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Top 100 Movies Of The 1990's: #46 Back To The Future Part III

Box Office: $88.3 Million

Oscar Nominations: None

Oscar Wins: None

MovieRankings.Net: 75/100

Available To Stream: Peacock, Amazon Prime ($4)

Hand up. I was wrong. I mean, I am wrong all the time. What I am talking about specifically was being wrong about the Back To The Future sequels. I have been saying that Part 3 is better than Part 2 for the past several things. That's just not accurate. I rewatched both and walked away thinking Part 2 is the superior movie. Part 3 has a tighter story and I'll go into the other strong points in this blog but it doesn't hold a candle to the creativity of Part 2. I still think Michael J. Fox playing a whole family of characters in Part 2 is stupid but that's a topic for another day. Maybe in 2031 when I finally finish Top 100 Movies Of The 1990's and move to the Top 100 Movies Of The 1980's.

That trailer above is the first look we all got at Back To The Future Part III. It came up at the end of the Part II, which was released in November of 1989. The BTTF sequels were filmed back to back and while it did save money from a production standpoint, I think it cost them money in the long run. Having these spaced apart by only 6 months created Back To The Future fatigue.

Back To The Future Part 2: $118 Million (Weeks At Number One: 3, Weeks In Top 10: 10)

Back To The Future Part 3: $87 Million (Weeks At Number One: 1, Weeks In Top 10: 5)

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I find these movies that shoot back to back very interesting. Lord Of The Rings shot those three movies back to back to back. That's even wilder than what BTTF did because at least BTTF had a juggernaut first movie. New Line Cinema had to have massive confidence in the LOTR and Peter Jackson to green light that. They've since said if those movies didn't work, it likely would have killed the studio. Universal wasn't under the same stress. Everyone knew the BTTF sequels would be huge.

There was an over four year gap between the first and the second movies. Timing wise it worked out to shoot both at the same time to allow two years to build all the necessary sets and fine-tune the scripts. It also allowed the Michael J. Fox sitcom Family Ties to end its run. By the time they started Part 2, it was at the back end of its last season and it was fully completed by the time they started shooting Part 3.

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As for the movie itself, Part 3 really is a fun ride. The ending train sequence is fantastic. I do appreciate how the movie wraps up the series in almost all elements although the reveal at the very end is a little too cute for me. It is also just fun hanging out with Marty and Doc Brown. Director Robert Zemeckis shoots this movie so beautifully. You can tell he loved shooting a Western. The landscapes are stunning and he does such a great job with the 1885 Hill Valley.

The other element that really works here is the Mary Steenburgen love interest addition. It allows us to see a different side of Doc Brown and Christopher Lloyd is fantastic as always. While I don't like this movie as much as I like the other two, this is still a very enjoyable and worthy Back To The Future addition.

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I have two issues with Part 3. One are the endless callbacks. Some fan service is an enjoyable and expected but this felt like every other line. I would like to see these characters fleshed out more (like the Doc Brown romance) than just repeating old lines. Of course, I say that and the one they added to Marty's character is something I hated. Making him freak out if he's called a "chicken" seems so weird to me. He's not a 2nd grader. Although he was a 28 year old actor playing a high schooler. I wish they could have added a bit more complexity to Marty.

It's funny to call anything attached to Back To The Future a "smaller movie" but that's how I look at Part 3. The original is one of the greatest movies of all time. It's Mickey Mantle. Part 2 has some misses but takes some huge swings and often connects. It's Harmon Killebrew. As for this? A quieter movie that feels a little repetitive at times but still is very enjoyable? This is movie is Mike Mussina.

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46. Back To The Future Part III

47. A Bronx Tale

48. The People Vs. Larry Flynt

49. Eyes Wide Shut

50. The Sandlot

51. Happy Gilmore

52. Contact

53. The Green Mile

54. Man On The Moon

55. Boyz N The Hood

56. Grosse Pointe Blank

57. Independence Day

58. The Rainmaker

59. Go

60. The Firm

61. Magnolia

62. The Talented Mr. Ripley

63. Tommy Boy

64. The Usual Suspects

65. In The Line Of Fire

66. My Cousin Vinny

67. Awakenings

68. JFK

69. Toy Story

70. Home Alone

71. Jerry Maguire

72. Titanic

73. Billy Madison

74. Apollo 13

75. Braveheart

76. Edward Scissorhands

77. Cape Fear

78. The River Wild

79. What's Eating Gilbert Grape?

80. 12 Monkeys

81. Stir Of Echoes

82. Mission: Impossible

83. Total Recall

84. Quiz Show

85. For Love Of The Game

86. Being John Malkovich

87. Men In Black

88. Scream

89. Alive

90. Three Kings

91. Glengarry Glen Ross

92. Die Hard With A Vengeance

93. The Blair Witch Project

94. Twister

95. Dirty Work

96. Election

97. Tremors

98. Any Given Sunday

99. The Wedding Singer

100. Clerks