The first time I saw Back to the Future was in 1989, complements of my mother’s inability to stretch ratings so that PG-13 might be watchable by, say, an 11-year old. So I missed it on the big screen, a regret I hope to rectify once the 30th anniversary comes around and they realize they should have a late-night showing of the greatest movie of all time. No, not Gone With the Wind, but the still shockingly relevant time travel film from 1985 that continues to captivate both young and old. I will be the first one with tickets.
When I first saw that DeLorean head down the Twin Pines parking lot, picking up speed so it could get to 88 miles per hour, then leaving twin trails of blazing fire in its wake, I was in awe. Even in 1989 I felt that it was possible for people to slip the bonds of time. I even created a journal that was all about my adventures in different eras. Still I am reminded of some of the more interesting entries: me with the 12 disciples, on board the Titanic, that time period right before the civil war, climbing Everest first, and even more. What made all these entries spectacular was that when I read them I was transported to those places, in those times. So I guess the value of words is that they can help to suspend belief and expand a sense of wonder. Like a child. Back to the Future was one of the rare movies that did the same thing, taking me on a trip.
And it still does. I watched the movie for the 48th time just the other day, and there’s always something new I see every single time. There’s some new connection I make or deeper understanding of life and the world around me. Did you know that there’s a religion dedicated to and on the flux capacitor? Okay, so that’s taking it a bit too far, but it once again shows the everlasting reach of the film into every facet of society. People from Bruce Springsteen to Pavel Bure have listed it as their favorite movie, and so many famous lines from the film crop up in other recent films. Imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery.
Those doors that swung up with a whoosh, that freezing cold door handle, the flashing dates on the dashboard, all the things that make the most famous car in history so famous, they all make me still crave a DeLorean. But not just any DeLorean. When Marty McFly crashes it into that barn on November 5, 1955, it is just the beginning, and not until it ends up in the old west in the third film do you realize you won’t see it again except by watching it again. So I’ve kept watching all three films, and I think after so many viewings the producers should just give me that DeLorean by the time the 30th anniversary comes around in 2015.
For old times’ sake.