west, would be to hang up the whole time travel business (thus negating the entire series).

 

Most importantly this movie MAKES NO FUCKING SENSE. I'm not the first person to point out that Marty, Doc and Jennifer would've arrived at a future wherein they should've been considered missing persons since 1985. I'd give that a pass if it were merely an oversight in an otherwise coherent and delightful adventure. This movie, however, sets up an intricate time-hopping plot with a very strict set of rules--rules which Doc Brown helpfully "Brownsplains" to the audience on a chalkboard--and then proceeds to constantly trash those rules with a criminal disregard for logic or consistency.

 

Also, why are most of the cars grounded, other than in the opening scene, if flying cars are a thing? Old Man Biff says he hasn't seen a flying car in 30 years, only to see a flying police car and two flying taxis within the next two minutes. Are flying cars commonplace in this future, or not??

 

Speaking of Old Man Biff... fans sometimes ask why he would bother bringing the Delorean back to where he got it from. That's not the problem. The problem is that he could not have done so even if he wanted to. If, as per Doc's explanation, Doc and Marty can't drive the Delorean into their original, non-dystopian future, why could Biff?

 

Also, where are the Doc and Marty native to the dystopian timeline? If Biff (armed with his almanac) started the new timeline on his 21st birthday, Marty would have been born, mourned his father's death, watched his mother marry Biff, and then... what? Where the hell did the dystopian-timeline Marty go while regular Marty was visiting this era? And why don't Doc and Marty show any concern about bumping into their dystopian alter egos, as they do in other eras?

 

I could go on and on, but some of the other issues I have are covered in the episode, plus it's a fool's game to talk people out of their own nostalgia. I'll conclude by saying that we do need a Crispin Glover film in the Canon, so I'm on board with the inclusion of Part 1.

 

Also, the scene in Part 2 where a drone walks a dog is awesome, and I'm wondering why I haven't seen that happen in real life yet.

 

Anyway, great ep as always.

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I hear you. And I agree. I was speaking only to the relief I would feel w/r/t Donald Trump not having his finger on the button. If given a wide-ranging list of choices for a replacement, 43 would still likely be near the very bottom.

 

Sorry to just now get back to this. I was on vacation. As my crankiness indicated, it was much needed. Sorry I misinterpreted you. I get that feeling, and I reckon with it a lot in terms of my desires for the future.

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