Movies of 1985 Bracket Game Winner!
Our look back at 1985 comes to a predictable end as we go Back to the Future. Thirty years ago, the story of a boy who travels back in time thirty years to see what his parents were like when they were his age was a critical and commercial smash. Thirty years later in our present (Marty’s future), the movie still holds up as a pop culture touchstone. It’s the rare piece of entertainment that plays across generations.
A little Back to the Future lore for you. Most of you probably already know that Eric Stoltz was originally cast as Marty McFly. Director Robert Zemeckis wanted Michael J Fox, but he was unavailable due to his commitment to Family Ties. Stoltz stepped in and even recommended Lea Thompson to play Lorraine. Stoltz and Thompson had worked together previously in the teen comedy, The Wild Life.
But Zemeckis wasn’t happy with Stoltz in the role. After filming for four weeks, Zemeckis decided to recast the role. By that point, Fox was available so Zemeckis was able to get his first choice.
Claudia Welles originated the role of Jennifer, Marty’s girlfriend. But when it came time to film the sequels, Welles was unavailable to reprise her role. She was tending to her sick mother. So Elisabeth Shue stepped in. Zemeckis and company actually reshot the first movie’s ending with Shue standing in for Welles.
Crispin Glover played George McFly in the first movie. But he was not asked back for the sequels. Glover had been critical of the movie’s ending which he felt glorified consumerism (and he’s not exactly wrong on that point). Somewhat hypocritically, he also demanded too much money to reprise his role in the sequels. So his part was minimized and recast. Glover ended up suing for the use of his likeness and was given a settlement roughly equivalent to his original asking price.
Also worth noting, WTHH star Billy Zane made his screen debut in Back to the Future as one of Biff’s thugs. He reprised his role in Back to the Future 2.
The original movie ended with a title card that said “To be continued…” Zemeckis and screenwriter Bob Gale intended that as a joke. The story was self-contained and they didn’t think sequels were warranted. But given the movie’s success (it was the top-grossing movie of 1985), they also realized that sequels were inevitable. So they decided that rather than watch someone else make inferior sequels, they would make them and hope for the best.
Back to the Future 2 and 3 are inferior sequels. But as unnecessary sequels go, they retain a lot of the spirit of the original. Fans have been clamoring for a fourth movie for years, but Zemeckis, Gale and Fox are done with the series. When asked about a fourth movie, Fox once quipped “I hope Jason Bateman has a good time making it.” (A reference to Bateman’s role in Teen Wolf Too.)
I had so much fun looking back at 1985 that next week I’m going to start a new bracket game for 1995. If looking back 30 years strained your memory, hopefully 1995 will be a bit fresher. It was a better year in movies if you ask me. Once again, I had to make some tough cuts to narrow the list to 16 films. But I ran the list by Daffy and with a couple of tweaks I can say the brackets are Stardust-approved.
Before I completely shut the door on 1985, I’ll be posting the results to the 1985 quiz a little later on. So if you haven’t already taken the quiz, you may want to give it a try. Thanks for another fun game and come back on Monday for the 1995 edition.