Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The day I went to see Back To The Future 2 was the happiest day of my life.

The single greatest day of my childhood was the one on which my dad took my brother and I to see Back To The Future 2. That makes my early years sound like Angela's Ashes and one trip to the cinema was the only respite I got from poverty and a string of dead siblings. Actually, very few of my siblings died (none, come to think of it) and my childhood is something I look back on as 'ok'.

Perhaps you're thinking that that being my fondest childhood memory is a little too convenient considering today is Back To The Future Day and I was trying to think of something to write a blog post about. That's not an unreasonable assumption to make but it is an incorrect one. That day really is, quite possibly, my favourite day of all time.

If my calculations are correct it would have been around Christmas 1989 and I would have been nine. Our family of five (mother, father, three living children) were heading into town to go shopping - OR AT LEAST THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT. One of the few characteristics I had in common with other children was that I hated going shopping. Fenwicks department store in Newcastle gave my legs a tired feeling I am reminded of every time I go to a museum today. One way I would entertain myself would be to hide my arms in my jumper and try to fool strangers into thinking I had missing limbs. In my head it worked.

When we arrived in town it became clear that my mother and my, then one year old, brother were going one way and me, my dad, and my five year old brother were going somewhere else. I asked where. My mum and dad gave each other a look which said to me we might be in for something good. We were.

Back To The Future 2 is a brilliant movie. It seems fashionable to say that only the first one was any good. That is wrong. I fail to see what is bad about either sequel - particularly number 2.

1. You have Michael J Fox being cool. In number 2 there is a scene in which he thwarts Biff's goons in a stairwell by leaping over some handrails in a way that I still wish I could do.

2. The fact that the movie encompasses 2015, 1955, bad 1985 and good 1985 means that we get to see Lea Thompson and Thomas F Wilson parade their forever underrated comic versatility as various ages.

3. Good 1985 and bad 1985! The space time continuum! When Doc explained that Marty had interrupted the space time continuum and created an alternate 1985 that blew my nine year old mind! Wh-wh-wh-whaaaaaaaat?!

4. How that came about - Grays Sports Almanac. The idea that just by knowing all the sports results, someone could build an evil empire that changed the world, was fun. It's also something we need to be vigilant of. I will say though that for a book that supposedly contained every sports result for fifty years it was rather small.

5. Marty returns to the moment in the first movie in which his dad punches Biff and we get to relive it and see Marty actually witness it. Fun! This features a great moment when Marty takes the sports almanac from Biff's unconscious body. A bystander gives a wallet based performance I really enjoy. I enclose it in two short parts here. I don't know why I like it so much.

Now that I've brought up Biff again I should say one thing about the franchise that has bothered me for a long time. I may have mentioned it before. In the first movie, in 1955 in the car, Biff essentially tries to sexually assault, if not rape, Marty's mother. At the end of the movie though, in 1985, he's waxing the family car and there's a whole loveable 'Oh Biff!' vibe. I'm all for leniency but the McFly family's capacity to forgive is incredible.

But that's just a side note. In short, as I have just proved, the movie was incredible. You may remember that it finishes with a trailer for Back To The Future 3. I turned to my dad and asked if we could go and see that when it came out. He said 'Yes'. The secret to happiness is, we are told, something to look forward to and there it was - instant happiness.

On the journey home my dad pretended our Ford Cortina was the DeLorean as we shouted 'We gotta get to 88mph!'. Speed cameras weren't common place in those days and he was able to do just that. Parenting. When we got home my brother and I shouted 'Marty! Doc!' at each other for two hours and went to bed happy.

I challenge the birth of any children I may have to beat that day.

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