Doc Brown invents a time machine and Marty McFly inadvertently gets lost in the past with no fuel, Marty breaks up his parents, erases his future, but at the same time has to get back to the future before he’s stuck in the past forever.
On paper, this might sound like the plot of the worst B-movie you’ve ever heard, and then maybe you can understand how it took so long for a studio to pick up the script. Really, that wasn’t the only thing. Everything was working against this movie. Did you know that they filmed three-fourths of the movie with Eric Stoltz playing Marty McFly before they decided he wasn’t right for the part and they fired him. They also almost cast Jeff Goldblum as Doc Brown before ending on Christopher Lloyd. Man, that would have been weird. I’m sure it still would have been good, just a vastly different movie too with Goldblum at the helm.
I thought it was genius to travel to the past rather than the future like many sci-fi movies and books had done in the past (or like the sequel does) this way it makes it a timeless movie, unlike the sequel that correctly predicted nothing about 2015 but was really close about the Cubs winning the world series, which they did the following year. I think this movie can be enjoyed well into the future. A little ironic that when it was made it was as a sort of way of showing people how things were like in the 50s and how different things were but it works well for the 80s now too. Man, did they dress funny.
The only problem I have with this movie are the weird questions I start asking myself as I watch it. Why did Doc Brown make Marty stand in front of the car the first time when he hadn’t tested it yet? What if it didn’t work? They’d both be parking-lot pizza. Also, there’s some indication in this scene that Doc already knows what’s about to happen. Does that mean this has happened already and he knows he’s sending Marty back to the past again? Doesn’t that mean that Marty’s family would already be “cool?” Or is this some kind of quantum flux-point where one has to happen to change the reality in the present? But wouldn’t that mean that nothing of the past had changed and it was more like magic? How did those terrorists find them so fast? Why didn’t this cause a paradox that destroyed the universe? Why the hell do they call him Silent Bob anyway?
I could keep typing questions about this movie until my fingers bled but none of these are really problems with the movie as a whole, just weird questions that always pop in my head as I watch it.
Why you should watch it before you die: This movie is perfectly written. Everything that happens in the first act is called back on or used again by the end of the movie. Every scene is important, has excellent pacing, great dialogue, and nothing is on screen that shouldn’t be there. I guess I’m also complimenting the editing. The acting is also great, but I think the writing on this film is the real star. I think I mentioned before how rare perfect movies are, but I think I can safely stamp that title on this movie, despite the nerdy science questions I always start asking myself.