Five Things I Hated in “Back to the Future”
I think it’s well established that I love this movie. So why do this article? A few reasons. One, it’s a challenge. It’s easy to nitpick things you don’t like. Two, I am so tired of this thing we see today where you can’t hate something someone else likes. Hate the Avengers? You’re a fool! Think The Dark Knight Rises had flaws? You suck! Think The Man of Steel was less than perfect? How dare you! I once saw a comment on the NC Top 11 Dumbest Lord of the Rings Moments which said she hated the NC because he dared to say anything bad about her beloved film trilogy. First of all, he said it was awesome and second no film or TV series is without flaws. That doesn’t mean you can’t love it! So I want to show you can love something and still nitpick it. And finally I am doing this to give myself a chance to discuss this movie which is honestly the point of these “Things I Hated in….” articles which I hope to do more of in 2014 since I only did one last year.
Back to the Future came out in 1985 starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd and was a monster hit. I love it and have watched it way more times than I will admit. But is it perefect? Here are five things in the movie which always kind of bugged me. And for this article I am only disucssing the first movie (especially since I already covered the third film in depth) and will avoid getting into stuff brought up a million times like George and Lorraine not recognizing Marty 30 years later or the temporal paradox stuff because we could be here all day with that!
#5.Why on Earth would George work for Biff in 1985?
This is serious nitpicking but here we go. I can understand George being bullied by Biff in high school. It’s high school, you can’t really avoid people like that. But why in the world does George still work for Biff in 1985? It is said very clearly that Biff is George’s superviser. I know, it’s to set up the scene at the coffee shop and the gag at the end when it’s reversed. We see Biff working for George which is a cute moment. And what line of work are these two in that they would both enter the same field? It is never said I don’t think. And if Biff never did his homework in school how did he do well enough in school to earn this better job? And can’t George find a different job? We know he never became a writer but what does he do that he needs to write reports for Biff to hand in? I guess you could argue George was a massive wimp and would rather take Biff’s abuse then risk rejection at another job. But that is all guessing. This is obviously all setting up the later payoff even though it makes no sense.
#4.What the hell is Strickland’s problem??
Principal Strickland is played by character actor James Tolkan who has done a million roles. And he is good here, but what is up with his character? Why does Strickland have such a hatred for the McFly’s? We see him in 1985 berating Marty and basically calling him a loser for being foolish enough to enter the band contest. Uh yeah, that should get you fired! Then in 1955 we see him reprimanding George rather than the bullies who were being flat out hostile to him. Yeah Strickland, George put that “kick me” sign on his own back. Sure he did. Does Strickland have some hatred for the McFly family which is never explained? It feels like they are setting up some big commupenace moment for the character which never happens, making him end up a big jerk (who does do better in the two sequels)
#3.The unnececsarry bully before George and Lorraine Kiss
I never got this one. We get our big character moment when George finally stands up to Biff. Biff is punched out, and George takes Lorraine to the dance. That should be it, right? Nah we need to drag it out more so at the dance we see George nervous to kiss Lorraine. Ok, that’s fine. But then a bully shows up and cuts George out. And while Marty begins to fade, George starts to walk away as Lorraine cleary not having fun calls out to him. The suspense builds until George turns around and knocks the bully onto the floor. But…why did we need this second bully? George has already had his redemption, the character arc was done! There is a deleted scene that established the jerk earlier in the film but it still makes no sense to me. Why not just make it a romantic scene, with the two slowly building to the kiss? The bully adds nothing! But the two do kiss and all is well. Then we get the awesome Johnny B Good number!
#2.The “car wont start when it needs to” cliche
Let’s be honest, this was a real bad cliche in this movie. I am talking about the Deloreon cutting out at the worst moments. It happens three times. Once when Marty arrives in 1955. Of course this was a plot convenience to force Marty to hide the Delorean and walk into town. The second time was during the awesome climax at the court house. With all the stuff going with the action and the music, did we really need the Delorean shutting down at that moment? And the more I think about it, shouldn’t Doc or Marty have expected that to happen? It’s established the car dies because it’s out of plutonium. It still doesn’t have plutonium in that final scene, in fact it’s been towed everywhere up to that point, so how was it suddenly able to work when Marty drove it to the starting point? And why does Marty’s slamming his head into the stearing wheel make it come to life? It dies again when he arrives back in 1985 which actually sort of makes sense since it would be out of power again. This of course prevents him from warning Doc. I don’t mind cliche’s but this one is used a bit to much. Even the Libyans fall victim to it! Back to the Future III finally establishes the engine is gas powered, but if so then why did it die when Marty first arrived in 1955? Argh!!
#1.That Badly Thought Out Final Scene
The scene in the original Superman where he reverses time is awesome, until you think about it. I feel the same for the final moments in Back to the Future. Just speaking as a fanboy, that final scene is just fantastic! Doc appears and grabs Marty and Jennifer. Then our heroes go off into the sunset in the now flying Deloreon, on to more adventures! But when you really think about…it makes no sense! First, why does Doc just blow into Hill Valley in the middle of a Saturday morning? IN THE DAYTIME! There is a reason he did the mall test at 1:00 in the morning! And in Part 2 we see that Biff saw the damn thing! Good job. Two, why does Doc act like he is in a panic? It’s a time machine! He could take two weeks to get back and it wouldn’t make any difference. Third, when Doc sees Jennifer is there why doesn’t he try to get her away so he can talk to Marty privately rather than expose her to the time machine, which by the way she has no clue about? Again, it’s a time machine! Marty and Doc could sneak off and come back seconds later from her point of view, Jennifer not being the wiser. Fourth, what’s worst, why would he tell Marty to bring her along? This is the same person who covered the Deloeon up when Lorraine popped up earlier, right? This is why in Part 2 the scene is retconned. Doc explains he took Jennifer because he couldn’t just leave her there after she saw the time machine (which doesn’t really make sense but ok). Fifth, how in the hell did Marty end up with that truck he was eyeing in the opening??? I never got that. Of course the answer to all of these is the creators just wanted a cool happy ending and didn’t think about this stuff. A sequel was never considered plus 1985 was a simpler time,Â you could have a scene that makes no sense without message boards going nuts. But thankfully Back to the Future is so awesome it doesn’t matter.
All this has been in fun of course. I adore this movie, from the humor to the action to the F*** yeah! amazingly awesome music which I can’t get enough of. The characters/actors are fantastic, the time travel logical enough to follow, and it is paced just perfectly. This movie will be celebrating thirty years next year, and I am sure it will live on forever!