Lion of the Blogosphere

Back to the Future 1985

On the continuing topic of 1985: Back to the Future was also a 1985 movie (a really great movie which gave rise to two just OK sequels), and in that movie Michael J. Fox (star of the quintessential 80s sitcom Family Ties) goes back in time to 1955 and sees how different the world of his parents was.

I always wondered what a remake would be like if some kid in 2015 went back in time to 1985. But for some reason, Hollywood never proceeded with that project.

Like others, I have a sense that the world changed a lot more between 1955 and 1985 than it did between 1985 and 2015.

* * *

I saw Back to the Future in the theater in 1985 and loved it. I re-watched it again when it was aired at college, and later videotaped it from a premium cable channel (perhaps Showtime) and re-watched the VHS tape many times. I think that VHS tape might still be at my parents’ house.

I did not see St. Elmo’s fire in the theaters. It was not the kind of movie my nerdy Dungeons and Dragons friends would have been interested in seeing. I believe that first time I saw the movie was in 1987 or 1888 when my college roommates rented the VHS tape. My roommate’s girlfriend like it but I didn’t get it. Never saw the movie again until I rented the DVD in the early 2000s and was finally able to get the movie.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 10, 2016 at 8:17 am

Posted in Movies

37 Responses

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  1. The movies depend heavily on the manic, mad scientist Christopher Lloyd. Who today could fill that role?

    bob sykes

    January 10, 2016 at 8:42 am

    • They should get that guy who played Fester in the Addams Family movie. He was really good!

      Tarl

      January 10, 2016 at 10:59 am

      • I vote for Reverend Jim.

        ScarletNumber

        January 11, 2016 at 5:14 pm

  2. A real DeLorean could not have reached the required 88mph in the available space. They looked wickedly fast but their motors produced a fairly weak 170 horsepower.
    Today you can buy a DeLorean in good condition for about $25,000, less than what they sold for new, and ones in need of restoration are going for well under $20,000.

    Peter

    ironrailsironweights

    January 10, 2016 at 9:15 am

    • Back in ’93, a former neighbor bought a DeLorean for cheap, I think well under $10K. It was unimpressive.

      E. Rekshun

      January 10, 2016 at 4:12 pm

  3. Back to the Future was an exceptional movie. It was practically flawless. After rewatching it umpteen times, I can’t think of a thing I would change. The acting was great. The casting was great. It was funny without being corny. It had a good plot, which built to a great finale. Even the music was good.

    Great Again

    January 10, 2016 at 9:49 am

  4. If you were in high school in the 1980s, then the “St Elmo’s Fire” movie didn’t really speak to your place in life. “What people do after they graduate from college” — who cares, I haven’t even been to college yet.

    Tarl

    January 10, 2016 at 11:01 am

  5. Is Michael Gay Fox a beta or an alpha? Me thinks he’s attracts women regardless. It seems like his Parkinson’s disease has brought out the nurturing nature of women to his advantage, hence they like him more than ever.

    JS

    January 10, 2016 at 11:51 am

    • He is extrememly alpha.

      jjbees

      January 10, 2016 at 2:49 pm

      • Michael J. Fox is famous and extremely successful at his career. This gives him a lot confidence that a short guy working in a boring cubicle job would not have.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        January 10, 2016 at 2:51 pm

      • MJF looks sort of looks like a beta, but not exactly, and he isn’t exactly an alpha.

        JS

        January 10, 2016 at 7:05 pm

  6. St. Elmo’s Fire was terrible (the dialogue was gag inducing). I regret seeing it again. Why not review “The Big Chill” maybe it is what baby boomers thought of themselves during the same time period. Can’t recall seeing it so i have no opinion.

    Anonymous

    January 10, 2016 at 11:53 am

    • I saw that movie when I was in college, and I could not understand its popularity. It was boring and annoying. “This is a movie about the goddamn baby boomers… and I hate those assholes.”

      Tarl

      January 10, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    • The Big Chill involved adults looking back on their college years, a very different setting from newly minted college students meeting the adult world head on and finding it a challenge. This seems to me a mostly unique theme for a movie and what explains its appeal.

      Curle

      January 10, 2016 at 1:54 pm

  7. The 1980s was the last time Americans had hope for the future. With Ronald Reagan in the White House, it was like having an old positive Grandpa who reassured you everything was going to be alright with thousands of missiles pointing at us from The Soviet Empire. Back then people hated commies and homos were a fucking joke. You could get a job that made you middle class with a High School Diploma, and Cyberpunk was a crazy idea about corporations taking over and the people turned into a polyglot mess of atomized losers under the thumb of a police state like in Blade Runner. What a difference thirty years makes. The 2015 of Back to the Future II looks nothing like this mess. Even Biff’s Casino and Nuclear Waste Dump looked better than most cities like Chiraq today.
    You probably wanna go back to the good ole days huh? When Don Johnson was riding a Ferrari to MTV cops and Magnum PI was driving a Ferrari as a PI in Hawaii. Can Trump bring it back? Can anyone?

    Joshua Sinistar

    January 10, 2016 at 11:57 am

  8. Critical theory, i.e., seeking a replacement for the scientific method to enhance social control, was just starting to ascend in ’85. Just the following year Reagan signed the ’86 amnesty bill. These two things made the country immeasurably different from either 1950 and 1985, and are much more significant than even the Cold War which dominated the period 50-85. In 1950 the American people thought of themselves as one people. In 1985 they thought the same. In 2016, we claim to think of ourselves as citizens of the world and devotees to ideals like multiculturalism that operate according to invented realities. In other words, half of us or more have turned into pseudo religious whack jobs.

    Curle

    January 10, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    • The amnesty bill in 86 was great Cold War propaganda but ruined the country.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      January 10, 2016 at 12:40 pm

      • An incredible blunder/betrayal by Reagan. This blunder practically negates (and the some) all of the good that he did do. At the time, Reagan had the power and popularity to say no to amnesty and enact his own Operation Wetback. He folded/was fooled by the Corporate Power that continues to rule to this day.

        fakeemail

        January 11, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    • Critical theory, i.e., seeking a replacement for the scientific method to enhance social control, was just starting to ascend in ’85.

      Curle, tell us how was critical theory different from any other leftist theory? I’m betting well over 90% of those who talk about the Frankfurt School have barely any understanding of what they wrote. In part this is because everything they wrote aside from Eros and Civilization (which is also a pain to go through) is dense, academic philosophizing; unreadable to anyone who isn’t a tenured liberal philosopher. But it’s also because antisemites have built up a myth around the Frankfurt School that they somehow tookover academia; every fact I’ve seen related to them was they were just one of numerous leftist academic circles.

      But since Curle insists on pretending to be knowledgeable maybe you can, for once, prove it by explaining what the difference between them and other liberals was. Go ahead an impress us, it will make up for your pitiful argument that the South seceded for anything other than a selfish land-grab for more slave soil dressed up as a “constitutional right”.

      According to Michel Foucault (who was much more influential and is referenced more often in ‘scholarship’ than anyone from the Frankfurt School) he developed the same ideas without knowing they existed. If Foucault came up with the same ideas independent of them, what was so exceptional about them?

      http://stunlaw.blogspot.com/2013/07/foucault-and-frankfurt-school.html

      Now, the striking thing is that France knew absolutely nothing – or only vaguely, only very indirectly – about the current of Weberian thought. Critical Theory was hardly known in France and the Frankfurt School was practically unheard of. This, by the way, raises a minor historical problem which fascinates me and which I have not been able to resolve at all. It is common knowledge that many representatives of the Frankfurt School came to Paris in 1935, seeking refuge, and left very hastily, sickened presumably – some even said as much – but saddened anyhow not to have found more of an echo. Then came 1940, but they had already left for England and the U.S., where they were actually much better received. The understanding that might have been established between the Frankfurt School and French philosophical thought – by way of the history of science and therefore the question of the history of rationality – never occurred. And when I was a student, I can assure you that I never once heard the name ofthe Frankfurt School mentioned by any of my professors.

      FOUCAULT: Now, obviously, if I had been familiar with the Frankfurt School, if I had been aware of it at the time, I would not have said a number of stupid things that I did say and I would have avoided many of the detours which I made while trying to pursue my own humble path – when, meanwhile, avenues had been opened up by the Frankfurt School. It is a strange case of non-penetration between two very similar types of thinking which is explained, perhaps, by that very similarity. Nothing hides the fact of a problem in common better than two similar ways of approaching it.

      The Undiscovered Jew

      January 10, 2016 at 2:21 pm

      • “it will make up for your pitiful argument that the South seceded for anything other than a selfish land-grab for more slave soil dressed up as a “constitutional right”.

        Constitutional rights either exist or they do not and whether they are exercised for moral or immoral purposes is beside the point. The constitution is a process oriented document granting certain powers to certain actors, in particular to the states that formed the Republic. It is not scripture. In other words, states may possess constitutional powers and chose to use exercise them for non-sanctified purposes. That good is done or evil is avoided is a not a constitutional principle.

        Per your interest in distinguishing critical theory from antecedents and competitors or whatever. If you think the volumes of dreck that began to be published under the heading critical theory in the 80s and accelerating to such a degree that now any third rate community college graduate with a gripe against society imagines themselves a critical theorist constitutes a slander on critical theory, then by all means give us a tutorial on the subject. Two of my favorites of this variety include this examination of the social importance of Bill Clinton’s penis using Slavoj Zizek’s formulations http://pmc.iath.virginia.edu/text-only/issue.599/9.3glass.txt. Another posits that even though blacks earn less income collectively than whites and pay less in taxes by a large margin, nevertheless the federal tax system is racist. Why? Power!!, of course. Append the word ‘power’ to any supposition or ambiguity and you’ve got yourself an academic article. Here’s a response to that little exercise in critical theory hilarious because the author of the piece NEEDS to explain to the critical race theorists how their numbers don’t add up to show blacks the comparative losers (apparently doing math is not a critical element of critical theory even when applied to accounting situations). http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/faculty_scholarship/110/

        But, Noam Chomsky pretty much sums up the whole charade:

        “What you’re referring to is what’s called “theory.” And when I said I’m not interested in theory, what I meant is, I’m not interested in posturing–using fancy terms like polysyllables and pretending you have a theory when you have no theory whatsoever. So there’s no theory in any of this stuff, not in the sense of theory that anyone is familiar with in the sciences or any other serious field. Try to find in all of the work you mentioned some principles from which you can deduce conclusions, empirically testable propositions where it all goes beyond the level of something you can explain in five minutes to a twelve-year-old. See if you can find that when the fancy words are decoded. I can’t. So I’m not interested in that kind of posturing.Žižek is an extreme example of it. I don’t see anything to what he’s saying. Jacques Lacan I actually knew. I kind of liked him. We had meetings every once in awhile. But quite frankly I thought he was a total charlatan. He was just posturing for the television cameras in the way many Paris intellectuals do. Why this is influential, I haven’t the slightest idea. I don’t see anything there that should be influential.”

        Curle

        January 11, 2016 at 1:49 am

      • In other words, states may possess constitutional powers and chose to use exercise them for non-sanctified purposes. That good is done or evil is avoided is a not a constitutional principle.

        What constitutional principle justified the South’s demands to annex more slave territory in areas where settlers had already voted for free soil?

        If you think the volumes of dreck that began to be published under the heading critical theory in the 80s and accelerating to such a degree that now any third rate community college graduate with a gripe against society imagines themselves a critical theorist constitutes a slander on critical theory, then by all means give us a tutorial on the subject.

        Foucault’s theories, which he himself says were very similar, were published well before the 1980s.

        You’re also again evading the question – I’m asking you for what the difference is between Critical Theory and every other leftist theory was. That you can’t distinguish it indicates you can’t confirm whether what you’re attributing to Critical Theory really originates with it, or some other comparable idea.

        Two of my favorites of this variety include this examination of the social importance of Bill Clinton’s penis using Slavoj Zizek’s formulations http://pmc.iath.virginia.edu/text-only/issue.599/9.3glass.txt. Another posits that even though blacks earn less income collectively than whites and pay less in taxes by a large margin, nevertheless the federal tax system is racist.

        Assuming this has anything to do with Critical Theory, how is it different from Foucault and other 60s philosophers?

        But, Noam Chomsky pretty much sums up the whole charade:

        “What you’re referring to is what’s called “theory.” And when I said I’m not interested in theory, what I meant is, I’m not interested in posturing–using fancy terms like polysyllables and pretending you have a theory when you have no theory whatsoever. So there’s no theory in any of this stuff,

        If there’s no difference between Critical Theory and the rest of the this fluff, then why are you singling out Critical Theory?

        The Undiscovered Jew

        January 11, 2016 at 6:06 pm

      • The Undiscovered Jew asks “What constitutional principle justified the South’s demands to annex more slave territory in areas where settlers had already voted for free soil?”

        Doesn’t have to be a principle when it is a clause: “New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new States shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress. Article IV, Section 3, Clause 1.”

        Protecting the power of the states by allowing them to exercise the powers left to them by the constitution is a constitutional principle. The South had the authority under the constitution to control the ball as long as they controlled Congress and could make demands that would ensure protection of their agriculture industries. They exercised this right where they could just as the constitution anticipated. They don’t need a reason that fits some moralistic imperative. The constitution is a document outlining powers not moral authority.

        “If there’s no difference between Critical Theory and the rest of the this fluff, then why are you singling out Critical Theory?”

        It is the term proponents of this ideology apply to themselves more often than not. Chomsky used the same terminology.

        Curle

        January 11, 2016 at 9:28 pm

      • Protecting the power of the states by allowing them to exercise the powers left to them by the constitution is a constitutional principle. The South had the authority under the constitution to control the ball as long as they controlled Congress and could make demands that would ensure protection of their agriculture industries. They exercised this right where they could just as the constitution anticipated.

        I’m still not seeing where you’re finding this principle to expand slavery into free-soil territories.

        Help me understand that constitutional clause by applying it to California’s situation: California, especially Southern California, was one of the territories the South demanded at the last minute negotiations before the South seceded. Years before California’s legislature voted unanimously to enter the Union as a free state,
        California wasn’t a part of any then existing Southern state. How did that clause give the South more claim to that territory than the free states?

        It is the term proponents of this ideology apply to themselves more often than not. Chomsky used the same terminology.

        Did you calculate that number from the same imaginary universe you pulled the constitutional ‘right’ of the South to seize free soil territories?

        60s philosophers associated with many different ideas, I see no evidence they associated with the term critical theory – which you now admit is no different from any other 60s radical teaching – more than any other theory. Foucault and Sartre are referenced more often in academic journals than any author from the Frankfurt School, I could just easily call the Frankfurt School existentialists using your logic.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        January 12, 2016 at 7:17 pm

      • The constitutional right for the South to seize free-soil territories was…

        The Undiscovered Jew

        January 13, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    • Curle, what was the difference between critical theory and other leftist theories, such as those written by Foucault?

      The Undiscovered Jew

      January 10, 2016 at 7:14 pm

  9. Re which period saw the greatest social change: A famous business writer once said that in the 50’s-60s-70s nobody was allowed to make any money before they were at least 45. Thinking back on it, that’s really true. In 1980 it would have been unheard of to meet a 30-year old who was worth $50 million. Now it’s common. On the other hand, in 1985 nobody had to grovel to blacks, and there was no Congressional Black Caucus.

    Hiyo

    January 10, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    • The CBC has been around since the 70’s. But Obama ignored it completely during his 3 years in the Senate, there’s no record of him attending even a single meeting.

      Camlost

      January 10, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    • “A famous business writer once said that in the 50’s-60s-70s nobody was allowed to make any money before they were at least 45.”

      The situation is reversing. Or is it?

      Millennials at large aren’t doing so well, but you’d never know it from the vantage point of the Bay Area. The part of San Francisco you’d think most resistant to being full of young folk – the financial district and nearby SOMA – because old money theoretically rules, are in fact overrun with them. All the hot well-heeled startups with an average worker age of 25 are right smack center in the most historic areas.

      Meanwhile, the periphery of Silicon Valley is where the middle-aged folks are cutting their teeth. I’ve seen it. It’s a weird new world we’re living in.

      Dain

      January 10, 2016 at 1:41 pm

  10. Michael J Fox has scorching hot blonde twin daughters with wife Tracy Pollan. And a son that looks just like him. All of his kids are considerably taller than him, too.

    Camlost

    January 10, 2016 at 12:36 pm

  11. Lion, they did make exactly that movie you’re talking about. It’s called Hot Tub Time Machine. It’s not nearly as good.

    iguanodontist

    January 10, 2016 at 1:26 pm

  12. I was finishing up undergrad in ’85 and didn’t see “St. Elmo’s Fire” or “The Breakfast Club” until about ten years later on one of their many re-runs on some cable channel. I did, however, see “About Last Night” when it came out in ’86 with a lovely former classmate that I never spoke to in high school but hit it off with at our 5-year high school reunion.

    E. Rekshun

    January 10, 2016 at 3:11 pm

  13. The Brat Pack was big in Hollywood but they were invisible out in the world. Pretty in Pink was some supposedly socially important coming of age movie, but no one cared about it. Hollywood ignored Red Dawn and called it a jingoistic fantasy, but back then a Soviet Invasion didn’t seem unreasonable, and patriotism was huge back when Reagan was POTUS. You could go anywhere and chant USA-USA-USA and everyone would join in without any snark.
    The media wants you to think the 1980s was about consumerism and selfishness, but these people are projecting their biases. It was Don Johnson and sunglasses. It was hot girls in tight pants and tank tops riding around town in cars. It was style, it was cool, being American was something to be proud of and not berated.
    This America is the Dark Dystopian Cyberpunk universe, where you don’t matter, the corporations rule the World and the Rich are the owners and everyone else is running in the shadows trying to eke out a meagre living in a downward spiral of a bifurcated society where the Rich live in beautiful domed arcologies and everyone else is a proletarian would be number that doesn’t matter to anyone and is disposable.

    Joshua Sinistar

    January 10, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    • “You could go anywhere and chant USA-USA-USA and everyone would join in without any snark.”

      Not in my high school, and we were in New Hampshire in the 1980s. The USA chant was a joke almost from the start. There was a lot of snark in the 80s – Letterman started back then, so did the Simpsons. Most of us didn’t care about anything other than money. There is a lot of revisionist history being spouted these days.

      From what I remember, about 25% of the population loved Reagan, 25% hated Reagan and the rest followed the tide. A lot like Obama today.

      Most counterculture was very left wing. Punk rock was a big underground movement in the 80s and punks hated “Ronny Raygun”. Even the mainstream acts like Springsteen and U2 were reliably leftist. People really thought the USA was going to blow up the world. The 1980s were when PC started becoming an issue and we were told to stop making fun of homosexuals. And fun was bad. Everyone was going to get AIDS. Smoking was bad, raise the drinking age to 21 (yeah, thanks Ronny), Tipper Gore needs to censor our lyrics, etc. etc. The 80s was a decade of annoying busybodies. The 80s sucked compared to the 70s. When I was a kid in high school in the early 80s , all I heard from college kids was about how much more fun high school had been when they were in school. Then in college it was the same story – everything fun seemed to get outlawed about 3 years before we were old enough to enjoy it. The 80s were probably one of the worst decades to be an adolescent.

      Peter Akuleyev

      January 11, 2016 at 11:32 am

      • That’s Gen X, right in the core of it.

        These reports are great. It’s Generation X speaking up at last.

        It’s too bad how crushed by the Boomer agenda Gen X is, watching it all go down, the frozen ideals of the Boomers wrecking society.

        One

        January 13, 2016 at 12:54 am

  14. BTTF II was a phenomenal sequel.

    Part III was great, but brought down by Clara. Still a very good movie; though.

    fakeemail

    January 11, 2016 at 12:45 pm

  15. I think the time is right for a new Back to the Future trilogy. Micheal J Fox could play himself and his son could play the new Time Travel kid.

    Hey I would go see it.

    Mike Street Station

    January 11, 2016 at 1:53 pm

  16. When the mayor was white the town looked great. When “Goldie” was mayor, the opposite. The film makes this point.

    jef

    January 13, 2016 at 8:15 pm


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