How to Ruin Back to the Future

Here's a hint: see it with me.

My wife is probably going to hate me in thirty years.

I’ve seen, and own, quite a few movies.  In fact, we have a DVD collection so large, when guests come over, their reaction to it is usually somewhat between “apprehensively impressed” to “Oh, I’m in the house of a crazy person.” 

I do my best to thin the herd once in a while, just to alleviate her fears that I belong on Hoarders.  It’s a healthy thing, after all.   At certain times in your life, it’s important to take stock of the things you own and say, “Nobody really needs to own the Special Edition of Howard the Duck.”

Still, some movies are classics, and I won’t be parting with them anytime soon.  And, even if the house burned down, I know the script of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off by heart.  Which leads me to another reason my wife may one day decide to chloroform me and drop me off naked and starving in a forest someday: I’ve seen some movies so many times, I can no longer watch them like a real person.  I need to recite dialogue, ask questions, and crack jokes. 

Case and Point:  We’re watching Back to the Future the other day (ironically, it was on cable), and I picked up the following nuances:


1)  Why did the Libyans bring a rocket launcher with them when they came to hit the Doc?  Isn’t that—no pun intended—overkill?  It’s not enough that they’re going to leave a dead body in the parking lot of Lone Pine mall at 1:34 in the morning, they have to explode him in the process?   And where do you get a rocket launcher in 1985?  Did they get it in America, or did they bring it over on the plane with them from Libya?  I realize that security was a bit more lax pre-9/11, but a stewardess is bound to notice something like that:


STEWARDESS:  Sir?  Is the rocket-propelled explosive device on the seat next to you yours?

TERRORIST (broken English):  Yes.  I feel a bit embarrassed to admit this, but we have to kill an American pig-dog who told us he was building a bomb, and instead gave us some pinball machine parts.  It really fooled us until we went to detonate the bomb and all we got was a message that said “TILT.”

STEWARDESS:  Well, I’m afraid you’re going to have to check that.  It’s too big for the overhead compartment.    Also, please extinguish your cigarette until we reach cruising altitude.


2)  I can understand that George McFly standing up to a bully gave him the confidence to be a better man.  What I’m not sure about is why knocking him out-- and then, fifteen minutes later, shoving a cackling red-haired kid on the dance floor-- elicits one girl to ask him if he’s interested in being class President.   Can you imagine if that was the standard for American politics?   If we elected politicians based on their ability to kick ass, Ron Paul wouldn’t stand a chance. 

(And, in case you’re wondering, Romney is an inch taller than Obama, and probably has a bit of weight on him.  On the other hand, Obama is younger and more athletic; plus he looks like he’s got a quick jab.)


3) Is nobody worried, at all, about the implication that Marvin Barry’s phone call to his cousin Chuck led to him plagiarizing the song “Johnny B. Goode” from a white kid?  What’s the message here?   I thought the whole point was to not talk about, or affect, the future in any way.


DOC (finding Marty’s letter in his pocket):  “What’s the meaning of this?!”

MARTY:  “You’ll find out in thirty years!”

DOC:  “It’s about the future, isn’t it?!  It’s information about the future!  I’ve warned you about this, kid!  The consequences could be DISASTEROUS!  Unless… you create an alternate reality where black people stole rock and roll from white people instead of the other way around!  THOSE consequences would be HILARIOUS!  Now, get in that car while I invent ZIPLINING!”


I would tell you more in regards to how I ruin this movie when we watch it, but my wife is standing next to me shaking her head.  It’s just as well, I suppose.  It’s late, and I should get to bed. 

Although… I hear something.

Is the car running?

And what’s that strange smell?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

joe ponikarovsky July 18, 2012 at 06:02 PM
james, mr fusion just powers the time circuits: "Marty: Yeah, no big deal, we got Mr. Fusion, right? Doc: Mr. Fusion powers the time circuits and the flux capacitor. But the internal combustion engine runs on ordinary gasoline; it always has. There's not going to be a gas station around here until some time in the next century. Without gasoline, we can't get the DeLorean up to 88 miles per hour." also: http://backtothefuture.wikia.com/wiki/Mr._Fusion
James Murphy July 18, 2012 at 06:47 PM
joe --outstanding answer !!! I would stand corrected EXCEPT the car lifted off and flew down the street making a humming propulsion sound with jetlike afterburners as it flew past http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKLs9ynZEH0
joe ponikarovsky July 18, 2012 at 06:54 PM
james: are you claiming that it's not an internal combustion engine then?
James Murphy July 18, 2012 at 06:59 PM
I think it is a plot hole that they smoothed over in 2-3 to make it work the video shows jets under the car lifting it up and an afterburner as it flew past
Andrew Polcyn July 20, 2012 at 09:43 AM
I think you're missing something guys. It was mentioned in the early part of BTTF 3 that the lightning scrambled the flying circuits, and the car would not fly again. Doc: "The car flew?" Marty: "Yeah, you had a hover conversion done in the early 21st Century."


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