[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 July 2013.]

Here’s what sucks about our experiment (besides watching a movie you adore repeatedly until you never want to see it again): when you are in an intense emotional state for weeks at a time, it’s hard to gauge what’s causing it. And because we’re supposed to be keeping track of changes in mood, behavior, etc. that might be brought on by our assigned movies, I have to stop and wonder if it’s Doc and Marty’s fault.

Why, you sons of bitches…

So right, you come here for goofy wisecracks about movies, so let me tell you about my depression real quick and then we can get outta here at 88 smiles per hour.

Oof, damn, I’m depressed again. That joke sucked.

Okay… so I’m in a funk. A long-lasting funk that I first reported last month. One of those funky funks that’s difficult to unfunk. I’ve been here twice before in my life; it’s a familiar funk. A funk of stagnation. Not knowing what I want to do next with my life, but knowing that right now is feeling awfully cramped and it’s up to me to tear the roof off the sucker.

Sorry, I got a little funked away there.

Why does nobody leave Hill Valley??? Ugh, there’s a whole world out there! I don’t want to be stuck in my own personal Hill Valley as my future becomes shorter and shorter. Watching these people have their goddamn kids and then their goddamn kids not having the sense to go take a big bite out of life somewhere else… it’s maddening.

Actually, that “kids” part is important. You know where I feel like the rest of my peer group is finding purpose in the world? Having kids. It ain’t for me, and yet every week I’m watching a teenager plead with two people to go make babies, one of which is himself. And I don’t even want to talk about the other side of the coin, which is essentially accidental (and disturbingly efficient) temporal suicide.

This movie’s depressing, isn’t it?

Oh, the existential turmoil!

I love time travel. I love talking about it. I love thinking about it. It’s long been a goal of mine to collect as many time travel films as humanly possible, and I figured this project would be an excuse to finally make that happen. And even if I weren’t doing ridiculous and expensive side projects in the name of keeping my sanity, I love Back to the Future. I know so much about it that this year has been an amazing opportunity to realize that there’s still more to discover. That gives me hope for what life has to offer, man.


Okay, let’s get away from the funk now. Here are some regular ol’ notes.


10:30pm EST, July 6, 2013 – A few minutes after my viewing, I told Cinemanaut Becca, “Say hi to your mom for me.” I meant it with full sincerity, as she was on her way to have lunch with her mom, but everyone present erupted with hoots and hollers that I had accidentally quoted Back to the Future.

9:58am EST, July 10, 2013 – Was estimating how long it would take to read Slaughterhouse-Five and typed to Cinemanaut John: “Four or five hours oughtta do it.” This mentally triggered Marty’s line, “Ten minutes oughtta do it,” and I instinctively deleted that part of the sentence and changed it to “should be enough.”

8:45pm EST, July 11, 2013 – I performed a stand-up comedy routine based partially on my article about Marvin Berry allowing Marty to keep playing even though he ruined “Earth Angel.” I was incredibly nervous because it was the first time I had brought Back to the Future into my material all year and was worried it wouldn’t connect because I knew tiny details that the audience wouldn’t. I don’t even remember how it went. That’s how stressed I was.

6:14pm EST, July 23, 2013 – I unwittingly said, “Look at it rolllllllll!” in the same manner as Sam Baines while I was demonstrating the game Bad Piggies to Cinemanaut Becca.

Now we can play video games while we listen to podcasts!


July 20, 2013
I dreamed I was being interrogated by the police for owning a time machine. When I was finally taken to see the craft in question, it was a bashed up Bill & Ted phone booth. I’ve had more dreams about time travel this year than is typical, yet the time machine is never a DeLorean. Is this because I’ve been diluting the experience with supplemental materials?

July 27, 2013
I had a very long, complicated dream, but all I could remember was fighting off some hoodlums who had burned down a church. I was partnered with a guy named Bob who was played by Patrick Swayze. At one point, he claimed we were looking for “Bob 2.” 1) Was the second Bob a time-traveling version of himself? 2) Back to the Future was written by two guys named Bob. We ended up in an arcade and played a pinball game that was made out of the temporal display from the DeLorean. (And just for good measure, the Swayze and the church-burning clearly came from watching the Darkos Donnie and S.)

Wow, he does look like a “Bob.”


Having watched Top Gun 52 times last year for the first phase of this experiment, I never expected to desire to see it again. I viewed it once this year out of necessity, but other than that, I didn’t think I would ever get close to uttering the phrase, “I want to watch Top Gun.”

So when I actually did… I. Was. Shocked.

On July 10th, 2013, I was crafting the idea for what eventually became my viewing on predatory male sexuality in Back to the Future. When I was first inspired to look into the topic, I thought back to ol’ puss-hound Maverick’s forceful courtship tactics. Having not seen the film in a while, I pondered refreshing my memory of his douche-nugget ways and said, “I want to watch Top Gun and compare it to Back to the–“

And then I needed a minute to shake off what I had just said.

Let me turn this up for ya.

No, I didn’t watch it. But I still wrote a little bit about it, because it’s forever and always in my head.

Oh, also, on July 1, 2013, Cinemanaut Becca and I were talking about Labyrinth and, for some reason, I thought “Top Gun Anthem” was the music in that film’s opening credits. They’re kinda the same. A little bit.

Ugh, seriously, I still feel icky about wanting to watch Top Gun. I need a shower.