Back to the Future (1985)
For no specific reason other than it was something to do I spent a good six hours flipping back and forth between CNN and MSNBC on Monday when I was laying around my mother's house. One of the big news stories of the day - and I suppose the story continues - was the Lockerbie bomber being released because of colon cancer and sent home to Libya to much home-fanfare and much international outrage.
Well much to my cinema-addled shame all this made me think of was Back to the Future.
Dr. Emmett Brown: Oh, my God, they found me, I don't know how, but they found me. Run for it Marty.
Marty McFly: Who? Who?
Dr. Emmett Brown: Who do you think? The Libyans.
Marty McFly: Holy shit!
Holy shit indeed. A couple of thoughts on this scene. First off, Christopher Lloyd is hysterical. I'd forgotten how iconic a role this was and how incredibly funny he was in it. Every frame I took of him was gold. Comically flailing gold. Which makes his "death" all the more harsh - this sweet, silly man is blown to bits! It's horrible, and it makes me wonder if many movies of this sort - a fun time-twisting comedy - would have the balls these days to be so brutal right at the start. It's a magic balancing act that Zemeckis pulls off here and it fuels the entire film.
Speaking of this being a "death" scene though... time travel logic, as it generally stands, says that he doesn't actually die in this scene, right? Marty goes back and fixes everything with that letter he gives Doc in the Fifties, so when the film finishes and we see this part reenacted and Doc Brown's wearing the bulletproof vest, that's how this scene is playing out here at the start too, right?
Dagnabit with the time loops, they confuse me. And lastly, rewatching this now has reminded me, as it always does, of what an enormous crush I had on Michael J. Fox back in this period. So cute. Which brings us to the following moment, forever crystallized in my deepest subconsciousness:
Previous Ways Not To Die: Axe Me No Questions -- Pin the Chainsaw on the Prostitute -- The Wrath of the Crystal Unicorn -- The Ultimate Extreme Make-Over -- Drown In A Sink Before The Opening Credits Even Roll -- The Dog Who Knew Too Much -- Don't Die Over Spilled Milk -- Inviting the Wrath of Aguirre -- An Inconceivable Outwitting -- The Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique -- Nipple Injected Blue Junk -- Your Pick Of The Deadly Six -- Thing Hungry -- Don't Fuck With The Serial Killer's Daughter -- DO Forget To Add The Fabric Softener -- Any Of The Ways Depicted In This Masterpiece Of Lost Cinema -- Rode Down In The Friscalating Dusklight -- Good Morning, Sunshine! -- Mornin' Cuppa Drano -- The Cylon-Engineered Apocalypse -- Tender-Eye-zed -- Martian Atmospheric Asphyxiation -- Maimed By A Mystical Person-Cat -- The Sheets Are Not To Be Trusted -- Handicapable Face-Hacked -- I Did It For You, Faramir -- Summertime In The Park... Of A Pedophile's Mind -- A Vengeful Elevator God: Part 3 -- Strung Up With Festive Holiday Bulbs By Santa Claus Himself -- A Vengeful Elevator God: Part 2 -- A Vengeful Elevator God: Part 1 -- Decapitated Plucked Broiled & Sliced -- Head On A Stick! -- A Trip To The Ol' Wood-Chipper -- Pointed By The T-1000 -- Sucking Face With Freddy Krueger -- A Pen-Full Of Home-Brewed Speed to The Eye -- Motivational Speech, Interrupted -- A Freak Ephemera Storm -- When Ya Gotta Go... Ya Gotta Go -- Hoisted By Your Own Hand Grenade -- Having The Years Suction-Cupped Away -- Criss-Cross -- Turned Into A Person-Cocoon By The Touch Of A Little Girl's Mirror Doppleganger -- Satisfying Society's "Pop Princess" Blood-Lust -- Done In By The Doggie Door -- Tuned Out -- Taking the 107th Step -- Rescuing Gretchen -- Incinerated By Lousy Dialogue -- Starred & Striped Forever -- Vivisection Via Vaginally-Minded Barbed-Wire -- Chompers (Down There) -- Run Down By M. Night Shyamalan -- Everything Up To And Including The Kitchen Toaster -- Sacrificed To Kali -- Via The Gargantuan Venom Of The Black Mamba Snake -- Turned Into An Evil Robot -- The Out-Of-Nowhere Careening Vehicle Splat -- "Oh My God... It's Dip!!!" -- Critter Balled -- Stuff'd -- A Hot-Air Balloon Ride... Straight To Hell!!! -- Puppy Betrayal -- High-Heeled By A Girlfriend Impersonator -- Flip-Top Beheaded -- Because I'm Too Goddamned Beautiful To Live -- By Choosing... Poorly... -- Fried Alive Due To Baby Ingenuity -- A Good Old-Fashioned Tentacle Smothering -- Eepa! Eepa! -- Gremlins Ate My Stairlift -- An Icicle Thru The Eye -- Face Carved Off By Ghost Doctor After Lesbian Tryst With Zombie Women -- Electrocuted By Fallen Power-Lines -- A Mouthful Of Flare -- Taken By The TV Lady -- Bitten By A Zombie -- Eaten By Your Mattress -- Stuffed To Splitting -- Face Stuck In Liquid Nitrogen -- Crushed By Crumbling Church Debris -- Bitten By The Jaws Of Life -- A Machete To The Crotch -- Showering With A Chain-Saw -- In A Room Filled With Razor Wire -- Pod People'd With Your Dog -- Force-Fed Art -- Skinned By A Witch -- Beaten With An Oar -- Curbed -- Cape Malfunction -- In The Corner -- Cooked In A Tanning Bed -- Diced -- Punched Through The Head -- Bugs Sucking On Your Head
For years after this movie, my brother and I called Volkswagen microbus vans "Libyan vans." I really feel like the culture should have followed our lead on that one.
Little doubt, the dude is completely fair.
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