Synopsis: Two friends, a scientist and a teen, experience time travel. The teen travels from 1985 back to 1955 where he meets his parents as high schoolers. But how to get back to the future?
Back to the Future, a comedic jumble of sci-fi and nostalgia, became one of the biggest hits of the 1980’s. It stars Michael J. Fox (part of the hit TV sitcom “Family Ties”) as Marty McFly, a high schooler in “Hill Valley.” He spends his time skateboarding around town, plotting ways for alone time with his girlfriend and jamming on his guitar. Marty is– inexplicably– friends with an old scientist, Doc Brown, who has spent decades, and his family fortune, trying to build a time machine. Maybe the filmmakers could’ve shown an opening sequence where Marty is seen doing Doc’s yardwork as a partial explanation for their association. But the roots of their friendship will remain a mystery for the ages. So, yeah, they have nothing in common. Marty could care less about science and that’s all Doc thinks about.
“Wait a minute Doc… are you trying to tell me that you built a time machine out of a DeLorean?”
Late one night at the local mall’s parking lot, Marty serves as the documentarian while Doc attempts time travel with a specially rigged car. Doc bugs his eyes and jabbers about time travel while Marty’s voice gets shrill with statements of incomprehension. Near disaster intervenes and Marty ends up in the time travel car and back in 1955 Hill Valley. Marty is agog at his predicament and meanders along the bustling downtown area– a sharp contrast to the 1985 rundown town center.
Marty is quickly regarded with suspicion for his 80’s clothes (understandable). Who knows what these 50’s conformists might have in mind for Marty, so he scrambles to reach Doc’s house. But not before running into his parents as teens. His dad is a cowardly sci–fi enthusiast and his mom is a lusty young thing.
“Wait a minute Doc…are you trying to tell me my mom has the hots for me?”
While Marty tries to convince Doc that he is from the future and needs his help to get back to his own time, he’ll have his own projects during–what he hopes– is his limited time in the past. First, he has to evade his mom who develops a crush on him. Second, get his dad to agree to a makeover so he’ll be attractive to his mom. Lastly, avoid murder by one Biff Tannen. Biff goes to the same high school as Marty’s parents. He is a big hulking bully and total a-hole. He knocks Marty’s dad around and makes him do his homework. Wherever he encounters Marty’s mom, he gropes her and threatens her with further sexual assualt. This happens at school, in town etc… And once he takes a dislike to Marty he tries to murder him with his bare hands and, on another occasion, by running him down with his car. For some reason this menace to society is given free reign in the town and the police never get involved. Ah, the good old 1950’s where boys will be boys with no consequences.
Everything comes to a boil on one fateful night when Marty needs to get his parents together at the high school’s Enchantment Under the Sea dance or he won’t exist in the future. Meanwhile, Doc needs to harness enough power from a lightning storm to refuel the time machine. Mom will have to dodge his teen mom’s kisses and Biff’s fists. And, what do you know, the one cop in Hill Valley finally shows up to question Doc about the “science project” he’s trying to rig downtown.
Watching the 1985 movie about Marty’s 1955 culture shock in 2019 is meta. We can chuckle about a more naïve time (1985), like Marty sees in 1955. Where we see 1955’s social restrictions, we can see it in 1985 too. But neither Marty nor the filmmakers can. Mind. Blown.
Movie Loon’s Movie Review Shortcut:
Cut to the Chase: Fun adventure into nostalgia with pitch perfect comedic performances from Michael J. Fox as Marty and Christopher Lloyd as Doctor Emmett Brown.
Humor Highlight: Doc Brown’s flustering.