Back to the Summer – Movies and Music

Most universities’ regular classes ended yesterday signalling the first signs of summer freedom (ok, there are still exams left) for countless thousands of students nationwide.  Alice Cooper, beach visits, and barbecues.  Unfortunately, I’m sick, so my first day off has been spent inside with a box of Kleenex and a blanket.  My summer preview will have to wait.

Last night, as my friends went out to hear Stars and do other end-of-year celebrations, I moped about groggy from a final week of one-nighters, tired and sneezing, and watched  Spielberg’s 1985 classic Back to the Future starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd.  The time-travelling comedy is probably my favourite movie to come out of the 1980’s and I’ve watched it countless numbers of times including once at an outdoor theatre.Not only is this a great quotable movie (“Last night, Darth Vader came down from Planet Vulcan and told me that if I didn’t take Lorraine out, that he’d melt my brain,” “Let’s see if these bastards can do 90,” and “Roads?  Where we’re going, we don’t need roads!” being my favourites) but it is also features great music.  A bit of a fan-spoiler here: it isn’t Fox actually playing the guitar, he had a coach to make it look realistic.  Also, he wasn’t even supposed to be in the movie!  Eric Stoltz (MaskCaprica, and recent regular director of Glee) shot for four weeks before being replaced by a recently-freed up Fox.

Eric Stoltz as Marty McFly with Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future’s first shooting attempt.

The sweeping score by Alan Silvestri is exactly what a Spielberg film needs (and always seems to have) even though the film isn’t necessarily epic.  The best part, of course, is the involvement of Huey Lewis and the News, bringing 80’s dance rock classics to Marty’s crazy life.

It’s amazing isn’t it?  It’s a good thing Universal Records didn’t accept their first attempt at the theme song…  And while Marty’s solo with Marvin Berry and the Starlighters may not have been much more than Hollywood magic, the legacy it created is pure magic.

Like skateboarding and the time-travelling DeLorean, this movie made an impact on popular culture (did I mention US President Reagan used the “we don’t need roads” quote in his 1986 State of the Union address?).  One of my favourites has to be Said The Whale‘s tribute.  This Vancouver band recreated the 1955 high school dance scene in their song  “Lines.”  Unlike Marty who says the song’s in B and then plays in B flat, Said the Whale gets it right in C, and guitarist Tyler Bancroft does a pretty ‘heavy’ job of the acting.  I also love the great adaptation of Buddy Holly instead of Chuck Berry being on the other end of the telephone, it’s a good shout out to their musical heroes.  If you haven’t seen this movie trilogy, go watch it.  And enjoy “Lines” by Said The Whale.

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