As sort of introduction of myself to my hopefully multitude of fans and future readers I thought I'd give a little insight to who I am and what I love. No more revealing way to introduce a movie blog is to reveal your favorite film of all time.
My love for cinema was fueled as a child on the antiquated medium of the 80's and 90's, VHS.
My uncle Jody was sort of a VCR pirate and loved illegally recording movies from HBO and Cinemax. When I would visit my grandparents which was almost daily I'd search scour through his vast plunder of VHS booty that he would leave at my grandparents house for me to watch.
As a child of the 90's growing up during the Disney renaissance most of my favorite movies were animated. At age 7, my most beloved movie up to that point was a non-Disney animated feature by the Holy Trinity of Spielberg, Lucas and Kennedy called The Land Before Time
Being the Mama's boy that I was (and still am) The Land Before Time was an emotional roller coaster that truly resonated with me. Littlefoot, the films protagonist is a "Longneck" herbivore dinosaur that's born during an intense drought at the end of the cretaceous period. It's a desperate time for Longnecks and they are on a great migration to an Oasis called the Great Valley. Littlefoot isn't worried though because he's got his Mama and his Grandparents so it's all good. That is until an asshole T-Rex attacks Littlefoot when he's out playing and his mom has to protect him during an epic fight during an "Earthshake'. Littlefoots mom pushes the ass hole T-Rex off a cliff during the fray but she sustains some serious dino-damage and dies right in front of Littlefoot. This gave me an irrational fear of T-Rex's and my step-dad named Cliff. So, Littlefoot teams up with other leaf eating dinosaur species who have been kept apart for generations under some weird cretaceous Jim Crow segregation and make the emotional journey to the Great Valley.
I'd basically cry through the entire movie to be honest. I'd cry when Littlefoot's mom dies, I'd cry when the other dinosaurs became friends, I'd cry when Littlefoots Mom shows up in the form of a ghost cloud and tells Littlefoot "hey I'm still dead but the Great Valley is like right over there". I'd especially cry at the end when that stupid song about clouds and James Horner's score would play over the credits. My mom was always so perplexed when I would approach her red faced, teary eyed and snotty and say "Can I watch it again?'
I was convinced at age 7 no movie would ever usurp The Land Before Time as my favorite movie....EVER
Then one rainy day at my grandparents I was searching through Uncle Jody's VHS treasures for my next animated adventure when Jody handed me a tape entitled Back To The Future. The irony of the title was lost on my even year old mind and I'm not even sure I knew what the word future even meant. I was uninterested so I kept searching.
Apparently this offended my Uncle Jody because this was one of his favorite movies. So he pitched me his high pitched southern synopsis and I tuned him out like Andy Griffith ignores Barney Fife. But alas, as it would happen from time to time Jody's stubbornness prevailed and I reluctantly agreed to watch the first ten minutes of Back To The Future.
My plan was simple, ignore the movie, draw dinosaurs in my notebook and eventually Jody would leave in frustration and I'd watch FernGully again.
By the time Jody rewound the tape I was already half way through my first dinosaur drawing. As fate would have it I glanced up at the screen just at the right time to see the words that forever changed my perception of BTTF.
Steven Spielberg Presents.......
Whoa!! That's the guy who produced the Land Before Time! I didn't know what a producer was (still not %100 sure) but I did know it was important. That grabbed my fragile seven year old ADD inflicted attention span long enough to see Marty overload the amplifier. By then I was hooked.
Some of the time travel concepts went over my head a little and almost all of the sexual innuendo. It didn't matter, the idea of time travel was so fascinating and the relatability to the characters made it tangible to even a little kid like I was. The characters are so rich that you almost instantly care about them and the script is almost perfect. I couldn't help but think about how scared I would be if I had been sent through time and in danger of losing my very existence.
The climax of the movie had me on the edge of my seat like no film since. Marty had to make his two very different parents fall in love despite his mothers incestual advances, Biff's constant intervention and his fathers weakness and insecurity to prevent he and his siblings from disappearing into oblivion.Then race lightning to the clocktower to create 1.21 gigawatts of electricity or else he would be stuck in 1955 with a kooky doctor who likes hanging out with high school boys. At seven years old I was like whoa, this is heavy.
At the end of the film, Marty awakes early enough to enjoy brunch at his newly refurbished home with his much healthier, wealthier and more successful family. He sees his father receive a copy of his first novel and is given keys to his brand new shiny black Toyota 4x4 freshly waxed by the family's old nemesis Biff. I learned the moral of the story is that if you put your mind to it you can accomplish anything.... and that any journey of self exploration should be rewarded with tons of money, a new truck and means to make your old enemies your whimpering servants.
As the film ended I looked at my uncle Jody and gave the Back To the Future the highest compliment a film can receive from a child of the 90's, the Palm D'or if you will. I said "rewind the tape"
Halfway through my second watching I came to a bittersweet understanding. The Land Before Time was no longer my favorite film, it was Back To The Future. One of the central themes of Back To The Future is time. I think it's appropriate that the cinematic obsessed era of my life before I watched Back To The Future was ruled by a film called the Land Before Time. Don't get me wrong The Land Before Time still holds a special place in my heart and always will, but that era is now pre-historic and Doc's DeLorean crashed into my psyche like a gigantic meteorite making Littlefoot and his friends extinct. My drawing notebooks were no longer filed with dinosaurs but with DeLoreans and guys in life preservers on Hoverboards.
23 years later, Back To The Future is still my favorite film and has been for so long that I doubt any film can make me relinquish that place in my heart. You can imagine how excited I was when my Uncle Jody approached me a month later with a brand new VHS treasure.
The title was Back To The Future Part II.