It’s 2 AM and you awake with a jerk, alone in your fully-lit apartment and still on the couch. On TV, the credits of some movie you’ve already seen a billion times are scrolling by. It feels like rock bottom. And we know, because we’re just like you: single.
Need a movie to keep you company until you literally can’t keep your eyes open? Join us tonight when we pass out to Back to the Future [starting @ 11:40 p.m. on Encore]
Why we’ll try to stay up and watch it: While it isn’t a great show by any means, Life of Mars, ABC’s goofy time-traveling police procedural, has us oddly smitten. Perhaps that’s because it reminds us of Back to the Future. When Detective Sam Tyler wows his colleagues by calling someone a “tool” or quoting Vanilla Ice, we immediately hearken back to Marty McFly ordering a Tab and saying everything is “heavy.”
We can say with almost complete certainty that we’ve seen Back to the Future more times than any other movie in history. When we were kids we would ride our bikes up and down the block taunting the imaginary Libyan terrorists behind us with chants of “let’s see if these bastards can do 90!” Yeah. We’re fans. But unlike The Goonies or, even to an extent, Star Wars, Back to the Future holds up even now that we’re adults. It’s every bit as wondrous, exciting, funny and smart, but with an added layer of melancholy that was never present before.
The script, co-written by director Robert Zemekis and Bob Gale, is just awesome–an airtight and endlessly quotable menagerie of genres. But it’s the casting that lifts Back to the Future to another level entirely. A washed up Christopher Lloyd? New faces like Lea Thompson and Crispin Glover? The dude playing Biff?! On paper it sounds inconceivable that this cast could congeal, and yet they are all perfect together. Particular mention must go to star Michal J. Fox. Long before Dustin Pedroia showed the world that short guys were capable of doing amazing things, he was the original trailblazer. A gifted comic actor with excess amounts of endearing likeability, he will forever be Marty McFly. Apologies to Eric Stoltz, who was originally cast in the film, but without Michael J. Fox, Back to the Future would have never succeeded.
When we’ll probably fall asleep: Back to the Future seems like one of the fastest movies ever produced. The pacing is breakneck–despite being about traveling back in time, everything feels like constant forward progress. So we’ll stick around for nearly two-thirds of its running time, fighting off sleep. Most likely, we’ll pass out at about 1:20 in the morning, an hour and forty minutes in. It’s a blues riff in B, watch for the changes and try to keep up…