WHERE: In the living room of my apartment in Portland, ME
FORMAT: Blu-Ray on a Vizio 32″ LED HDTV
PHYSICAL AND MENTAL STATE: Eating Andy Capp Cheddar Fries, still riding the high of doing surprisingly well at a comedy show last night.
I’ve watched Back to the Future 32 times this year in the name of science. At this point, I feel like I’ve seen everything it could possibly have to offer. Yet, feelings are not facts. For today’s viewing, I made a conscious effort to go against my natural movie-watching inclinations and look away from the actors in every scene in order to absorb any background details that may have somehow escaped my vision for seven whole months.
Look, these can’t all be gold.
Fun Fact: Did you know there’s a dog in this scene? Look closely!
Still, I spotted some interesting tidbits. Such as…
FRIGHTENINGLY OVERDONE PRODUCT PLACEMENT:
I haven’t talked about it yet this year, but holy hell, Back to the Future is stuffed to the gull wings with corporate logo after corporate logo. One of the more prominently represented companies is Burger King. Doc has leftover Whopper wrappers all over the place, Marty “skitches” past the restaurant on his way to school, and his brother Dave is dressed in the fast food chain’s traditional wage slave attire at the McFly dinner table. (Hmm, did BK take issue with their last name?) You’d think all this Burger Kingliness would be enough to get the audience’s mouths craving the taste of some flame-broiled sadness, but no. Notice what’s in the trash can in front of Doc’s place, with the logo conveniently facing out:
It’s so shamelessly blatant that it requires magnification and enhancement.
It’s worth noting that in about ten seconds, this shot is going to swing around and reveal an actual Burger King, so is it more in-your-face corporate influence, or were the set dressers figuring Doc frequently popped next door for a burger-like food product every day and decided his garbage should reflect his poor choice of diet? You decide. I’m just here to notice things.
The other major culprit is Pepsi. Sweet science, that’s the only soft drink in sight no matter where you go in Hill Valley. It’s at dinner tables, it’s at Lou’s Cafe, it’s on advertisements, it’s in bottles, it’s in cans, it’s Pepsi Free, it’s Pepsi Regular… hell, there’s even a guy with a Mountain Dew hat to throw you off, but the extreme beverage represented on his extreme headgear is owned by PepsiCo Inc. And yet, somehow, there’s still a Pepsi logo I never noticed. What’s holding up the amplifier at the dance?
A goddamned Pepsi box! One that’s suspiciously missing later…
By the way, they didn’t completely succeed in their mission of brand consistency. Somebody in Lou’s Cafe very audibly orders a Cherry Coke. Also… Burger King serves Coke products.
HEY, THAT EXTRA LOOKS LIKE SOMEONE FAMOUS:
Not a damn one of these is grounded in any sort of logic, but did you spot…
Alright, I mentioned him in my first viewing of the year.
Fine, I mentioned him in my third viewing of the year.
Been bugging me for a couple of viewings, but never mentioned before.
Oh, and what’s that on the good Doctor’s amplifier? A goddamned Pepsi can.
CHECK OUT THE FRAMES:
Doc has photographs of moon landings and satellites on his wall, because he is a badass.
In addition to the satellite, note the Burger King cup.
In the McFly home, we see family photos, but the actors aren’t in them. Who’s in this picture, for example?
Dean Cundey‘s relatives, most likely.
It appears to be a husband and wife, a teenaged female, and a little girl. This rules out George’s family, unless he’s the one taking the picture. If Lorraine is the older girl, then her brother Milton must have run off because he should also be present. Or maybe Lorraine is the little one and she’s visiting a female cousin and her aunt and uncle. Or perhaps nobody in the picture is a character seen in the film.
Also a possibility? I’m going insane.
YOU KNOW WHAT’S INSANE? THESE PRICES:
Things were cheap in 1955! It was just a nickel for a cuppa joe!
Clever puns are extra.
Not even Goldie Wilson can contain his excitement over 10¢ ice cream cones and 25¢ root beer floats!
His gold tooth used to be his sweet tooth!
On the other hand, Internet porn in 1985 used to cost $5.00 and some dignity.
MOVIE LIGHTS ARE NO FUN FOR ANIMALS:
Okay, this one kinda shot right into my tiny sad heart. Of everything on this list, this is the one I truly never noticed even slightly before today. When Doc and Marty are talking about which actor grows up to have his name associated with bullshit economic policies, Copernicus is in the corner panting his little canine bum off.
Bottom right. The non-human guy.
That might just look like one random screengrab of a tongue wag, but trust me, he’s breathing pretty hard the whole time. I considered the possibility that his trainer is holding a treat just offscreen as a reward for sitting still, but I don’t know… I think we’re seeing a dog who can’t take the heat of the powerful onset lights.
I’ll feel extra bad if he already did this once with Stoltz.
Well, fun. Can’t wait to see that week after week after week now.
The “No Animals Were Harmed” database doesn’t go back to 1985, little guy.
SO, WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?
We’ve learned that I’m going crazy. Also, that you can still notice new details about a film even if you’ve seen it multiple times. But mostly the crazy part.