Thursday, March 15, 2012

What March 14th and 15th Mean To Me: Back To The Future in the 1980's

The other day, someone brought to my attention the fact that if "Back To The Future" were made today, and used the same time frame of jumping back 30 years, the movie would be set in 1982. 

Yeah, old.  But my first thought upon hearing the above wasn't "Oh shit, I'm old," it was, "Geez, that'd be a shitty movie."  Clearly, I wasn't born in the 1950's, and my knowledge of it is limited to stories, movies, television, and history books, but it seems that it was a decade we view with reverence (even in 1985, clearly.) 1950's and 60's America is generally portrayed as a booming time of innocence, a great time to live in America, and were decades that were still feeding off the American camaraderie fostered by WW2.  The 50's also appears to be a period chock full of iconic images and sounds that conjure positive feelings.  Whether it be the old style movie theater, the cars, the newspapers, the diners, the songs, the clothes, or the language, the 1950's displayed in "Back To The Future" successfully beats the nostalgia drum.

Now, imagine trying to make a "Back To The Future" about the 1980's.  What's the first thought that pops into your head?  Ugly cars, clothes, and graffiti?  What iconic images would even exist that make the 80's (and beyond) an appealing place to be?  If we were to recreate the scene in which Marty introduces the 1950's crowd to rock and roll by covering Chuck Berry, what would be today's equivalent?  Marty rapping "Dre Day?"  Marty screaming "to the window to the wall to the sweat drip down my balls?" What about the scene in which Lorraine accosts Marty in the 1950's car?  Would that be as fun to do in a Volkswagen Cabriolet?  Or some 1980's Chevy pick up?  I would love to see an attempt that handles the 1980's with the same respect as BTTF did the 1950's.  Is it possible? Because it seems like every movie about the 80's is a comedy that does little more than cheaply poke fun at the culture.  Why is nothing in the 80's positively iconic? 

I was talking about this with my brother, and he posited the reason is because we've become such a disposable society.  And there is a lot of truth to that, as I don't think we value goods like we once did, due to the sheer volume of products out there and the expectation that they all have short shelf lives (know anyone with a first gen iPhone?).  But were we like this in the 1980's?   Or would our perception of today's society cloud our viewpoint of a decade that really wasn't all that long ago? 

Perhaps it's that we've just collectively become more cynical.  Maybe society's move towards consolidating services into huge corporate entities have made us feel like less of a community.  Or maybe this is all just my perception and I'm completely wrong.  I really have no clue. 

Well, those are my poorly laid out thoughts of the day. 


  1. My most recent BTF thought was how awesome it would be if in 2015, the newly-named Miami Marlins lost to the Chicago Cubs in the world series.

    Sorry, not as deep a thought as your blog post.