[Crash course for newcomers: We’re conducting a three-year experiment in which, for every year, we have to watch the same movie once a week. I had Top Gun last year, in the category Movie You Don’t Love, But Don’t Hate. This year I have Back to the Future for Movie You Love. Check out what everyone else is watching on our Cinemanauts page. These are my experiment results for April 2013.]

Before we talk about anything else, this happened.

In case you’re wondering, I never got the interview with the DeLorean’s owner. Guy came out, got in, took off. And who could blame him for such a speedy departure? He probably gets accosted by every Me in every city he goes to. He was hired as part of an orchestral tribute to the ’80s that Cinemanaut Becca just happened to be attending, and I was told the proceeds went to charity, but I’ve been unable to find any information on which organization it was.

Where are you now, mystery man?

But besides all that, what a dork I am, right? Jesus, somebody teach that guy what third base is. 52 weeks of Back to the Future or not, this is the first DeLorean I’ve seen in person in my entire life. Of course my head’s going to explode.

This is why collecting results is so hard this year. Last year, when I was exposed to 52 weeks of watching Top Gun, any thought I had about the movie was “unusual behavior” because I wasn’t a huge fan of it. If I saw Maverick’s motorcycle blasting through the streets of Portland in 2012, I might have recognized it, but I wouldn’t have freaked out. I might have mumbled, “Oh, hey, I should get a picture of that… I guess…” But roll a DeLorean into town and OH MY CHRIST DON’T LET THAT CAR OUT OF YOUR SIGHT.

If you weren’t reading us last year (and nobody could blame you, we had even less of an idea what this was than we do now), you should know that the entire purpose of this website, technically, is testing the hypothesis put forth by a single joke in a Robert Fure article on Film School Rejects: that watching Top Gun once a week will lead to “a healthier you.” So, yes, while I love my Cinemanauts and all the work they’re doing with their movies as variables for this three-year experiment, the health benefits of Top Gun are the main focus of the project.

It’s too early to draw conclusions, but right now, I’ve lost more weight this year than I ever have before. Can this be attributed to watching Back to the Future?

Eww, this movie has exercise in it.

While I doubt this is the case, I had me a good think on it. What happens in the movie? Small changes in the past radically affect the future. Marty and his entire family live better lives from just a week’s worth of different behaviors. Hit me with that idea repeatedly and it might stick in my head that I can’t alter my fitness history, but I’ve got my entire future ahead of me. Self-improvement starts today, and can last a lifetime.

Schmaltzy? Sure. Crystal yoga bullshit? Might be. Inspiring? Yeah. Really, it is. Today’s decisions can turn my whole life around. Awww.

Just to play devil’s advocate, there are other factors to the health equation. I got a smartphone towards the end of last year, and it’s a lot easier to keep track of calories and exercise with those fancy fitness apps. I have more successful relationships this year, which is always a motivator. My job changed to more hours and higher pay, so I can buy healthier foods. And other shit is different too! I don’t know, I’m starting to see why experiments shouldn’t take three years.

Long story short, a bunch of sweaty muscle men did not motivate me to exercise as much as a crippling fear of the future did.

Seriously, though, wow. More like Ripped Rossovich, am I right?

A major side effect of the experiment that I never predicted is that I desperately want to watch Back to the Future Part II and Back to the Future Part III. Yeah, just as a side bit of trivia, all four Cinemanauts were assigned movies with sequels. You, the readers, voted, and apparently you guys love franchises. I’ll leave it to the other Cinemanauts to talk about their sequels at long length, but here’s my quick take on each movie’s continuations.

  • The NeverEnding Story – Ugh, the second one I liked as a kid, but now I see that it’s pretty shitty. And the third is atrocious.
  • Jurassic Park – Much like Jaws, yeah, sure, those movies happened, and I won’t turn them off if I catch them on TV, but fuck actually making the effort to watch them.
  • Ghostbusters – Despite all the hate that I hear for the second film, I don’t think it’s that awful and I enjoy watching them both together.
  • Back to the Future – That’s a trilogy. Even if I think Part II unsuccessfully found a way to plow through casting issues and features probably the worst writing for a female character I have ever witnessed in a movie, Part III is as entertaining as the first, gives more character to Doc, and all three come together to form a singular, beautiful adventure.

And every week, I cut off that adventure a third of the way through.

Aww, baby, where ya goin’? I wanna see the future.

When taking notes on my results, I usually ignore any behaviors related to the sequels… except I’ve been quoting, emulating, and generally thinking about II and III more than the first film. That, I feel, is a significant bit of data, and certainly a surprising one. It’s all wallets and wake-up juice from here on out.

Of course, there’s nothing in the rules that says I can’t watch the other two whenever I want. But really, who has the time?

Oh, that… that wasn’t a pun. Don’t count that… I–

I always have the Top Gun and Back to the Future soundtracks handy on my phone in case, you know… Cinema 52 stuff? Unfortunately, since I’ve been walking more (in the name of health), I sometimes forget that I’ve hit Shuffle All and get impromptu mini-experiments dropped on me from time to time. On April 26th, at around 9:15am, “Hot Summer Nights” from the Top Gun soundtrack shuffled its way into my ears and I instantly scrambled to skip it. The next song that came up? “Back in Time” from the Back to the Future soundtrack. I had no such reaction. After about a minute, I realized, “Oh, this is from that other movie.” And I let it play out.

Clearly, I associate Top Gun only with this experiment. Back to the Future? It’s just a movie I like.

I only had two noteworthy dreams this month, and both were about Top Gun.

April 2, 2013
Had a dream I was in the U.S. Navy, on an aircraft carrier. We were on a mission to recover a space capsule from the ocean. At one point, I actively avoided quoting the end of Top Gun: “You! You are still… a problem. Straighten up and fly right.”

April 13, 2013
Dreamed I was hanging out with John C. Reilly at John Lennon’s house. The Righteous Brothers version of “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” came on the stereo. (This song is featured prominently in Top Gun.) I was frozen in time and unable to move until the song ended.

That’s all.