Wednesday, October 21, 2015

5 Reasons Back to the Future is Totally Tubular

Today is the day, people! The day we've been waiting for since 1989 (or whatever year you first watched the Back to the Future Trilogy): October 21, 2015. Today, Marty McFly traveled to the future in the DeLorean. Today is Back to the Future Day.

While we know that the movie makers of Back to the Future Part II were a little off in their exaggerations of the future, it's still super radical to see the day arrive. What's even more wizard is how may of their predictions may or may not have occurred. Take for instance, Jaws 19. This isn't an actual movie, but Universal Studios did create a fake movie trailer all about the nineteen Jaws movies "released" over the past 30 years. It's definitely worth watching--and laughing--over.

In addition, Pepsi released a limited edition bottle of the Pepsi drink, Pepsi Perfect, Marty McFly orders in 2015. They even created a commercial for it, which was released at Comic Con. Now that's pretty crunk. Nike toyed with the idea of releasing self-lacing shoes. While they didn't actually release, a proto-type pair was auctioned off for Michael J. Fox's Foundation for Parkinson Research. Again, this idea is bangin'. (source)

But even more so than fun things people made come true are the things that happened anyways with our advances in technology. We've got big-screen TVs and video conference calls, as seen at Marty's home in 2015. Video glasses like Google Glasses or Samsung VR exist. Even the Cubs seem to be doing... dangerously well to win the World Championship. So we might not have flying cars or hoverboards, but the lore of Back to the Future is still prevalent in our world today. (source)

This is why we--Jaime and Anna--have decided to bring you five reasons why Back to the Future is still totally tubular. Let's time-travel!

1. "You built a time-machine.. out of a DeLorean?"

Jaime: First off, Back to the Future wins all the awards for best time machine (Sorry, Doctor Who). Doc Brown created a time-machine out of the coolest looking car ever. I still want a DeLorean. Not only is it mega bulk, but the shape of it just looks like it fits in a sci-fi movie. Then there's the awesome flux capacitor--who thinks of these things? It's diesel. I want one.

Of course, no time-travel adventure would be complete with paradoxes like the bootstrap paradox or temporal paradox, or even the creation of alternate timelines. Great Scott!The entire trilogy plays off the paradoxical moments. It's a time-travel nerd's heaven.

Anna: Can we just give props to this guy for the fact that the idea of time travel came to him after head trauma sustained by falling from a toilet whilst hanging a clock? 

2. "Hey, McFly!"

One thing Back to the Future does well is memorable characters. Every character is well-recognized by name (McFly!) and who they are, what they wear, and what part they play in the trilogy. Doc Brown is the wild-eyed scientist with the hair. Marty is the hero who gets swept away into the craziness. There's Biff, who just looks like the meathead jerk (even if he's sporting a big ole mustache in 1885). George, Lorraine, Jennifer, everybody is perfectly shaped to tell this time-traveling tale. I still associate life jackets with Marty. If I hear the word "Doc," I think of Christopher Lloyd first.

The best part is how everybody plays other parts too. They play their future and past selves. They play ancestors from the Old West and versions of their characters in alternate timelines. Everything with the characters is connected in a clutch way.

Marty and Jennifer=OTP, okay? But really. How perfect is it that Doc created an alternate timeline by saving Clara and they got to have nerdy science babies and live on a flying time travel train?? Also the whole idea in the first film of Marty seeing his parents as real people due to experiencing them at his age? And in 2015 facing the reality of becoming his parents, or worse?? His kids potentially turning out badly?

3. "Hold it, Fellas. I’m afraid you’re just too darn loud." 

The music of Back to the Future is absolutely righteous. Whenever I hear the theme music, my inner time-traveler perks up in a way only a few other sounds can (mainly, the Doctor Who theme song). The score is so flash with the right amount of excitement, sense of adventure, and sci-fi undertones. How could you not be thrilled to time-travel in a DeLorean with that music guiding you the whole way?

The score holy moly. Also the songs used and composed for the film.

Huey Lewis and The News wrote a few songs for the movies: "Back in Time" was used in Part II, and "Power of Love" was featured in BTTF when Marty’s band played it for the homecoming tryouts. Fun fact: Huey Lewis himself was the man who told Marty’s band that they were “just too darn loud.” These songs have a bit of 80’s synth but still sound like they could easily have come out today. They’ve been covered many times over.

When Marty is in 1955, one of the guys in the band calls his cousin “Chuck” to introduce him to the hot new sound he’s been looking for. It’s revealed, to those who would know it, that Cousin Chuck is actually Chuck Berry, the man who made "Johnny B. Goode" famous. Another interesting tidbit from the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance courtesy of my dad, Marty is playing a guitar that wouldn’t exist for a few more years, apparently the pickups are wrong.

ZZ Top makes a cameo in Part III (at the town dance) as well as writing a song for it. They even brought their belt buckles that let them spin their instruments! 

4. "Where we're going, we don't need any roads."

Basically, the entire concept of Back to the Future is a brilliant risk. Just think of the movies, the concept, how they all connect together. While the first and second film weren't released back-to-back, the ending of Part I suggests more movies, which did happen. But can you imagine staking out on a possible trilogy with the concept of a kid time-traveling thirty years to the past. To us today it sounds epic, but probably not the best idea in the 80s. (It was actually rejected forty times before being green lit.)

Plus, the continuity of the trilogy is tight. We've got the clock tower in every era. We've got big bully Tannen, a McFly not wanting to be considered a chicken (or a yellow-belly), skateboards and hoverboards, and some kind of strange family connection. It's truly raw how it all comes together, moving from one movie to the next in a sick stream of time.

What a chance to take! Seriously, if someone had told me this was an idea for a successful pop culture franchise I would have been skeptical. Of course, I would have watched it regardless. 

5. "This is heavy."

The cultural impact Back to the Future has made is quite astounding. Remember when I said this trilogy was a brilliant risk? Well, it paid off. Not only did it garner three films, but there has been video games, comic books, and even an animated TV show based off the trilogy. There's talk of a stage musical coming out in the near future. And don't forget the theme park ride at Universal Studios (though, I will never forgive them for taking it out of the American parks).

But those are just spin-off ideas from the trilogy. The impact is much greater. It's one of the first vehicles of time-travel we think of; it gave us predictions of 2015 that people have been squabbling about for the last thirty years (Where are my flying cars already?). References, quoted lines, even McFly is prevalent in much of pop culture today. (It's a British band and a song by Relient K). Do we even care what Michael J. Fox or Christopher Lloyd did otherwise in their Hollywood careers beyond Marty McFly and Doc Brown? (The answer is probably no.)

Imitation is the greatest form of flattery: to this day it is still one of the most widely recognized and parodied cultural touchstones. It’s about 1.21 gigawatts worth.

Great Scott!! I feel like Doc Brown himself would be shocked at the astounding cultural impact this series has had. It’s an enduring icon! It is constantly referenced and parodied in pop culture. Bands like I fight dragons! have released cover songs, Rick from Rick and Morty is basically a walking parody of Doc Brown, Lost has references to the films: heck, most TV shows have a reference to it

Even this last year, Christopher Lloyd has cameoed in a film as Doc. Robert Zemekis seems to leave a fingerprint of BTTF on nearly all of his films whether it’s a spinning license plate falling off a vehicle or having an actor quote the film in passing. There are even Bernie Sanders campaign shirts featuring his face pasted over Doc! 

These are only five of many reasons we think Back to the Future is worth the watch thirty years later. It's, as Anna said, an pop culture icon. There isn't time to list every reason Back to the Future is still tubular today. Especially when Marty McFly just landed! Time to go change history. (Or maybe, I'll just go re-watch the trilogy.) See you in the future!

What do you love about Back to the Future?


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