“Here’s a red letter date in the history of science, November 5th 1955…That was the day I invented time travel. I remember it vividly. I was standing on the edge of my toilet hanging a clock, the porcelain was wet, I slipped, hit my head on the edge of the sink, and when I came to I had a revelation, a vision, a picture in my head, a picture of this! This is what makes time travel possible – the Flux Capacitor!”
I traveled through time last week and saw Back to the Future on the big screen. To celebrate its 25th anniversary, Back to the Future has been popping up in theatres across the country.
Back to the Future has always been more than just a movie to me. I’ve seen in 88 times and confidently declare it my favorite movie of all time. It combines my favorite things: time travel, comedy, and true love.
I recalled the first time I saw it on the big screen with one of my best friends, Randy. After that we became movie nerds. We watched movies every week, and vowed to one day move to LA and make our own. We fulfilled our promise in the year 2000. In 2002, we saw Back to the Future in the theatre, and heard one of the writers, Bob Gale, speak. It was inspiring and unforgettable. And although I am now in New York, and Randy is still in LA, we often text random Back to the Future quotes to one another, and hope to one day have our names in the credits on the silver screen.
I often wonder if a movie like Back to the Future could ever come out today, and I sincerely doubt it. What makes it so unique is that it doesn’t fit into a single genre. It’s a coming-of-age, teen, sci-fi, action, period piece, romantic family comedy. It’s not like movie studios are lining up to make that kind of movie.
But it was made. And it was amazing. Like Doc Brown always said: “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.” In terms of box office success, Back to the Future accomplished more than anything. It grossed nearly 200 million dollars, and that was in 1985 money. But for me, I loved it because it made me laugh, cry, cheer, and dream at the same time. It was the ultimate underdog story, the nerd standing up to the bully. It was the first time I fell in love with the movies. So when I heard that I could see it again in the theatre, I jumped at the opportunity.
I got to the theatre on 11th and 3rd avenue, and a line ran down three New York City blocks. Geeks like me talked about jigowatts, flux capacitors, deloreans, Libyan vans, Einstein, life preservers, the clock tower, lightning storms, Old Man Peabody, Jackie Gleason, Mayor Goldie Wilson, Marvin Berry, and the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance. They herded us into the theatre, and the lights went down. Great Scott! Marty McFly appeared before us.
I mouthed the lines like a lyric to a song. I knew every word of dialogue. “Why don’t you make like a tree, and get out of here!” Most would think this was weird, but I realized the people around me were doing the same thing. I laughed more than usual. Doc Brown’s eye popping facial expressions got me every time. The energy was infectious. Alan Silvestri’s beautiful score encompassed the entire theatre. The audience cheered and clapped as Marty maneuvered on his skateboard, George knocked out Biff, and Doc helped Marty get back to the future. And the big screen enhanced the action, the comedy, and excitement.
When the credits rolled, I sang along to Huey Lewis and the News. I grabbed my free poster which I hoped to frame and hang on one of my walls. Just like that, I was a kid again. That’s the thing about Back to the Future. No matter how many times I watch it, it makes me feel young again.
As I walked home from the movie, a brown penny caught my eye. I picked it up for good luck. When I turned it over, my eyes widened. The year: 1955. Maybe it was a message or a sign. Maybe I had traveled through time. Maybe I was safe and sound back in good old 1955. I scooped it up and placed it in my pocket. Back to the Future will always be a part of me. I walked down the road, and thought to myself: “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”
Trivia Q&A: October 18
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