The Future Is Now

Back to the Future turned 30 years old this year. And October 21, 2015 is the future date Marty, Doc, and Jennifer travel to at the beginning of BTTF 2 (although Doc probably travels to 10/26/15 first). So right now the world is exploding with BTTF celebrations.

This is one of my favorite movies – I think it had perfect pacing, perfect casting, a perfect script. And Crispin Glover. And a Delorean ... which is a time machine.  Someone deserves a prize for thinking that one up. 

This, the week of the Back to the Futureverse 1985 future, is only happening once. So I only briefly tore my hair out with indecision before rearranging my finances to find $200 for a ticket to Back to the Future Film School, the last day of the We’re Going Back event.  I wish I could be rich and unemployed this week (I'm working on a show about time traveling teens!) so I could go to the whole thing, but I’m happy with what I was able to get – Sunday should be the best day for me: a full day of panels on the car design, editing, cinematography and so on, and then a screening of the original film at Puente Hills (aka Twin Pines / Lone Pine Mall) with some “surprises” (which I can only hope is code for a Delorean accelerating to 88 mph in the mall parking lot and then vanishing in a trail of fire).

Much has been written about the cast members who for various reasons were replaced with other actors during the filming of the trilogy.  First, pretty boy Eric Stoltz was originally cast as Marty McFly, and they were well into shooting the film before he was deemed a little too serious for the role and replaced with Michael J. Fox, necessitating reshoots of all of his scenes. And neither Claudia Wells (Jennifer Parker) nor Crispin Glover (George McFly) agreed to appear in BTTF 2 or 3, so George McFly was cobbled together with existing footage and an actor wearing prosthetics (for which Crispin Glover later sued), and Claudia was replaced with Elizabeth Shue. The last scene of BTTF was reprised for BTTF 2 as its sole purpose in the first place was to set the audience up for a sequel (that I’m going to propose no one had written yet at the time that scene was penned, since most of BTTF 2 has nothing to do with Jennifer & Marty’s kids and the story plays out kind of like “oh crap, we have to do something with the kids before we get into it, since we said so in the last movie”); said sequel segues from the first film with an overlap of that scene. In other words, the scene at the end of BTTF with Claudia Wells playing JP was repeated at the start of BTTF 2 with Elizabeth Shue as JP. They weren’t trying to fool anybody. But they did mimic the scene shot by shot, like Weird Al Yankovic’s “Eat It” and James Franco / Seth Rogen’s parody of that awful Kanye West video with Kim Kardashian on the motorcycle.

Ok, I’ll include it.

Anyway, the thing that fascinates me most about all this role swapping in Back the the Future is that the costumers were unable to find another pair of Jennifer Parker’s pants for the repeated scene.

At best, that's the acid wash variant. Maybe just pink pants with some plants drawn on.

Also they’ve done something terrible with Elizabeth Shue’s hair, but to be fair it was the ‘80s and there was nearly nothing un-terrible done to anybody’s hair.

‘80s hair:

This was a thing to behold. Bangs curling out and then downward and also another set of bangs going upwards. I remember girls coming to school with their bangs blowdried and hairsprayed in both directions but the rest of their (permed) hair still wet because what happened to it was irrelevant. My friend Scott used to refer to this as the "tree branch" hairdo. It was really a very exciting version of a girl mullet. No one wore hats in the winter. The hair was the main event.

Elizabeth Shue doesn't look that bad by comparison.

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