Welcome to the (un)official links page for all things Back to the Future as of October 12, 2015 — 100 links/videos in all, numbered like (this). All our love to (1) Futurepedia, the (un)official wiki of Back to the Future — and a great place to start if you want names, dates, and basic background information — but nowhere does it provide a list of resources that’s even close to this one.
Always best to start by putting on this music (2):
We have to come out and say it: Alan Silvestri’s music from “Back to the Future” is the best instrumental, melodic music ever written specifically for a movie. No, wait, that’s not enough. Try this: if Alan Silvestri’s great-great-grandfather Seamus Silvestri had written this music in 1885, someone would have had to invent the entire film industry just so this music would have somewhere to work its greatest possible magic.
Funnyordie.com knows this; that’s why they posted (3) this right here.
And here’s (4) Alan Silvestri talking to nerdist about the score (I could read this all day).
For the sake of musical completeness, we’ll just leave “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News right here (presumably for you to retrieve later) (5):
Whenever you’re done with that #1 song, what’s a walk through Hill Valley without “Back in Time” by Huey Lewis and the News? (6)
Speaking of that phrase, there’s a (7) kickstarter project for a movie called Back in Time which will be released on Amazon and in some theaters on October 21, 2015. Here’s the (8) link for amazon, and here’s their (9) official website. Here’s their trailer (10):
Here’s (11) weregoingback.com, which is organizing a big party for the anniversary and donating proceeds to TeamFox, for research into Parkinson’s disease. The site is a lot of fun.
Michael J. Fox’s official (12) Foundation for Parkinson’s Research is also getting into the game and that’s absolutely awesome.
While we’re at it, here’s (13) tothefuture.org, allied with Team Fox and also doing great work to fight Parkinson’s.
This is Universal’s (14) backtothefuture.com. Lot of good stuff there. (15) This is their instagram. Here’s their trailer for their new merch, which is very reasonably priced by BTTF2 standards! (16):
BTTF2 predicted many things, but probably not that Universal Studios would have the greatest year of any studio, ever. What I like about that situation is that Universal has the money to cover things like Lloyd playing Doc Brown again (17):
And a very, very hip (ha ha) guy who wants to sell you a hoverboard (18):
And even a fake trailer for Jaws 19 (19 – nice, eh):
This clip of the Universal ride is the next best thing to being there. Boy, that Biff sure is a jerk, huh? (20)
This Lego BTTF may well be the best clip here. Not sure why I saved it until now (21):
Brokeback to the Future is never not hilarious, and in this case it’s a fun musical interlude (22):
Toyota is bringing out a new hydrogen-powered car, and they got Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd to sit down and talk about BTTF predictions for 2015:
Which plays more like an episode of this.
It’s not just Fox and Lloyd; everyone’s talking about what BTTF2 got right about 2015, and what it didn’t. Often forgotten: Bob Gale and Bob Zemeckis, in their script for BTTF2, were prioritizing humor over rigorous fortune-telling abilities. They are not here for stock tips, unless you want your stock portfolio to be funny. Nonetheless, here are just four articles about that topic: (25) The Guardian here, (26) Caseen Gaines here (in Vanity Fair), (27) Newsweek here, and (28) qz.com here with a more tech-style outlook.
Just for fun, here’s (29) a link to Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s tweet where he tells followers that we must root for the Cubs in this postseason to fulfill the prophecy from BTTF2. Bob Gale (30) discusses the same subject here. What no one notes is that BTTF2 very cleverly doesn’t predict the Cubs first World Series win since 1908 (the word “long-awaited” was coined for the always-desperate Cubs) – how could Gale and Zemeckis have known the frustration would continue for 26 more years? (Or…more? Let’s hope not.) #teamofdensity
Uh, they did (31):
Speaking of trivia, here are the imdb pages for (32) BTTF, (33) BTTF2, (34) BTTF3, and even the (35) BTTF TV cartoon. Futurepedia treats the latter as canonical, but that’s controversial in some quarters; there are fans who feel that the proper DeLorean time machine can move only through time but not space (in the cartoon the DeLorean moves instantly between continents, like Doctor Who’s TARDIS). As of this writing, the original film is #47 on imdb’s Top 250 best films.
Honestly, the (36) imdb trivia page for BTTF is probably the best place to learn little pieces of random information that accentuate the BTTF experience. Listicle sites will blare “20 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT BACK TO THE FUTURE!” but the imdb page has 200 items – probably as many as anyone needs. So no, I won’t pad my blog post’s link count with a lot of lists that make me want to make like a tree, and get out of here.
Everyone’s favorite item: when President Ronald Reagan screened the film at the White House during the summer of its release, the President and everyone were laughing so hard at the line “Ronald Reagan? The actor?!” that Reagan laughingly asked if they could play it again. They rewound the projector and did so. Reagan always said he loved the film, and, during his 1986 State of the Union speech, he said “Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” (There’s a grim irony to that line, because it came during a speech which was postponed for a week after the Challenger space-shuttle disaster.)
Now that you’ve got your trivia, how about a quiz? (49) This one’s heavy.
Here are (52) “13 insane fan theories” from AV Club.
And an even better one — (53) here’s io9 on why Doc is the real villain.
(54) Here’s a Q&A that Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis did in 1990. It’s kind of funny to compare that to the one (55) Gale did in 2015 for CNN, 25 years later, to see which questions recur. I guess history does repeat itself.
(56) Here’s an undated interview with Gale, Zemeckis and Spielberg that’s a good read.
This version of the Eric Stoltz discussion includes footage that proves that Stoltz is actually in BTTF (57):
(58) Here and (59) here Crispin Glover reveals a few things about money and other conflicts with the BTTF team. Universal did eventually settle with him for $765,000 (according to Imdb trivia) and crucial precedent was set for actors’ control of their images in franchises. That’s one big reason that these days, actors are signed to three-movie deals, or not signed at all.
If you want to watch “Inside the Actors Studio” with Michael J. Fox, the BTTF portion is from about 18:00 to 21:20 here (60):
and here’s one from Family Guy (62):
and what the heck, Seth McFarlane is a fan (he read the novelization, as did I), so here’s one more from his show (63):
Here’s gameplay for BTTF Episode 1 –
Gotta say, that officially licensed music really ties it all together. More such gameplays are easily findable on youtube – didn’t want to pad the link list too much.
If you’ve got more time than even a time machine permits, revisit the locations of BTTF 30 years later. (Is this guy serious, has he really seen the film 1000 times? Okay, that number beats me, I’ll admit.) (68)
Here’s a fanmade Back to the Future 4 which I wish was a little better (71):
Here’s a CollegeHumor joke about Marty and Lorraine which is technically NSFW (72):
This very fan-recap-site-flavored doc is also NSFW just because of language (73):
When Universal released the 25th anniversary DVD, there were some extras. This being the internet, of course they’re here by now. The officially sanctioned blooper reel from BTTF (which may or may not show wonderful sensitivity to Latin@ culture) (74):
Here’s a deleted scene. Hey, the more Crispin Glover, the merrier (77):
A scene deleted because they felt including his brother without his sister would be confusing (the actress playing his sister was pregnant) (78):
They deleted Old Biff disappearing because it was going to be confusing – though for some “purists” it explains a lot (more on that below) (79):
There are, of course, many more such scenes that will pop up if you search for “BTTF deleted scenes” on youtube. Didn’t want to pad the list, again.
The one and only (80) Back to the Future podcast. Niice.
Here’s an adobe expert (81) explaining how to create a hoverboard effect in post.
Here’s Bobby Hundreds with Bob Gale (82):
And (83) the transcript of the above interview. Click there and you’ll see I could have put at least five more BTTF links from his site about all the time Bobby has been hanging with the Nike-BTTF people. But I’ll let you find that for yourself.
Callum Preston’s DIY (84) Bootleg to the Future looks extremely outstanding. Maybe the best thing I can say about it is that all the contributions look even better than this:
(85) This is the link to the 30th anniversary trilogy DVD set on amazon.
(86) This is the link to the flux capacitor version, also on amazon. It has all the cartoon episodes.
(87) This is the link to Michael Klastorin and Randal Atamaniuk’s Visual History on amazon.
(88) This is the link to the only academic collection of essays, on amazon, “The Worlds of Back to the Future: Critical Essays on the Films.” This is for those of you who want the absolute deepest possible dive into backtothefutureiana.
(89) This is the link to Caseen Gaines’ 2015 book “We Don’t Need Roads” on amazon – a lot of great, authorized, behind-the-scenes stuff.
(90) This is the link to Norman Kagan’s “The Cinema of Robert Zemeckis” on amazon.
(91) Here’s one of the first academic essays about BTTF, “Back to the Future: Oedipus as Time Traveller,” by Andrew Gordon, who foregrounds the playfulness about incest at the heart of the film’s appeal: “Through comedy, the film successfully combines and defuses contemporary American anxieties about time travel and incest. It is the first SF film to make explicit the incestuous possibilities that have always been at the heart of our fascination with time travel. Back to the Future both provides a comic resolution to an œdipal crisis and reinforces the traditional American belief that history can change, that time and human character are malleable.” (JSTOR subscription required.)
(92) This is the link to Andrew Shail and Robin Stoate’s “BFI Classics: Back to the Future” book on amazon, a nice short one. Shail and Stoate discuss the “time-sense of cinema” and how BTTF “undertakes a vigorous assertion of the time-sense of classical cinema.” No flashbacks, no overt tricks, just a steady march forward (from Marty’s perspective). Time is obviously a major theme and also a sort of expression of the film’s ideology. It’s also nice to learn that the Marty-Doc relationship was premised on Beaver-Gus from Leave It to Beaver.
Emma Pett’s entire essay – and it’s a good one – is here (93): “Hey Hey, I’ve Seen This One, I’ve Seen This One. It’s a classic.”: Nostalgia, repeat viewing and cult performance in Back to the Future.
(94) Here’s a fascinating read, namely David Wittenberg’s “Oedipus Multiplex, or the The Subject as a Time-Travel Film,” which offers the following (very academic) summary of itself:
[D]espite the brevity of most critical employments of Back to the Future, the film’s conventional role as historical exemplar reveals a number of peculiarities or complications, some of which are themselves worthy of further scrutiny. Indeed, like many targets of popular culture criticism, the film tends to be interpreted as a sign of something quite a bit more complex than itself: a symptom or encrypted signifier of both the ingenuousness and the anxiety of a late modern epoch endeavoring simultaneously to recuperate and to forget its troubled recent past. Sobchack goes as far as to describe Back to the Future as a kind of incipient therapeutic dialogue, productively moving “toward a form of ideological hysteria—the ‘political unconscious’ of American bourgeois patriarchy teetering on the brink of babbling itself to consciousness and, perhaps, a cure.”6 But the problem of analyzing Back to the Future, at such a moment, becomes the dilemma of squaring its all-too-obvious surface with its all-too-latent interior. In other words, how does the theorist reconcile the seemingly extreme ideological straightforwardness of the text with the complexity of the representational processes through which texts like this one are seen to embody their historical moments? One may conjecture that the discrepancy between straightforwardness and complexity here is less a manifestation of the film’s own ambivalence, than of the gap between popular viewing and academic critical interpretation themselves, that is to say, between what a mainstream audience sees at the film’s putative surface, and what the academic theorist discovers within its symptomatic depth. If, after thoughtful observations such as Sobchack’s, there remain any psychological or ideological contents still to be revealed in Back to the Future, I would like to reveal them not simply in light of the film’s own dubious philosophical commitments, but rather alongside the very mode of straightforwardness with which the film presents those same contents, a banality that in itself is a much greater source of difficulty for cultural theory than any specific psycho-social or socio-political representation. (Project MUSE subscription required.)
Susan Jeffords on Doc Brown (not a link, just way interesting):
“For who is Doc Brown other than Ronald Reagan himself? He has allied himself with technology in the name of progress; survived an assassination attempt (at the hands of Reagan’s chief targets, the Libyans!); acted as a surrogate father; turned to science-fiction tales for his inspirations (Doc’s childhood reading led him to want to build a time machine; Reagan’s viewing of The Day the Earth Stood Still led him to envision his own Star Wars program); fought a future filled with crime, drugs, and idleness; enabled a dysfunctional lower class family to improve its wealth and social status; returned an American family to its values of nurturance and success; and found his own personal history not in the hothouse parlors of the East but in the open spaces of the Wild West. Ranging over history, apparently in control of time, Ronald Reagan and Doc Brown come to stand as surrogate fathers, supplying symbolic leadership to a generation of youth whose futures seemed to have opened up by their visions of technological wizardry and moral instruction. Both, by the end of the decade, seem to have gone beyond time itself, to have left the limitations of history and entered into the realm of fantasy, glory, and dreams.”
Here’s (95) Jamil Smith in the New Republic on BTTF then and now.
Here’s (96) Christopher Campbell in Film School Rejects to tell you what to watch after you’re done with BTTF.
I kind of love (97) backtothefutureminute.com even though I don’t understand it.
Here’s Roger Ebert’s (100) original review.
(101) Here’s the commonsensemedia review for you parents that do that sort of thing. Surprisingly forgiving on the incest, I’d say.
(102)Here’s whennerdscollide‘s podcast about the trilogy.
Here’s (103) The Bow Bar, who are having a BTTF night on 21 October with six, count them six, BTTF-themed beers, as well as a DeLorean and all the proceeds going to Parkinson’s research. Nice!
Here’s (104) DJs celebrating and giving stuff away.
(107) Here’s Faisal al Yafai on the Middle East then and now. Kinda surprised he didn’t touch on BTTF’s supposed anti-Muslim racism, as covered by Jack Shaheen here from about 12:00 to 12:45 (108):
Rocket League Car Pack Teaser (109):
Where would Beavis have been without Butt-Head? And where would Butt-Head have been without this (110):
(P.S. Thomas F. Wilson improv’d “butt-head” in the first movie. I think Mike Judge owes him some royalties, somehow.)
This video is for fans of BTTF and X-Men (111):
What if you had to make a DeLorean out of Legos? (112)
Great Scott! That almost happened to the original, until these guys came along. (113)
If you google “magazine ads for watches” and look under images, you will see that almost every single timepiece is set to a time between 10:07 and 10:10. (130) For whatever reason Madison Avenue long ago decided that’s the most aesthetically pleasing time to look at. The clock tower, frozen at 10:04, is sort of a strange promise of tomorrow, not utterly unlike a model in a bathing suit: a forever promise that in a few minutes, we’ll be at climax.
READY TO GO SHOPPING YET? Let’s flux those credit cards:
Okay, the new vinyl looks (115) amazing.
Not sure how buzzfeed got (116) this list of 21 amazing BTTF items on Etsy, but this is retail for the deep-dive fan all right.
(117) This site features some of the best BTTF merch. Plus I like that the home page is a millennium-style clock ticking to you-know-when.
(118) There’s a huge auction of BTTF stuff at screenused.com. Many of the backtothefuture.com tweets eventually send you here.
If you’re gonna get just one (119) flux capacitor, you could do worse than this one.
Speaking of instagram, (122) This is an instagram photo from Nice Kicks that suggests you-know-what shoes are coming. WE WILL UPDATE THIS SPACE! As of now, yes, you can (123) buy shoes that look like Marty’s in 2015 in BTTF2. No, they don’t (124) self-lace yet.
(125) This is kind of a great catalog of stuff, from a comic-book perspective. Looks fantastic.
(126) This is the story on the new comic book, revealed in July. We don’t know much yet, but we do know it will look something like this:
More on how comic book fans can win free BTTF stuff is here.
Also, brace yourself to check out (128) all of Marty and Doc’s costumes.
Here’s (129) Universal’s official site’s connection to BTTF, just in case someone wants that.
Some funny promos for BTTF TV marathons. ITV… (130)
…and Esquire network (love this editing) (131)
The popular (132) Jetpack Joyride video game has a licensed Back to the Future edition. This trailer is almost better than playing it (133):
College Humor takes Marty and Doc to the real 2015, with humorous results (134):
Toyota, the maker of the car I own, has more (135) here.
Regal Entertainment is doing some 1-day-only screenings. Get tickets (136) here.
You want memes? Of course, anyone can create a meme. But okay, fine, here are some:
I accept that dare.
Breaking news? (137) Hoverboards are coming?
How great is this? (138)
Matt Zoller Seitz is his usual amount of brilliant right here.
NOTE: I will try to keep up as Universal and others roll out new links.
Okay, want to see videos of kids reviewing the series? (139) Here you go.
Here’s some related fun:
Speaking of childish reactions, there have been way too many articles and supercuts about paradoxes and problems with the trilogy. It would be nice if some of them suggested how the filmmakers might have done things differently. That’s where I pick things up in (150) Let’s Talk Back to the Future Part II.
– Daniel Smith-Rowsey