Hi, Junior Movie Science Cadets. For this week’s Back to the Future viewing, I thought I’d try something different, but only to gain a better understanding of Doc Brown. See, when Doc meets Marty, he has a limited amount of time to learn all about their lives up until 1985, particularly in regards to the night of the first temporal experiment, which he has portions of on videotape. This means that Doc has to “accidentally” send Marty back to 1955 in this new timeline, except now he knows it’s going to happen; still, he has to replicate every event perfectly so as not to cause further paradoxes.

With this in mind, I thought I would read my viewing entry from last year’s corresponding week of the Top Gun experiment and immediately try to recreate the conditions of that moment, but instead of a future teenage friend of mine interfering, this time it’s a different movie. How difficult is it to retrace your steps? Feel free to open that link in another tab and compare.

Here we go…

WHEN: 4:46am EST, April 20, 2013

WHERE: My apartment in Portland, ME (Isla Nublar)

FORMAT: Blu-Ray on a Vizio 32″ LED HDTV

COMPANY: Becca asleep in the other room, not really paying attention

PHYSICAL AND MENTAL STATE: Eating cereal, no pants, groggy, didn’t have any dreams last night, no back pain, mostly just trying to get this over with


  • Nothing in Back to the Future makes me think of New Hampshire. I’m from New Hampshire.
  • I hate when the characters in a movie can’t see an aircraft just because it’s out of frame (see: the helicopters at the end of GoldenEye). The helicopter that flies over the clock tower does not exploit this trope, I think.
  • I groan at Marty’s use of the word “heavy.” Is he trying to impress someone? Is he trying to tell bodybuilders, “I’m one of you”?
  • Who else lives in Hill Valley? What’s living there like? I’d investigate if it were a real place.
  • Marty looks like a creep when he stares at those aerobics ladies because every guy looks like a creep when he stares at aerobics ladies.

“Join me for intercourse.”

  • From largest to smallest, the only fat people in this movie are Lou Caruthers, Sam Baines, and Red the bum. (Just planning for Halloween.)
  • Becca did not giggle at anything because she was asleep in the other room. +5 Love Points!
  • This movie gets so close to passing the Bechdel Test. Lorraine speaks with several women. She talks to her daughter about how she met George. She talks to her mother about where Marty will spend the night. She talks to her friends about how sexy Marty is. She could literally move the conversation to farts and this movie would win. It would win at feminism.
  • Love the shot where we see the beginnings of Lyons Estates. It really spooks Marty.
  • I really should have come up with a Marty-themed sandwich.
  • Doc wears a hat when he and Marty scope out Hill Valley High. How many hats does he have? Is his mansion completely covered in hats?
  • Wow. Christopher Lloyd has huge hands. Has John observed this yet?

So this bugged me so much, I moved it down to Thoughts, but if you really want to know, yeah, I was complaining to myself for most of the ending.

Marty goes back to 1985 and his past has been changed, right? Here’s a scene I envision happening between him and his family members.

Marty: Okay, my Old West poncho is in the washer. Is there anything left for breakfast? Oh, perfect, I’ll have some cereal. Hey, mom, pass the sugar, please.

Lorraine: Excuse me?

Marty: Sugar, please?

Lorraine: Have we ever had sugar on our cereal?

Marty: Mom, I have it all the time. How have you never noticed–

Lorraine: We eat healthy in this house. It’s how I stay so thin.

Marty: Okay. Fine. No big deal. Just some plain cereal will be fine.

Dave: You’re dressed funny! You look poor!

Marty: Hey! This is how I dress!

George: Did we teach you to dress like a hooligan?

Marty: No… this is what I always wear! I was dressed like this at the beginning of the first mov– uh, yesterday.

Randy: There are certain rules that one must follow to survive a time travel movie!

Marty: Whoa, let’s keep it to a dull meta, you… sorry, who the hell are you?

George: Are you honestly pretending you don’t know your brother Randy?

Marty: No, that’s not… were you in the bathroom or something? This is nuts!

Linda: Are you high?

Marty: Look, I’ve been through a very complicated situation! I haven’t had any time to think! When Doc Brown asks you to film one of his experiments–

All: (groan)

George: Marty, where do you get off making jokes about the town pedophile?

Marty: Wait, Doc… uh…

Dave: Are you saying you don’t know what happened to Doc Brown?

Marty: I…

Lorraine: He was arrested in 1979 for hanging around all the playgrounds in Hill Valley. They say he was muttering things like, “I bet he’s the one. I bet this is him. One day you and I are going to be best friends and do experiments together. I just know it.” He got out of prison for good behavior six months ago because he was deemed “harmless.”

All: (fake coughing) Bullshit!

Linda: And don’t get me started on how Biff made parole but not Uncle Joey…

George: Marty, did you fix the strings on your violin for your lesson today?

Marty: I don’t have a violin. I play the guitar…

George: Oh, I won’t have any of that noise in this house; gives me terrible flashbacks to a nightmare I once had about an alien in a yellow suit.

Marty: THIS IS HEAVY! (crying) Randy, I’m going to abort you! (storms out)

(Lorraine shuffles through the cabinets looking for some vodka. The whole family is silent.)

George: He’s a very strange young man.

Ghost of Grandpa Sam: He’s an idiot.


The first thing worth noting is that I did not look ahead before trying this. Whatever entry I got, that was the entry I was going to try to pull off. If I had landed on the week I watched all of the films Roger Ebert mentions in his review or the week I watched the director’s entire filmography up to my assigned movie, I was fully prepared for each and was going to commit. Thank goodness that didn’t happen.

Also, wow, us Cinemanauts have become better writers since last year. What’s with that bullet point shit?

The first problem I ran into was the time of day. The original viewing was at 10:18am, but I had plans that I couldn’t get out of, so I had to opt for the early morning. Would a time difference of over five hours ruined everything for Doc? Absolutely. His first temporal experiment would have occurred at 8:20pm and zero seconds… then he would have had to wait five hours for the Libyans to show up. Bottom line: I’m not as committed as Doc.

Not that kind.

Another problem I ran into? All out of milk. Should I eat my cereal dry? I’m also dieting… do I have to get whole milk instead of soy? Jesus, I haven’t even started the movie yet and I am severely fucking up this timeline. Wait, I never said what kind of cereal it was in the first viewing… the hell with it. Pants back on, let’s hit the convenience store. We’ll get 1%. At this point, I’m now causing a ripple effect in the lives of the cashier, everyone who enters the store, anyone who uses any product purchased at the store… and who drank this milk originally?

Oh my god, I’m such a bad butterfly. Glenn Beck must be president by now. Back to the apartment!

After deciding not to induce dreams or give myself back pain (more ripples!), I encountered a few problems comparing Top Gun and Back to the Future. I spotted no possible New Hampshire references, just one aircraft, and Marty doesn’t do any fist pumps like Maverick. Miramar, where TOPGUN training takes place, is very real, while Hill Valley is very not. Marty is in a committed monoamorous relationship, so I have no idea if he’s a more natural flirt than Maverick. I unfortunately never designed a tribute sandwich for the film like I did last year, which should definitely happen again. None of the actors in Back to the Future are freakishly tall like Tim Robbins; however, both Tom Cruise and Michael J. Fox are fairly short. (Tom is 5′ 7″, Michael is 5′ 4″.)

“Suck my three inches, Mikey. Wait, that doesn’t sound right at all.”

What worked out rather well is that I have problems with the endings of both movies, though I didn’t get to talk them out with Cinemanaut Becca this time. Oh no, I rippled my girlfriend! This could have serious repercussions on the timeline! Who knows what sort of changes could occur in her life if she didn’t spend all day thinking about how movie endings suck?!

Alright, I failed. I failed big time. I couldn’t do in two hours what Doc had to do for thirty years. Either the guy was a goddamn champ or the luckiest man in the world. I am not fit for mutable timelines.

Join me for an immutable experiment next week! Don’t worry, I already know I’ll finish it.

Nothing could possibly go wrong.