I had to make a choice.
I mean, that’s the entire point of this series of blogs. It’s named a “tough call” for a reason.
Last night, the new Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens trailer debuted on Monday Night Football and the Internet reacted in fine fashion. Here’s the trailer in case you missed it (so I could say you were possibly entertained by at least one thing on this post):
So that happened. And tomorrow is the day that Marty McFly visits “the future” from 1985.
Now I know what you’re thinking. “There have been 816 days in the last decade where Marty McFly was “supposed to arrive.” You saw them on social media going back to the MySpace days. But I assure you – tomorrow is the day:
So that brings me to this week’s debate: Which is better, Back to the Future II or Back to the Future III?
Back to the Future II has:
- A presented time period, in fact the ONLY time period, we were able to experience. Let’s face it, unless someone has a working temporal displacement device, no one here is going back to the Old West.
- Alternate timelines – and let’s face it, we all love a good dystopian future. Mad Max: Fury Road, The Hunger Games, Idiocracy (which, sadly, we’re already closer to that future than we are to the 2015 presented to us in BTTF2).
- Lea Thompson’s ginormous additions!
- Hoverboards. I don’t care if they don’t work over water. I thought they were the coolest part of that movie when I was a kid watching it for the first time.
- More classic cars from the 1950s. Think about it, In BTTF2, Marty travels from 1985 to 2015 to alternate timeline 1985 back to 1955. And the climactic scene with Marty and Biff, the convertible, the hoverboard, and the sports almanac – well that’s just some great storytelling.
- A basic understanding of time travel.
“Great Scott! Jennifer could conceivably encounter her future self! The consequences of that could be disastrous! The encounter could create a time paradox, the results of which could cause a chain reaction that would unravel the very fabric of the space time continuum, and destroy the entire universe! Granted, that’s a worse case scenario. The destruction might in fact be very localized, limited to merely our own galaxy.”
Here are the offerings of Back to the Future III:
- Clint Eastwood. Well…sort of. Remember that was the alias Marty gave to Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen when he was asked.
- Clint Ea-…Marty had to wrangle (no pun intended) some Western duds in a time period where, how do I put this gently…they didn’t give a crap about historical accuracy.
- No George McFly incarnation. I mean – where was Crispin Glover? Why was Michael J Fox his own ancestor?
- Lorraine’s gigantic knockers – What can I say? They are both fascinating and hauntingly inaccurate. That is…unless the goal was to make them not at all resemble actual breasts. Lea Thompson is a far underrated actress in my opinion. She’s a doll. I enjoy her work in just about everything I have seen. And if you’re a fan, I encourage you to listen to her conversation with Chris Hardwick on the Nerdist Podcast.
- The time machine locomotive – that beautiful piece of wonder looked like it was taken right out of a novel by Jules Verne. And oddly enough, that was the name Doc Brown and Clara chose for their two sons.
- The final resolution – Back to the Future III was the finale of a tremendous trilogy that didn’t need to be a trilogy. If Back to the Future ends with Marty and Jennifer going out to the lake as planned, and now with the Doc racing in at the last minute and whisking them away to the future, it’s still a wonderful movie that is likely treasured for the ages. But it didn’t, he did, and we got two more movies of time-jumping and everything else that I’ve stated above. And that’s fine. But when the train comes through and obliterates the DeLorean, that’s it. No more time travel. Well, I mean, aside from the aforementioned locomotive. But that’s too bulky for every day use. The future is set right based on the destruction of the DeLorean and Marty not giving in to Needles’ challenge.
Both of these movies have their pros and their cons. For example, Back to the Future III relied on the same (yet still hilarious) gag about Biff/Buford being driven into a wagon of manure. Still hilarious. But it is also low hanging fruit.
Meanwhile, Back to the Future II had the Chicago Cubs win the World Series. And as a St. Louis Cardinals fan, that is very difficult to ignore. It is magnified by the fact that the Cubs eliminated my beloved Cardinals from post-season play last week. However, the movie was written, filmed, and released before Major League Baseball altered the playoff structure to include the Division League Series. So while the movie Cubs win the World Series on October 20, 2015, the real life Cubs trail the New York Mets 2-0 heading into tonight’s Game 3. And I think it’s just unfair to give Cubs fans false hope like that.
Also, where are the auto-fitting jackets and auto-securing shoes? It’s true that Nike was working on the shoes, but they aren’t produced or priced to be available to mass audiences…just yet.
The verdict – as it were:
I’m going with Back to the Future II. Despite the Cubs prediction and Jaws 19, there is just a ton of story packed into this movie. And its ending is so incredible. Marty sees a floating DeLorean with Doc Brown struck by lightning. The DeLorean vanishes. A minute later, a Western Union representative delivers a letter. And, well…good times occur.
“He’s in the Old West, but he’s ALIVE!”
Plus, it gets a moment in a Family Guy parody.
Now where’s my affordable hoverboard, dammit?
As always, if there’s a topic you want me to discuss in a future feature, let me know in the comments.