The Movie Review Guy Best Movies for 2013
Dec 31, 2013
The Top 80 movies from the 1980's in 80 Days ( DAY 77):
4. “Back to the Future” (1985)
In 1985, Doc Brown invents time travel; in 1955, Marty McFly accidentally prevents his parents from meeting, putting his own existence at stake.
Michael J. Fox—Marty McFly
Christopher Lloyd—Dr. Emmett Brown
Lea Thompson—Lorraine Baines
Crispin Glover—George McFly
Thomas F. Wilson—Biff Tannen
Claudia Wells—Jennifer Parker
Wendie Jo Sperber—Linda McFly
George DiCenzo—Sam Baines
Frances Lee McCain—Stella Baines
James Tolkan—Mr. Strickland
Jeffrey Jay Cohen—Skinhead
Harry Waters Jr.—Marvin Berry
Facts about the this movie:
*Budget: $19,000,000 (estimated)
*Opening Weekend $11,332,134 (1550 Screens)
*Gross: $350,600,000 (Worldwide) (1986)
*Christopher Lloyd based his performance as Doc Brown on a combination of physicist Albert Einstein and conductor Leopold Stokowski. Brown's pronunciation of gigawatts as "jigowatts", is based on the way a physicist whom Zemeckis and Gale met with for research said the word.
*Michael J. Fox had always been the first choice for Marty, but he was unavailable due to scheduling conflicts with his work on Family Ties. As "Family Ties" co-star Meredith Baxter was pregnant at the time, Fox was carrying a lot more of the show than usual. The show's producer Gary David Goldberg simply couldn't afford to let Fox go. Zemeckis and Gale then cast Eric Stoltz as Marty based on his performance in Mask. After four weeks of filming Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale felt that Stoltz wasn't right for the part and Stoltz agreed. By this stage, Baxter was back fully on the show and Goldberg agreed to let Fox go off to make the film. Fox worked out a schedule to fulfill his commitment to both projects. Every day during production, he drove straight to the movie set after taping of the show was finished every day and averaged about five hours of sleep. The bulk of the production was filmed from 6pm to 6am, with the daylight scenes filmed on weekends. Reshooting Stoltz's scenes added $3 million dollars to the budget.
*Michael J. Fox was allowed by the producer of Family Ties to film this movie on the condition that he kept his full schedule on the TV show - meaning no write-outs or missing episodes - and filmed most of the movie at night. He was not allowed to go on Back to the Future promotional tours.
*A persistent myth is that Michael J. Fox had to learn to skateboard for the film. In fact, he was a reasonably skilled skateboarder, having ridden throughout high school. However, Per Welinder acted as a skateboarding double for the complex scenes, Per Welinder also choreographed and coordinated the skateboarding action together with Robert Schmelzer.
*Was the top grossing release of 1985.
*The picture of Mayor Red Thomas on the election car in 1955 is set decorator Hal Gausman.
*Michael J. Fox is only ten days younger than Lea Thompson who plays his mother, and is almost three years older than his on-screen dad, Crispin Glover. This is not very surprising, since most of their scenes take place in 1955. They were cast to match their younger self's ages.
*The time machine has been through several variations. In the first draft of the screenplay the time machine was a laser device that was housed in a room. At the end of the first draft the device was attached to a refrigerator and taken to an atomic bomb test. Robert Zemeckis said in an interview that the idea was scrapped because he and Steven Spielberg did not want children to start climbing into refrigerators and getting trapped inside. (See also Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.) The Nevada desert bomb test was left out in order to reduce the budget. In the third draft of the film the time machine was a DeLorean, but in order to send Marty back to the future the vehicle had to drive the DeLorean into an atomic bomb test.
*The DeLorean was deliberately selected for its general appearance and gull wing doors, in order to make it plausible that people in 1955 would presume it to be an alien spacecraft.
*The script never called for Marty to repeatedly bang his head on the gull-wing door of the DeLorean; this was improvised during filming as the door mechanism became faulty.
*A marketer hoped to get a prominent placement for California Raisins somewhere in the film. He suggested putting a bowl of raisins on a table at the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance. He had also told the California Raisins board that this would do for raisins what E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial did for Reese's Pieces. Bob Gale informed him that a bowl of raisins would photograph like a bowl of dirt. The only thing that appears in the film is Marty jumping over Red, sleeping on a bench that is advertising California Raisins. Unhappy with their product placement, the California Raisins representatives complained to the producers, and had their $5000 refunded.
*Another deleted scene shows Marty peeking in on a class in 1955 and seeing his mother cheating on a test.
*When Doc Brown first sends Einstein "one minute" into the future, the time elapsed between when the DeLorean disappears and reappears is actually 1 minute 21 seconds, just as the reappearance occurred at 1:21am, and the flux capacitor required 1.21 gigawatts of electricity.
*The space alien gag first appeared in the screenplay's third draft, with the primary difference being that it was to be done to Biff.
*When Robert Zemeckis was trying to sell the idea of this film, one of the companies he approached was Disney, who turned it down because they thought that the story of a mother falling in love with her son (albeit by a twist of time travel) was too risqué for a film under their banner. In fact, Disney was the only company to think the first was risqué. All other companies said that the film was not risqué enough, compared to other teen comedies at the time (e.g. Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Revenge of the Nerds, etc).
*A very brief scene was cut in-between the scenes of the McFly family dinner and Marty being woken up by Doc's phone call. It involved Marty preparing to send his demo tape to a record company. Marty decides not to do it, and leaves the empty manila envelope on his desk. In a scene that remains in the film, he goes to breakfast with the manila envelope sealed, suggesting he decided to send it in.
*Canadian pop singer Corey Hart was asked to screen test for the part of Marty.
*C. Thomas Howell was considered to play the role of Marty McFly.
*Billy Zane makes his first on-screen appearance in this film as "Match", one of Biff's cronies.
*When this movie was previewed for a test audience, Industrial Light and Magic had not completed the final DeLorean-in-flight shot, and the last several minutes of the movie were previewed in black and white. It didn't matter, as the audience roared in approval of the final scene anyway.
*Universal Pictures head Sid Sheinberg did not like the title "Back to the Future", insisting that nobody would see a movie with "future" in the title. In a memo to Robert Zemeckis, he said that the title should be changed to "Spaceman From Pluto", tying in with the Marty-as-alien jokes in the film, and also suggested further changes like replacing the "I'm Darth Vader from planet Vulcan" line with "I am a spaceman from Pluto!" Sheinberg was persuaded to change his mind by a response memo from Steven Spielberg, which thanked him for sending a wonderful "joke memo", and that everyone got a kick out of it. Sheinberg, too proud to admit he was serious, gave in to letting the film retain its title.
*The two red labels on the flux capacitor say "Disconnect Capacitor Drive Before Opening" (at the top) and "Shield Eyes From Light".
*When Marty pretends to be Darth Vader from the planet Vulcan, he plays a tape labeled "Van Halen" to scare George out of his sleep. It is an untitled Edward Van Halen original written for a movie called The Wild Life which featured Lea Thompson.
*The inspiration for the film largely stems from Bob Gale discovering his father's high school yearbook and wondering whether he would have been friends with his father as a teenager. Gale also said that if he had the chance to go back in time he would really go back and see if they would have been friends.
*There are only about 32 special effects shots in the entire film.
*Though the film Marty won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1955, Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale say in the DVD QandA session that they were not aware of this fact when they named their main character Marty. Both films also have a diner owner named Lou.
*Sid Sheinberg, the head of Universal Pictures, requested many changes to be made throughout the movie. Most of these he got, such as having "Professor Brown" changed to "Doc Brown" and his chimp Shemp changed to a dog named Einstein. Marty's mother's name had previously been Meg and then Eileen, but Sheinberg insisted that she be named Lorraine after his wife Lorraine Gary.
*When the McFly family is sitting down for dinner before Marty travels back in time (early in the movie), Michael J. Fox is seen drinking a can of Pepsi. Fox was a major endorser of Pepsi in 1985, and some viewers criticized this scene as being a thinly-disguised commercial.
*When Marty is being judged at the band auditions at the beginning, the judge who stands up to say he is "just too darn loud" is Huey Lewis, whose songs, "The Power of Love" and "Back in Time" are featured on the movie's soundtrack, and also wrote Marty's audition song (which is a re-orchestrated version of "The Power of Love.")
*Marty McFly mimics famous rock stars during the later part of his performance at the school dance, when he starts playing heavy metal. His kicking of speakers (The Who), playing the guitar while lying down (Angus Young of AC/DC), hopping across the stage with one leg kicked up (Chuck Berry) and his solo (Jimi Hendrix/Edward Van Halen).
*Another of the numerous notes sent to Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale from Universal studio head Sid Sheinberg were to change Doc Brown's original sidekick from a chimpanzee to a dog (Sheinberg argued that no film with a monkey in it ever made money, disregarding the recent Clint Eastwood hits Every Which Way But Loose and Any Which Way You Can).
*Ralph Macchio turned down the role of Marty McFly, thinking the movie was about "A kid, a car, and plutonium pills."
*Doc Brown refers to "jigawatts" of electricity. This is the now-obscure but once-standard pronunciation of the word "gigawatt", one billion watts. Nowadays it is usually pronounced with a hard "g" as in "gander" and "gold".
*While filming the "parking" scene with Marty and young Lorraine in the car, the production crew decided to play a practical joke at Michael J. Fox's expense. The scene called for Fox to drink from a prop liquor bottle filled with water and do a spit take when he sees Lorraine with a cigarette. For a specific take however, the prop liquor bottle was switched for one which contained real alcohol inside. Fox, unaware of this, performed the scene and drank from the bottle, only to discover the switch after-the-fact. The full gag is featured on the "Outtakes" section of the DVD.
*Leonard Nimoy was considered for the job as director before Robert Zemeckis took the job. Nimoy was unable to direct Back to the Future, because he was starting work on the story for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, another time travel movie.
*In the original script, Doc Brown and Marty sell bootleg videos in order to fund the time machine.
*In early drafts of the script, Marty's girlfriend's name is Suzy Parker.
*Biff's line "make like a tree and get outta here" was improvised by Thomas F. Wilson
*Claudia Wells, who played Jennifer Parker in Back to the Future, gave her role up to Elisabeth Shue for Back to the Future Part II and Back to the Future Part III when her mother was diagnosed with cancer.
*According to Bob Gale, in one of the early drafts of the script, Marty's original last name was McDermott, but it was thought to have too many syllables. It was Robert Zemeckis who then came up with naming him McFly
*During Doc's demo of the time machine, just before he is about to leave for the future, he tells Marty "I'll get to see who wins the next twenty-five World Series." At the time the scene was written and shot, no one was thinking there would be a sequel, let alone one where the hook Back to the Future Part II would be Marty wanting to get a hold of a "sports almanac" so he could bet on games.
*After the dog travels into the future, Doc compares his watch to Einstein's watch to show the difference. Physicist Albert Einstein described a stationary clock versus a moving one in order to illustrate Relativity (the latter clock moving more slowly).
*J.J. Cohen originally considered for the role of Biff after Eric Stoltz was cast as Marty. He was replaced by Thomas F. Wilson because Cohen was considered not physically imposing enough next to the six-foot-tall Stoltz. Cohen was cast as one of Biff's gang. According to Bob Gale, had Michael J. Fox been cast from the beginning, Cohen would have probably won the part because he was much taller than the five-foot-four Fox.
*Christopher Cundey's scenes as Lorraine's classmate were deleted from the final print.
Why I Picked this movie #4:
1. It is timeless.
2. Brilliant chemistry with the whole cast.
3. Brilliant ending.
4. Brilliant beginning.
5. It is one of top 10 funniest movie made in the 1980’s.
6. Brilliant script
7. Brilliant story
8. Brilliant special effects.
9. The chemistry between Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd was brilliant.
10. Michael J. Fox was brilliant in the film
11. Christopher Lloyd was brilliant in the film
12. The best Si-fy/comedy movies ever made, for surreally the for the 1980’s.
13. Non-stop laughing from beginning to conclude.
14. This is the best one of trilogy
15. Brilliant villain.
16. Lea Thompson from 1950’s.
17. Has some of the most memorable quotes / dialog in film history.
18. Claudia Wells
19. Has some of the most memorable scenes in film history.
20. Brilliant casting.
21. I can watch this movie over, over and over it never get old
First time seeing it: