The yearning for the days of youth can be an all-too-familiar theme as we grow older. Life’s simplicity was taken for granted during a time when we held no responsibilities and didn’t worry about such things as working in a poor economy or getting injured playing a game of basketball. We often wish we could’ve stayed a certain age forever or travel back in time to do it all again. Although there’s no Fountain of Youth, the magic of movies can help transport us down “Memory Lane,” allowing us to escape to the age of innocence…even if it is only for a few hours. So I’m hitching a ride on Doc Brown’s Delorean to relive the first time I experienced Robert Zemeckis’ Academy Award-winning film―Back to the Future.
At the age of eight, my 4-year-old sister and I were invited to our next-door neighbor’s house to watch the latest VHS rental from Captain Video. We sat on a sectional sofa with the four members of the D’Antonio family in their family room with the 20-inch-tube television. Once the movie started I might have blinked only twice. I fell in love with this movie that night. The likeable characters, the well-written story, the hip ’80s music and the stunning visuals left me completely awestruck and craving more after reading “To Be Continued…” at the end. I also know it was the first time I heard a swear word in a film, which led to me getting into trouble by repeating a certain Marty McFly line. Up until this point, Star Wars and The Wizard of Oz had been the only repeat viewings in my movie life, but that was about to change. In the following weeks I rented Back to the Future more than six times with multiple viewings for each one.
Back to the present day, where I’ve discovered some very interesting stories based on the making of the film. I came across my favorite piece of information while reading Lucky Man, the Michael J. Fox autobiography. Mr. Fox was Universal’s top choice for the film, but they hired Eric Stoltz after Gary Goldberg (producer of the sitcom Family Ties) didn’t pass the script along for Fox to read. After a few months of shooting, though, Zemeckis and Spielberg realized Stoltz wasn’t right for the job and were willing to re-shoot all his scenes if Fox signed on. Goldberg saw the opportunity he was holding back and agreed to let Fox work both projects on the condition that he would not have to write Fox out of any episodes or write around him. Fox worked tirelessly, being picked up for Family Ties rehearsal at 9:30am and finishing Back to the Future filming around 5am. Great Scott! When did he get to sleep? It’s this type of hard work and dedication that makes me appreciate the film even more today.
Craig is an avid moviegoer and aspiring screenwriter with Bachelor degrees in both Cinema and English.
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