I was in elementary school the first time I saw the Back to the Future trilogy. My dad dusted off the VHS tapes and gave my brother and me a much-needed movie education. This week, I revisited the trilogy and watched the first two installments to fight off the Sunday Scaries, then viewed the third in opposition to the Monday Blues. With the movies fresh in my mind, I can definitively say that Back to the Future is the greatest movie trilogy ever created.
Before even looking at the movies themselves, let’s look at the music. Huey Lewis and the News was one of the top bands in the world before this movie came out. Huey had just taken a solo vocal in the song “We Are the World,” the fastest-selling American single in history. Just after this, Back to the Future was released, and Huey Lewis and the News wrote and performed two brand new songs for the movie. One of the most popular artists in the world coming up with two originals for a movie is unheard of, and they absolutely crushed it. “The Power of Love” was a number-one hit in the United States, and “Back in Time” peaked at 3rd on the Billboard charts and was on the charts for 14 weeks. Not too shabby work for music made for a movie. Not to mention Huey’s cameo as an audition judge, calling his own song “too darn loud.”
Now, to address the movies. From start-to-finish, they are, quite simply, a joy to watch. Michael J. Fox doesn’t play Marty McFly, he is Marty McFly. The “Late for school” scene is one of the most recognizable opening scenes of all-time, and at this point we can already tell that Michael J. Fox and Marty McFly are indistinguishable from one another.
When Marty goes back in time, it is a delight watching him be the reason why his parents get together in high school, becoming the inspiration for his father to become a creative writer, and establishing his father as the alpha to his high school bully, Biff Tannen. Marty convincing his dad to go for his mom even she has the hots for him is some Oedipus-level type stuff, but Robert Zemeckis could honestly do no wrong in writing and directing this movie. On top of that, Lea Thompson playing Lorraine McFly is just the cherry on top.
The second movie is just as fun to watch as the first. Traveling 30 years into the future, 2015, instead of 30 years in the past, Marty and Jennifer have to save their children from making a mistake that tears their family apart. I don’t want to give too much plot description because if you have seen these movies, you are already on my side, and if you haven’t seen them, you need to ASAP. The third movie involves Marty traveling back to 1885 to save Doc from dying, and they get into some major shenanigans in the Old West.
Even though these movies came out 30 years ago, they easily withstand the test of time. For a person who was born 7 years after the trilogy ended, it is self-evident that the brilliance of these movies is unmatched. Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly is one of those few movie characters who cannot be separated from the actor that plays them. We see that with Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone, but not many others.
Back to the Future has some of the most clever writing in movie history. Robert Zemeckis knew exactly what he wanted in all three movies, and they came out perfectly. The three movies intertwine in some of the most smart, minute ways. I think that half of these Easter Eggs were just for the executives to enjoy, because there is no way that an audience member could catch all of them on their first watch. This makes it even more fun to go back to Back to the Future.