Although I love Back to the Future, it's all about Roger Rabbit.
I Wanna Hold Your Hand
Romancing the Stone
Back to the Future
Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Back to the Future Part II
Back to the Future Part III
Death Becomes Her
What Lies Beneath
The Polar Express
A Christmas Carol
Although I love Back to the Future, it's all about Roger Rabbit.
01. Cast Away
02. Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
03. Back to the Future
04. Flight (though I was infuriated with the last 30 minutes)
05. Contact (soft spot for this one)
06. What Lies Beneath
07. Back to the Future Part II
09. Forrest Gump
10. Death Becomes Her
11. Back to the Future Part III
12. The Polar Express
N/S: A Christmas Carol, Romancing the Stone, Used Cars, I Wanna Hold Your Hand
You guys, rewatch BTTF part III. Seriously.
This thread has good timing for me. I've been revisiting a couple Zemeckis flicks lately after seeing Flight, which while being pretty sucky in a lot of ways, still proves that Zemeckis has some skill left in him and his days with live-action filmmaking aren't completely over.
So anyways, looking over his filmography, I can come up with a top five that I quite like (kind of love the top two):
1. Back to the Future
2. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
3. Back to the Future Part II
4. Death Becomes Her
Of all the popular family-friendly flicks I was inundated with in the 80s, I never quite embraced the whole of Back to the Future as a kid. I loved the big clock tower finale, but other than the final ten or fifteen minutes, it wasn't the kind of thing I wanted to watch over and over again. But over the years, I came to appreciate it more and more and then a couple years back, I rewatched the whole thing and absolutely adored it. The ambitious imagination on display in that movie is really spectacular and it has such a strange, funny plot with teenaged Marty trying to un-romance his mom. And of course, the big finale is a wonderfully gripping package of thrills, pushed to the edge of plausibility (every damn thing that can go wrong up until the last second does), but executed beautifully.
Roger Rabbit is one I need to rewatch (and I've been planning to do so soon), but I've loved it since I first saw it on the big screen and have so many fond memories of everything from its playful sense of humour to its iconic special effects.
Just this past week or so, I rewatched both of the Back to the Future sequels and appreciated it them more than ever before. I don't recall ever being a big fan of either sequel, but they're actually damn fun and Part II is a blast with its three time periods, each with their own flavour. The plot itself sounds super lame when condensed (Marty and Doc Brown travel through time to prevent Biff from getting rich off a sports almanac), but it's actually spread out in a really intriguing way that first takes us to the next most logical time period, considering the title of these movies and the promise of a time machine and Zemeckis's interest in special effects. So we get to see the 2015 (we're almost there, but we still have doorknobs and don't have hoverboards yet!) version of Hill Valley, which is an enjoyably silly retread of Marty's initial adventures in the first movie's 1955 timeline. Then we get the distorted 1985, which sets up a great bit of conflict, giving Biff's villainy an epic visual identity. But for me, it's when the movie returns to 1955 and starts playing with the events of the Part I that it really emerges as a great sequel. It's such a strange and potentially disastrous idea to literally recycle the events of the first movie, but Gale and Zemeckis use this timeline revisit to up the ante. We know what's at stake from the first movie and here it's even worse than before, because we know that all of Hill Valley is in danger if Biff keeps the almanac. The finale isn't as thrilling as the first movie, but I'm fine with Zemeckis not trying to top that, plus we get that great ending with the Western Union guy showing up and delivering the 70-year-old letter from Doc. What an ending!
I just rewatched Back to the Future Part III last night and while it's certainly the weakest of the trilogy (basically dealing with just one time period feels a little underwhelming after the triple timeline adventure of Part II), it's still a fun entry that clearly enjoys referencing the first two pictures in a new environment. Seeing Marty go through the exact same stuff again gives the movie a bit of a stale flavour at times and the references are certainly winkier than ever before, but Marty's reason for having to go back sets up some solid dramatic stakes. It's very well-paced and I like that the big finale, while clearly trying to recapture the magic of the first movie's big set piece, actually dominates a good amount of screen time. It all comes together to wrap up the trilogy quite succinctly and pleasantly, but damn, why do Doc Brown's kids have to be such creepy little bastards? Oh, and I love that for Marty, the whole trilogy takes place over the course of a few weeks.
I also revisited Beowulf last weekend and while that movie doesn't have much emotional resonance (or any at all), it's a very cool adventure flick with great action sequences, impressive imagery, and one of the most badass heroes imaginable. The mo-cap animation was even more awkward at times than I remembered, so the more quiet scenes of conversations tend to be a bit distracting and dramatically limp, but the virtual camera work is thrilling and the action very interesting. The Grendel design is incredible, too. Absolutely disgusting, like a creature that crawled right out of the depths of hell. And I love that shot of Beowulf straddling Grendel's back and punching him in the ear, executed in an almost jerky way as a nod to stop-motion. Easily the best Zemeckis movie in ages for me and one I can see myself revisiting over time.
Other than the five I listed, his Hanks collaborations range from mildly decent-ish (Cast Away) to ghastly (The Polar Express, with its blatant roller coaster nonsense and North Pole Aerosmith concert). I should probably rewatch Forrest Gump again one day, though I'm not exactly eager. I remember loving it as a young teen in the summer when everyone was talking about it, but my love for it dissipated a long time ago. Hell, I even turned on it in my early Oscar watching days because I loved Shawshank so much more and that put Gump's quality in perspective for me at the time. I've since caught bits of it and it's painfully treacly in places and something I'd probably hate and roll my eyes at if I saw it for the first time now, but I still have genuinely good memories of it being this oddly epic drama with unique special effects. Anyways, one day I'll watch it again, but whenever I recall various moments of the movie, it's like witnessing a flood of syrup. My teeth hurt now.
USED CARS is pure screwball, Kurt Russell being absolutely awesome with being the MC of that sort of mayhem like he would many years later with BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA.
So yeah folks, try to Netflix those two sometime.
Hell I'm surprised McTeague you aren't Biff Tannen and bully #3 for that.
~Tannen family, generation after generation assholes who always get buried under horse shit.
Movies recently reviewed by RRA:
Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
Star Trek (2009)
Pain & Gain (2013)
Jurassic Park III (2001)
Ah crap sack. How did I forget Romancing the Stone?!?! That movie is a blast and would definitely make my top five Zemeckis flicks. Probably at number 4, but maybe even 3.
Part III is a good movie, but I think Part II is one of the most creative sequels ever made. I love how it interweaves itself in the original.
Forrest Gump, Back to the future and Roger Rabitt.