Movies of 1985 Bracket Game Winner!

back to the future


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.

Stoltz - Back to the Future

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.

Stoltz and Thompson

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.

Elisabeth Shue - Back to the Future Part 2 - 1989

Elisabeth Shue – Back to the Future Part 2 – 1989

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.

Zane - Back to the Future


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.

Le Blog



Posted on January 23, 2015, in Bracket Game, Movies and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. And the winner is…the best movie of 1985.

    Yeah 2 and 3 are inferior sequels. Of the two, the third is the more purely fun one. Part 2 was overstuffed. But as far as inferior sequels go, they’re not an embarrassment to the original the way numerous others are (Alien 3, Jaws The Revenge, Batman and Robin).

    Looking forward to the 1995 entries.


    • I was disappointed in BTTF2 when I saw it. But I have come to appreciate it in much the same way I came to like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. I liked BTTF3 and Last Crusade better when they were released. But now I find the third entries kind of dull and hard to watch. Whereas the middle chapters are flawed but at least they are different enough to be interesting.


  2. The 1995 bracket should be fun. I just took a look at the list of the top grossing movies for that year. While I have a guess who the big winner might be (Toy Story), it doesn’t seem quite as much of a lock as BTTF was. That year does give you another Terry Gilliam movie to add to the mix!


    • So it does. 😉

      I figure Toy Story has a good chance of winning 1995. But there are some viable contenders.


      • Back To The Future is a very deserving winner. Yay Marty! 1995 should be a fun year to re-visit too, like Carl said I don’t think there is a guaranteed lock like there was for 1985. For one, there’s a big difference between the two Best Picture winners from 1985 and 1995: the Best Picture winner from 1985 (Out of Africa) is pretty much completely forgotten by now and wasn’t much of a threat in the 1985 brackets, wheras Braveheart is still pretty well regarded all things considered and may put up a bit more of a fight in the ’95 brackets. But we will see, of course.

        I love the idea of these brackets Lebeau, regardless of how these things end up it gets us all talking which is the main reason for them in the first place. It’s fun. Hey, just a thought, any chance of doing a 1990 bracket down the line? I’d be curious to see how Goodfellas does against the Oscar winner Dances With Wolves in the brackets, that’s for sure.


        • All credit for the “bracket game” concept goes to Daffy. He suggested it a while back as a tie-in to one of the podcasts and I completely stole the idea as I am inclined to do. As you point out, it’s less about the game’s final outcome than the conversations that the game generates. That’s why I don’t entirely get the ballot box stuffing that sometimes happens. There’s no prizes at stake here. But I also don’t get too worked up about it because, hey, there’s no prizes at stake.

          95 was a good year. I don’t think it was a great year like 84. But there are a lot of pretty solid movies. I wouldn’t be too surprised if it comes down to Toy Story vs. Braveheart. But Braveheart has been reevaluated downwards by many due to Gibson’s antics and historical inaccuracies. There’s a few other strong competitors that could knock Braveheart out and maybe even challenge Toy Story. Either way, I’m more interested in the individual matchups than the final round anyway. So far, you could pretty easily guess the final winner in every bracket game we have done so far.

          In 2020, we’ll do a 1990 game if I’m still breathing. Stick around. But you may get a chance to see Goodfellas vs. Dances With Wolves before that. You just never know. I expect Goodfella would trounce Dances. It has to be better remembered today.


        • Well, we will have to keep you breathing for the next five years….. for the sake of the 1990 bracket, of course! Yes, I’m sure at this point Goodfellas would most likely destroy Dances With Wolves. The thing is, I saw Dances With Wolves once back in 1990, and I thought it was a terrific film and understood entirely why the Academy voted it Best Picture. Costner was a movie star that directed what seemed like a personal film that became a surprise blockbuster. It made perfect sense at the time.

          That was before I had ever seen Goodfellas.

          Let me put it bluntly: Goodfellas is my absolute favorite film of the 1990’s. And this was an incredible decade that saw numerous classics like Pulp Fiction, Unforgiven, Silence of the Lambs, Fargo, Saving Private Ryan, Titanic, Boogie Nights, Shawshank Redemption, etc., along with the whole independent movement that made the decade so special. It truly was a great decade for film overall. But Goodfellas is my favorite film of the 90’s. It’s magnificent, brilliant even. Just my opinion of course, just because I love Goodfellas doesn’t mean it’s the best movie of the decade for others, but in my opinion Goodfellas was sooooo much greater a film than Dances With Wolves was. How I would break it down is, Kevin Costner made an impressive, even enjoyable film at the time. Martin Scorsese made a masterpiece. I think that’s probably how history might break it down now, after all these years.


        • I hope to be around in 2020. Hopefully still frustrating celebrities with WTHH entries. And yes, some of them are frustrated. Or so I hear.

          Goodfellas is a great movie. And the 90s were a great decade for movies. When Daffy and I did an episode of the podcast on the 80s, I said I wasn’t all that nostalgic for the 80s. The 90s were a much better decade. And yet, I don’t feel like they get the same love. Maybe that will come in a few years. I feel like it was an under-appreciated era that blended mainstream entertainment with indie movies. That indie movement seeped into the blockbuster movies and vice versa. Now, blockbusters dominate and most play to the lowest common denominator.


        • In terms of ranking film decades I’d rank the 90s only a few notches below the two greatest decades: the 50s and the 70s. They were an era in which there was room for good blockbusters and truly excellent thoughtful independent films as you noted.

          (Digression: It was also a great era for music too.)

          The 2000s definitely were a step down from the quality filmmaking of the 90s. The reason for the step-down I strongly suspect may have something to do with the high number of mergers that occurred in the late 90s and early 2000s. There weren’t as many studios and distributors willing to take chances on edgy material and that contributed to the move towards more tent pole franchises and other blockbusters of that type.

          The 80s weren’t on the level of the 90s or the 70s. But in terms of blockbuster filmmaking at least I’d rank them ahead of the 2000s.

          Goodfellas. Not only is that my favorite film of the 90s, it’s my favorite film of all-time. It’s got everything a film should have: a fantastic script, excellent direction, superb acting, a story with comedy and tragedy, complex characters, well-chosen soundtrack. There are many films I love. But something about this Scorsese crime epic stands out like no other.

          Goodfellas reached that pinnacle for me after a few others. My first favorite movie was Beetlejuice and it held that spot from 1988 (when I was 10) to 1990 (when I was 12_. From 1991 to 1993 the top spot was occupied by T2, 1994-1997 The Crow held that spot until Pulp Fiction dislodged it (I first saw Pulp opening weekend and loved it. But after a few years it supplanted The Crow). Pulp held the top spot from 1997 until around 2007. I first saw Goodfellas in the mid 90s. But it was after a few watches that I realized it was the one movie that stood out the most for me.


  3. Woo Hoo Party time is Potty time: we back, to the future, the future is back, we like that, because we like cool, similar to senior high school…goofy as hell, can’t rap at me,


  4. MIght we see some type of Oscar themed bracket game and podcast…? Maybe, possibly?


    • Podcast? Yes.

      Bracket game? It just depends on the timing. The Feb podcast will tie into the Oscars. But I’m not sure if we will have enough time to finish the 1995 game and start up a whole new Oscar themed bracket game in time for the Oscars. I’m in wait and see mode in that regards. If it doesn’t happen this year, I’m sure it will happen eventually.

      Daffy and I actually recorded a show for January. The subject kind of ties into my sorely neglected “Betrayed by…” series. But much like the series, that episode has been neglected. I haven’t tackled editing it yet. So it will probably show up at some point down the line.

      In terms of the bracket game concept, the subject of the episode just wasn’t a natural fit. It’s not like we could have people voting for movies or artists they were most disappointed in. It would just be confusing. Do you pick your favorite or your least favorite. So even before I let the episode slip onto the backburner, I decided that the bracket game for January wouldn’t tie into the podcast.

      The new year brought me back to the 1985 theme which then naturally lead me into next week’s 1995 follow-up. So the bracket games won’t always tie into the podcast theme. But at some point, I expect them to start lining up again.


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