I’ve written a number of times regarding my deep and abiding love for all things Back to the Future. I’ve sat through the trilogy countless times. When I visited Los Angeles back in 2008, my friend Jen took me on a whirlwind adventure that included many of the locations used in the films. I wish I could articulate for you just why I love this movie so. But I’m not sure that I can.
And it’s not just me. Back to the Future has made it onto a lot of top 10 lists, both official and unofficial. It never won a best picture Oscar (though they did walk away with the award for sound editing). And though it was nominated for several Golden Globes, none of those were won. So what makes Back to the Future such an enduring classic? What is it about this film that would cause so many people, from presidents to average joes, to quote its lines endlessly?
It’s a pretty complicated story that has roots in a pretty simple concept. According to Bob Gale, who co-wrote the movie with director Robert Zemeckis, some of the idea hit him when he was going through his dad’s old yearbooks. He asked himself if he would have been friends with his dad in high school. Somehow, this idea evolved into my favorite movie of all time.
Michael J. Fox plays Marty McFly, a kid who seems to be barely getting by. He has an unexplained friendship with Dr. Emmett Brown, a wild eyed scientist who has spent his life coming up with failed ideas and inventions. But in 1985, Doc Brown finally invents something that works. He turns a DeLorean into a time machine, which accidentally transports Marty 30 years into the past. And while time travel sounds like it’s all fun and games, it gets pretty crazy for Marty, especially when he bumps into his parents, interrupts their first meeting, and begins a chain of events that can only end in Marty and his siblings being erased from existence.
And if you don’t know what happens and how Marty is able to save the space/time continuum, then shame on you. That means you haven’t seen the movie and you’ve possibly been living under a rock for the past 30 years. Back to the Future is available on DVD and Bluray. Go get it and watch it. It’s got action. It’s got humor. It’s got complicated science fiction plot threads that almost sound plausible. It’s got Huey Lewis and the News. What’s not to love?