On Wednesday a massive packaged arrived in the mail, it was a poster frame. I had brought it to house one of the best movie posters of all time, the film encased in the frame is one of my most favourite films ever and that evening I was getting the chance to see it on the big screen for the first time.
My local Odeon has now gone up in my estimations, because all this week they have been showing modern classic’s on the big screen for one night only, and I was never going to pass on the chance to see a childhood favourite in it full glory.
My love of this film started one rainy Sunday afternoon on ITV, I remember asking if I would be able to eat my roast on the living room carpet, as I was so engrossed in the film I couldn’t pull myself away from the telly. The next weekend a boring trip to the garden centre became a worthwhile trip when I and my sister found a VHS in a bargain bin. We would watch the video when home and wait for the next weekend’s trip to the garden centre so we could grab the next instalment. This was the first film I remember falling in love with.
Back To The Future is simply among the most perfect, crowd-pleasing films of all time.It’s an easy fact to forget, mind. Sure, pretty much everyone who’s seen it will remember that it’s great, but it’s not until seeing it back in a theatrical environment, removed from most people’s usual context of catching two-thirds of it while slumped, bloated on a Boxing Day sofa, that it becomes apparent just how expertly crafted it is. It’s in possession of one of those scripts that simply does not waste a line. Every little nuance matters and every detail, large or small, has thought put into it. (Everyone spots Twin Pines Mall becoming Lone Pine Mall, but did you ever catch that the drunken bum on the bench has the same name, “Red”, as 1955’s mayor
Another thing that’s often overlooked is the surprisingly dark undercurrent it possesses at times. Again, the fact that its central notion essentially involves a guy getting caught in a love triangle with his mum has been endlessly discussed (and presented a particular headache for promoters, also leading to the script being turned down by Disney).
Strikingly, it’s career-best work for everybody. No, literally everybody onscreen, one of those wonderfully rare examples of a film so good you know everyone’s having to raise their game just to stay on terms. Fox is magnificently appealing, no small feat given his character’s early cockiness, but he’s basically Ferris Bueller without the punchability. And in Doc Brown, Christopher Lloyd creates a trope figure so iconic it’s hard to believe he was basically the first example of it.
The film’s also practically a textbook lesson in the art of the set piece. We know them all by heart, but it doesn’t make each one any less thrilling. Johnny Be Goode remains an utter joy, the clock tower finale is still nail-biting, and nearly three decades on, Crispin Glover’s triumphant punch still moved the auditorium to cheers.Irrespective of its status as a family blockbuster, or as a ‘genre’ film, it’s not overstating it to say that Back To The Future is simply a masterpiece of cinema, full stop.
Back To The Future turned me back into that little child again on Wednesday evening, even though it was midnight in a darkled cinema, I could have swore I was sitting on my living room floor letting my roast go cold as I stared at the screen in pure unadulterated joy.