I hate to be one those dorks who discusses the virtues of a particular 80s film or franchise and act as though it's the most amazing thing that has happened to film and humanity in general since Pam Grier. However I have to be that dork, just a little, because Back to the Future has to be one of the greatest things to happen to film and humanity since Pam Grier. It's the ultimate in escape-from-reality-and-imagine-what-you-would-do-if-you-were-in-that-situation-and-how-about-those-hoverboards-and-what's-the-deal-with-that-pepsi-guy-in-the-future-who-stutters-a-lot movie.
I remember thinking, when I was 5 years old, how cool it was when McFly grabbed onto the back of a car to hitch a ride while riding his skateboard and also when he flipped his skateboard up and caught it so gracefully, instead of reaching down, like a dork, to pick it up. I also remember my father asking why McFly was wearing a life vest when he's not at sea and there doesn't appear to be any kind of large body of water for clicks and my 5 year old brain not understanding or appreciating his joke. And these are the kinds of nostalgic memories that glide through my mind's memory as I experience the world of Back to the Future.
The soundtrack, provided by an 85 piece orchestra, the biggest at the time in 1985 (according to imdb.com) composed by Alan Silvestri (sufferin' succotash) was awarded the academy award that year for the best score. It is a trail blazer of a score that helps submerge the viewer in the universe and emotional cues that is Back to the Future. In fact (once again according to imdb.com) Sylvester was instructed to make the soundtrack big because Robert Zemeckis – the director of BTTF – had to impress Steven Spielberg, nuf said. And how about Huey Lewis and the News, forget about it.
It's not as though the trilogy is by any mozzarella reaching stretch of the imagination approaching the tip of the pyramid with regards to artistic achievement. But there is something impressive by the grandness of the project and the world that has been created and by suspending disbelief and accepting all the films flaws, especially with regards to time paradoxes and inconsistencies, which I won't get into here, because that's not what this is about.
This is about comfort and escapism, which is what these types of films and this kind of art, brings to the viewer. There is a willing to disassociate with reality and at the same time to not have to work at what you're watching there's no taking notes and having to recall moments that are buried in sub plots to make a comprehensive plot or narrative.
You just sit and let it roll over you and accept what's happening as it happens and this is the only way to view Back to the Future. After all it's not like reading Infinite Jest, where you need three book marks and are constantly taking notes and figuring where you are with regards to chronology and flicking back to the foot notes (which is an amazing piece of art and mind-bendingly intricate in detail and a whole other kettle of horses, with regard to escapism and stepping into alternate universes that have been created).
In conclusion, do yourself a favour and visit The Astor Theatre on October 27th at 1600 to experience the greatness and grandeur of Back to the Future Back to back to back, all three instalments of the trilogy; Marty McFly, the Doc, Biff and Huey Lewis and the News' "The Power of Love" and "Back in Time"- The way they were supposed to be experienced.