Anybody who knows me knows that Back to the Future is my favorite movie series of all time. Because this is the Internet, most of you don’t know me. So, Internet, let me tell you, Back to the Future is my favorite movie series of all time. Because of this, I decided that my next movie review should be much more than just a review. Instead of merely reviewing Back to the Future, a movie that I hope all of you have seen, I’ve decided to take a different look at my favorite movie series. My next few posts over the next few days then will examine everything that Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) goes through in a series of only three days and explain that, to any normal human, he would have to be committed to a mental institution mere minutes into his journey. So, bear with me, dear friends, as we embark on a journey through time… and perhaps to a psychiatrist.
Let’s start with the first movie. I am going to spare you the overall summary of this series because if you’re still reading this article, odds are you already know what happens in the story. Instead, let us begin with the first instance of Marty’s mind being blown.
Marty hangs out with a scientist named Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) in his spare time. One evening, Oct. 25, 1985, to be exact, Doc asks Marty to meet him at the Twin Pines Mall to help him with his greatest experiment yet. Not knowing what it is, an unsuspecting Marty shows up to Doc strapping his dog, Einstein, into a futuristic DMC Delorean. Mere minutes into the movie and Marty is about to have some pretty heavy stuff laid on him. Doc tells Marty he has invented time travel, shows him it’s possible by using Einy as a guinea pig, and almost immediately after telling him that the time machine runs on plutonium that he ripped off Libyan nationalists, they find him at the mall and gun him down.
Let’s pause here. Marty, a 17-year-old kid, has just learned that not only is time travel possible, but the man who invented it is more than one of his best friends; he is also a borderline terrorist. If that wasn’t heavy enough for one kid to try and deal with, he then witnesses his best friend get murdered right in front of him and then has to run from the men who killed him. He is propelled into a car chase for his life where he hits 88 miles per hour and travels back in time to 1955, becoming the first human to ever time travel.
At this point, any normal kid would be in the fetal position crying for his mommy. Hell, just seeing somebody get shot would reduce a normal 17-year-old to tears. But not Marty. No, he still has much, much more horror to endure.
As soon as he reaches 1955, still unaware that he has gone back in time, he crashes into a barn, gets out of the car, and starts to go for help. Before he can say anything, the family that owns the barn, the Peabodys assume Marty is an alien and begin unloading shotgun shells at him like they were candy. Marty gets back in the Delorean and drives away as fast as he can.
Less than 30 minutes into the movie Marty has now been shot at by two different people. I’m pretty sure I would poop myself if somebody pulled a gun on me let alone actually shot at me. But Marty, the indestructible teenager that he is, has balls of steel. Fortunately.
Daybreak comes, and Marty finds himself in a diner, Lou’s Diner to be exact. He stumbles in, totally in denial of the fact that he is in 1955 (but trying really hard to accept it), and sits down at the bar… right next to his father. Instead of promptly running out of the diner and committing himself to a mental hospital, Marty sticks around to talk to his 17-year-old dad.
In the process, he meets the janitor at Lou’s, Goldie Wilson. Goldie is convinced he’s going to make something of himself, and Marty agrees. He proclaims, “That’s right he’s gonna be mayor!” Goldie responds pretty positively to this and decides that Marty is right. The only problem with this is that Goldie actually is mayor in 1985. That means that Marty is solely responsible for Goldie’s decision to run the society which Marty hales from and whatever political problems Marty has with him are his own fault.
This minor point aside, Marty still has much more family-ruining to do. He chases his dad out of the diner and follows him all the way to his next destination: a tree outside of a girl’s house that has a branch that allows his father to peep into her window. Marty learns his dad is a pervert, or “peeping tom” if you’re a fan of ’50s lingo, and simultaneously saves him from getting run over by a car which happens to be driven by his grandfather.
Marty, whose head has somehow not yet exploded, gets run over in the process and wakes up a few hours later in the dark. He asks for his mom, and is greeted by the comfort of her voice. He tells her all about this crazy dream he had that he traveled back in time, and she tells him that he’s safe and sound back in 1955. Yup, he’s talking to his mom, but she’s 17.
After being awkwardly hit on by his own mother for a while, Marty finally escapes his grandparents’ house, where he sees his own uncle as a toddler in a playpen, and runs presumably for the nearest sporting goods store so he can slam his head between two heavyweights.
The next scene proves me wrong and shows us that he was actually running for Doc’s house. So, the most comfort Marty can hope to achieve after his long day of mind-f*cking is to consult the man who invented time travel 30 years from now and he saw killed earlier that day in 1985.
After convincing Doc that he’s telling the truth and he really is from the future, a fact he himself has just come to terms with, Marty shows Doc the time machine. While discussing how they are going to get Marty home, Doc asks if he has interacted with anyone in 1955. Marty tells Doc that he may have accidentally run into both of his parents, stopped them from meeting, and completely ruined his own life. But, you know, only maybe. So that’s good. Doc informs Marty that he must get his parents back together before he goes back to 1985 or he may never even be born which would make it impossible for him to be in 1955 in the first place to stop his parents from meeting. So then he would be born, and it wouldn’t matter… or something.
Moving on before I get an aneurysm, Marty proceeds to go to the school his parents attend, the same school he goes to in 1985, where he discovers that his mother actually has the hots for him instead of his father.