WHERE: Cinemanaut John‘s apartment in Portland, ME

FORMAT: VHS in a Magnavox VCR on a Vizio 47″ LCD HDTV

COMPANY: Cinemanaut John

PHYSICAL AND MENTAL STATE: Full of Burger King, excited for the nostalgia of VHS.

I’m watching my first five viewings of Back to the Future in reverse chronological order of the format I purchased them in. That’s Blu-Ray, iTunes digital copy, the 25th anniversary DVD, the original DVD release (in fullscreen, ugh, what was I thinking?), and VHS. While my own childhood VHS copy of the movie was bought from McDonald’s (just $5.99 with the purchase of any sandwich, I do believe), this particular video was found at Bull Moose by John for a quarter. My parents split up a bunch of movies when they divorced last year and I’m not even bothering to figure out which house and/or Goodwill that ended up in.


  • How did people watch movies on VHS?
  • Noticed for the first time: Marty seems to have photos of women’s legs on his wall. In sexy lingerie. Explains why Lorraine’s cleave-tastic dress had no effect on him (that and the fact that she’s his mom): Marty is a leg man. According to one set designer.

And next to his Wank Wall? The photo of his brother and sister. What is wrong with this family?

  • John speculates: If this were an immutable timeline (it’s not), Doc could have hired the old woman from the Hill Valley Preservation Society to give Marty the flyer, thus ensuring that he would have that information in 1955. But Back to the Future just doesn’t work that way. Any change in the present, however slight, negates that possibility. Now, Doc could have done it after the events of the first movie, but he should know better than to fuck with the timeline in such a dangerous manner. Though, he has no way of knowing yet that his universe operates on mutable rules… Doc, no!
  • Why do you need to be going 88 miles per hour? I assume you have to be traveling that fast to make it through the portal before it closes, but when I was first introduced to this rule as a child, I thought the wheels were generating some sort of energy and figured you could also go back in time if you put the DeLorean on rollers. Silly little me.
  • John points out: At the end of the film, Marty runs off when the DeLorean won’t start, leaving the door open… next to a homeless man. Thankfully, there’s no way to power the time circuits, but that doesn’t change the fact that he just gave that guy a free car. And even if Marty brought the keys with him, there are still plenty of things to steal in the DeLorean. Some bum is wandering around Hill Valley wearing a radiation suit and filming people.

“Hey, kids, I’ll take your picture for a dollar! Smiiiiile! Uhh, I puked in here.”

  • The VHS version of Back to the Future is technically a different cut. A sequel had already been greenlit between the theatrical and home video releases, so they added “To be continued…” at the end. From 2002 onward, all releases of Back to the Future have been the theatrical cut, without this graphic before the credits.

Most women are not Lorraine Baines.

Welp, g’night everybody! See you next week!

Okay, okay, let’s play this one out. When you’re a wee one and you don’t know what the sex is, where do you get your ideas on it? For me, it was movies. Back to the Future hinges completely on sex. The entire plot revolves around Marty’s desperate attempt to get two people to make the humpings. And while 8-year-old me didn’t think all boning involved your future offspring falling back in time and pushing your junk together before catching the next lighting bolt outta town, I did think that Lorraine was a perfect portrait of what a woman looks like when she’s in love.

A look I rarely see on any woman’s face.

Also, before I proceed, we’re not getting into mom-fucking. I did not fall for Lorraine because she had a wet-on for her own son. Plenty of movie characters are moms or will be moms and I find them attractive. Lorraine is just a future MILF. (Um, depending on which future.) I simply like ’50s Lorraine, regardless of if she’s putting the moves on her own baby-to-be. If you think this movie made me want my mom, please, we’re not going there. If anything, I avoid my mom.

“And you sink zis antisocial behavior helps your claims how?”

What I realized during this time around is how much my view of Lorraine has changed since I was a kid. In my youth, Lorraine displayed a charming sweetness that I found irresistible, and I hoped to one day become infatuated with a woman with similar qualities.

Now? Lorraine is horny as hell. She aches for cock.

Somebody tie her to a lamppost. Wait, no, she’s into that!

Did I pick up on that back in 1993? Of course not. I knew nothing of female wriggling. But now I watch the movie and think, “Jesus.” I don’t even know whether to compliment Lea Thompson’s acting or brush it off as distracting. It’s a memorable performance, to be sure, but it may be the most over-the-top in the movie (second only to Biff, but ’80s bullies were not built for subtlety, and Thomas F. Wilson knocked that caricature out of the park). I wonder if Zemeckis instructed Lea to play Lorraine as a raging dickaholic, or if she just interpreted “lovestruck” as “constantly craving a deep swig of dickahol.”

Whether she had the right idea on the character or not, mein Gott, did that look in Lorraine’s eyes stick with me. That was what I expected to see in the eyes of every woman I ever suspected wanted to be with me. Not a look of “this seems like a logical and beneficial partnership” or “ah, hell, you’ll do for tonight.” I wanted the breathy sighs and the hair flips and the wriggles.

I wanted a woman to call me “an absolute dream.”

“He’s a blogger who makes slightly above minimum wage!”

Thankfully, I have grown up, and I’m pretty sure I know what women are like now (ex: people who do things), which is fortunate, considering women are not handled terribly well in the Back to the Future universe. Still, that doesn’t mean the fantasy part doesn’t go away. What you’re into gets imprinted at a fairly young age.

Alright, I can hear the “ewwws” out there. I’m not about to give you three more paragraphs on how I get my jollies, but let’s just say I can’t relate to Marty McFly’s leg fetish because I am definitely a shoulder man. But who knows where I got that?

Sweet Lord, I am not worthy of such a beautiful sight.