I want you to imagine your mom, in the context of that sentence, right........now.
July 20, 2010 4:21 PM   Subscribe

Why Back to the Future is secretly horrifying. NSFW, possible trigger alert for use of the "r" word.
posted by lazaruslong (129 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Retro?
posted by Artw at 4:23 PM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hipsterrific.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:27 PM on July 20, 2010


Huh, my work actually blocks the site. I have no idea what the "r-word" is but it must be nasty.
posted by Bookhouse at 4:27 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised they didn't go for the more obvious bit of fridge logic: If a young Chuck Berry learned Johnny B. Goode from Marty playing it over the phone, and Marty learned it from Berry's recordings... then who originally wrote the song?
posted by Rhaomi at 4:27 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


who originally wrote the song?

Leonard Chess
posted by timsteil at 4:31 PM on July 20, 2010 [17 favorites]


So... does it include the thing with the creepy kid from Back To The Future 3?
posted by Artw at 4:31 PM on July 20, 2010


Raisins?
posted by sanko at 4:32 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


black people
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 4:36 PM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


So... does it include the thing with the creepy kid from Back To The Future 3?

Marty?
posted by DU at 4:37 PM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Would have been funnier if they hadn't insisted on having "characters" in order to have the discussion...
posted by Scattercat at 4:39 PM on July 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


Marty?

Nope. This kid.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 4:41 PM on July 20, 2010 [15 favorites]


Whoa, WTF.
posted by DU at 4:42 PM on July 20, 2010


"Counting's gay."

And the piece is no longer interesting.
posted by hippybear at 4:44 PM on July 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


Enjoying this clip makes me feel like I don't have enough friends to hang out in diners with. So now I don't enjoy the clip as much.
posted by redsparkler at 4:44 PM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Holy fuck that was insufferable.

Not to mention Cracked has made these points about Back to the Future at least three times, did they really need to go for a fourth by stretching it out into this proto-Seinfeld bit?
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 4:51 PM on July 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm actually liking some of the content from Cracked.com these days more than the usual 'guilty pleasure' thing should allow...
6 Completely Legal Ways the Cops Can Screw You
8 Psychotic Overreactions by Adults at Youth Sporting Events
5 Reasons It's Still Not Cool to Admit You're a Gamer
6 Easy Steps to Pulling Off Your Own Back to the Future Hoax
8 Historic Symbols That Mean the Opposite of What you Think (a bit forced to make it as full list, but some valid stuff here)

This video, not so much.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:53 PM on July 20, 2010 [8 favorites]


MetaFark
posted by jquinby at 4:54 PM on July 20, 2010


"Counting's gay."

And the piece is no longer interesting.


It took you that long?
posted by simms2k at 4:54 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised they didn't go for the more obvious bit of fridge logic: If a young Chuck Berry learned Johnny B. Goode from Marty playing it over the phone, and Marty learned it from Berry's recordings... then who originally wrote the song?

Except did they not address that, too? Or did I misunderstand that part of the analysis? You know, the whole "Zemeckis just made history even whiter" bit?

And hippybear, I did not actually read that particular comment as bigoted because, given the context, the character who says that is portrayed (explicitly) as a fool at best (clearly, counting is a valuable skill, yadda yadda yadda, so dismissing it as quote-unquote gay merely demonstrates his own idiocy). Unless you think (and I certainly would defer to your judgment on this topic) that any instances of using quote-unquote that is gay in a pejorative sense, even ironically to mock the bigoted, is off-limits. I understand that is an open question, and certainly not one that hetero-me is really in a position to answer. There is a show on Current TV called Thats Gay that seems (again, just to me) to humorously appropriate the phrase in its title whilst demonstrating the absurdity of using it as a pejorative. Anyways, I guess I am just curious if you think that particular phrase is still too hateful and hot-button to be successfully appropriated yet, or ever. Sorry for the tangent.
posted by joe lisboa at 4:54 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like Swaim. There, I said it. I liked Agents of Cracked, too. Point and laugh at me if you must. But this isn't very good.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 4:59 PM on July 20, 2010


I guess I am just curious if you think that particular phrase is still too hateful and hot-button to be successfully appropriated yet, or ever.

I don't see where there is any appropriation of "gay" which uses it in a pejorative sense which I will see as acceptable. When the queer community took back, well, "queer", it was to use it as a badge of pride and to twist the formerly negative use into a positive. Ditto any other such similar reclaiming of a word from the hands of bigots. The use of "gay" as a negative descriptor moves in the opposite direction, springs from bigotry, and isn't a reclaiming of the term in any sense.

/derail
posted by hippybear at 5:00 PM on July 20, 2010 [11 favorites]


Thanks for the prompt reply! I see what you are saying.
posted by joe lisboa at 5:01 PM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


If a young Chuck Berry learned Johnny B. Goode from Marty playing it over the phone, and Marty learned it from Berry's recordings... then who originally wrote the song?

The same can be said of John Locke's compass. It's probably a recurring trope in a lot of time travel stories.
posted by Rhomboid at 5:08 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maaaaaan, would it kill them to say "Black to the Future"?
posted by 23skidoo at 5:10 PM on July 20, 2010


hippybear, I get that. In this context, Swaim's character has always been not just a fool, but a resolutely wrong, bizarro-fool. Swaim and DOB are both playing the same characters that they played in Agents of Cracked (which I thought was hilarious from start to finish, myself.) Here, I agree with joe lisboa that the line is supposed to be WTF on several levels, one of which is that the perjorative use of "gay" isn't acceptable (for instance, you wouldn't have heard any of the other characters using it.) Only ignorant people use the word perjoratively, and Swaim is playing a super-ignorant character.

But I definitely understand not being cool with the joke even in that context. If it had used a racist perjorative it definitely would have killed the comedy dead for almost all viewers.

Anyway, I dug this, but I like the cracked style of comedy. Mostly I was just surprised that they didn't go into the fact that Marty doesn't know anything about his own immediate family in his new life, which they've touched on in articles before. As for the Chuck Berry thing, I've come to peace with it by saying that Berry only heard a little piece of the song over a scratchy phone call, took the inspiration and wrote the song which Marty would eventually go back and play.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:19 PM on July 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Not to mention Cracked has made these points about Back to the Future at least three times, did they really need to go for a fourth by stretching it out into this proto-Seinfeld bit?

1. I don't think proto- means what you think it means
2. It's not Seinfeld they're ripping off, it's this.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:22 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


joe lisboa: "Except did they not address that, too? Or did I misunderstand that part of the analysis? You know, the whole "Zemeckis just made history even whiter" bit?"

I took their argument as meaning that Marty went back and stole the "authorship" of the song from Berry, changing history. But they never addressed the circular nature of the whole thing.
posted by Rhaomi at 5:24 PM on July 20, 2010


Man, does it really matter they're ripping off a format? "People sit and talk" is pretty timeless. What I see is amusing characters making amusing observations in an amusing way, and as such I applaud them.
posted by kafziel at 5:24 PM on July 20, 2010


It was a little forced, but good for them for trying something different.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 5:29 PM on July 20, 2010


I gotta say, I liked "Hot Tub Time Machine" better than "Back to the Future", and I really hated "Hot Tub Time Machine". I realize I'm in the minority.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:30 PM on July 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


I took their argument as meaning that Marty went back and stole the "authorship" of the song from Berry, changing history. But they never addressed the circular nature of the whole thing.

True, but as noted above, is that not a general time-travel issue anyways? I think (not going to rewatch it) this is what prompted the non-starter bit about alternate time lines, which was (wisely) interrupted to move onto something else.

Also, my plate of beans is in serious need of some overthought. Any takers?
posted by joe lisboa at 5:32 PM on July 20, 2010


Wow, that was meh.

Speaking of whiter...this was very. More than one girl might've been nice too. In fact, the analysis she started to give of Forrest Gump sounded better than this. They should've done that one, but it probably would work better with 1-2 more women involved.
posted by emjaybee at 5:33 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's hard to find enough things wrong about Forrest Gump.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:41 PM on July 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


By that I mean, that movie left me jaw-dropped from beginning to end with the number of times The Message was being rung, gong-like, over and over.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:44 PM on July 20, 2010


I hope this series (as it's Episode 1 of After Hours) gets better.

I wouldn't put money on it though, Cracked just seems so forced anymore with all their daily posts and videos, trying to keep up with quantity and sadly, the quality suffers. I wish they'd kick back like Swaim's other gig, Those Aren't Muskets, (which features most of the same people) and just put out funny stuff when they happen to come across a great idea. I hate that TAM doesn't have weekly updates, but when they do post stuff, it's usually worth the wait and very funny.
posted by NoraCharles at 5:45 PM on July 20, 2010


Yeah I like how I got a trigger warning for someone using the "r-word" in the context of an actual mental handicap, but using "gay" as a pejorative somehow got a free pass.
posted by hermitosis at 5:45 PM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Just to be clear, as Navelgazer noted above, the character who utters gay as a pejorative is clearly an idiot and this is the source of the humor (such as it is). Are we really to understand that counting is bad? I do not mean to derail (really!) but I think its inclusion is open to more charitable interpretations, but again: I am just some straight dude and definitely not looking to adjudicate acceptable use of initially hateful phrases. I kinda liked the format, though I could see how some would view it as tiresome and too twee by half or whatever.
posted by joe lisboa at 5:50 PM on July 20, 2010


using the "r-word" in the context of an actual mental handicap, uh, I am pretty sure the r-word in question is "rape" and not "retarded."
posted by joe lisboa at 5:51 PM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


As for the Chuck Berry thing, I've come to peace with it by saying that Berry only heard a little piece of the song over a scratchy phone call, took the inspiration and wrote the song which Marty would eventually go back and play.

Plus, Chuck Berry had a little help from Louis Jordan.
posted by peeedro at 6:06 PM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Marisa, it would take me a dozen videos to talk about all the things wrong with that shitty movie. But then I'd have to spend a dozen videotapings talking about that shitty movie.
posted by emjaybee at 6:07 PM on July 20, 2010


lazaruslong: possible trigger alert for use of the "r" word

Seriously? I h-word people doing this kind of s-word on the i-word.
posted by paisley henosis at 6:21 PM on July 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


For real. Forrest Gump distresses me, in part because it's technically very well made and comes from Zemeckis, who was making damn good movies prior to that point.

It all really comes down to the character of Jenny, who's tragic flaw is having been involved with the counter-culture of the mid-century, which continually destroys her. At least we get to learn that she was involved with the counter-culture because she was molested as a child. And then we get the fantastic line, "I'm not a smart man, but I know what love is," which sounds great and profound until you put in the context of a very complex woman who's seen enough to last her several lifetimes, and that the speaker sees "love" as being no more complex than giving her puppy-like adoration instead of understanding what her life has been and what she might want to do with it in the future. The romantic arc is one in which Jenny learns to stop all of this nonsense and come back to Alabama to be a good wife.

I remember one very accurate review of it which summed it up as a congratulatory love letter to all of the boomers who watched history from the sidelines and didn't get involved. That sounds about right to me.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:23 PM on July 20, 2010 [48 favorites]


That's certainly a lot more eloquent than my take; I took away from it that if I shut up and did whatever anyone told me to do, my life would be a carefree adventure of people falling over themselves to carry me along - don't be like that foolish girl who challenged the status quo, just look what happened to her.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:30 PM on July 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Well, okay, if we're going down the Forrest Gump rabbithole...

It's an allegory. Captain Dan believes that destiny is foretold. He believes that he has to live up to something, or in his case, to die in a way appropriate to his genes, or whatever. He spends the entire film raging against fate for not living up to what it should have been for him. Jenny believes that one can shape one's destiny. She spends the entire film fleeing what she hates about her past and hoping to make her life into something which she envisions it should be.

The only successful character in the film, psychically and otherwise, is Forrest. He is the p'u, the uncarved block. He accepts what comes his way and flows with the streams, never seeking to create anything for himself and surrendering to the whims of the winds of fate as they blow him around.

I'm not saying it's a great film, but it's very successful when read on that level.
posted by hippybear at 6:37 PM on July 20, 2010 [14 favorites]


Whoa, wu wei?
posted by joe lisboa at 6:40 PM on July 20, 2010


I feel sorry for you if you don't find this funny, though I shouldn't be surprised mefites feel like this is beneath them.
posted by incessant at 6:52 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


The r word refers to rape. I'm sorry for those that didn't find it amusing. To those that did, me too!
posted by lazaruslong at 6:59 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


man, that thing was pitch perfect at times, and then god awful at times. and this switch would happen every 2 seconds. it's like you didn't get an opportunity to laugh because some dumb cartoon thing would pop up, or the idiot would call counting gay before the laugh came out. and then you don't want to laugh because you're too busy going "what the fuck?"
posted by shmegegge at 7:09 PM on July 20, 2010


I mean, what the fuck is with "you clearly don't know anything about rock music?" is it because she's a woman? I don't get the clearly, there. she doesn't seem to, either. what?
posted by shmegegge at 7:09 PM on July 20, 2010


shmegegge, I think DOB was just being a jackass among friends with that line, suggesting prior history. Just as she makes fun of his "rap phase" without any further explanation later, except that it was clearly something more embarassing than simply liking rap would entail.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:15 PM on July 20, 2010


Can we talk about Forrest Gump more?

I probably understood the movie all wrong, but I saw it as a deeply savage, almost sarcastic, piece of commentary on American culture.
posted by Neale at 7:32 PM on July 20, 2010


I can google "back to the future jokes" too, guys.
posted by zerolives at 7:44 PM on July 20, 2010


Meta
posted by mlis at 7:48 PM on July 20, 2010


Dammit! I went into this with a lot of hope, which disintegrated fast. I'm not being a hater here, I think a lot of the content is really solid! This would have made, for example, a really decent Cracked.com article.

Don't get me wrong, their articles are the equivalent of powdered donuts, but I'm kind of proud of them for going from the magazine I bought when I couldn't afford Mad to a more or less ubiquitous purveyor of college-style internet yuks. I visit worse sites.

The problem is with the diner framing. Would have been a funny article, would even have been a funny video if they had stuck to the movie clips and picture-in-picture what have you, those segments were, in my book, OK! The diner segments are so profoundly embarrassing and uncool that I don't really have any response to them but just ugh.
posted by chaff at 8:20 PM on July 20, 2010


Maybe it's that I saw it when I was still young and naïve and impressionable, but does Forrest Gump really need to mean something? Of course it can if you want it to, and it may well have in the author's mind. It can be a love letter to counterculture or a musing about fate or a star-crossed romantic tragedy or his-fic porn.

Or it can just be entertaining; an endearing character getting a few cheap happy endings with just enough tragedy and heartstring-pulling to keep it from becoming overly saccharine.

Sometimes I don't need any more from a movie than that, and as far as that goes Forrest Gump is as close to a pitch-perfect execution as anyone's likely to achieve. Must we be cynical about it?
posted by Riki tiki at 8:24 PM on July 20, 2010


Jesus that was aweful
I mean, what the fuck is with "you clearly don't know anything about rock music?" is it because she's a woman? I don't get the clearly, there. she doesn't seem to, either. what?
Yeah, I think that's what it was about. Plus they mocked her for sleeping with the guy next to her (the one drinking from a jug). The whole thing was super awkward and the people didn't even seem to like each other.

The content was pretty meh. But the acting and interaction was just awful.
posted by delmoi at 8:24 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


In cortex's new game, I know to eliminate delmoi as the commenter if the comment has anything positive in it.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:35 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


it may well have in the author's mind

The novel Forrest Gump has almost nothing to do with the movie Forrest Gump. It's shocking how different they are on SOOOO many levels.
posted by hippybear at 8:38 PM on July 20, 2010


In cortex's new game, I know to eliminate delmoi as the commenter if the comment has anything positive in it.

It's not my fault everything sucks!
posted by delmoi at 8:44 PM on July 20, 2010 [9 favorites]


Okay, that made me laugh. Good on ya.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:46 PM on July 20, 2010


It's hard to find enough things wrong about Forrest Gump.

Along with Chasing Amy, Magnolia, and Armageddon, it's one of the four worst movies ever.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:55 PM on July 20, 2010


I liked it, but I haven't read any of Cracked's articles about Back to the Future, let alone seen the movies for years.

[Forrest Gump] is the p'u, the uncarved block.


Thanks, now this is in my head, Forrest Gump shouting "wu weeeeiiii."
posted by anotherbrick at 8:56 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


The whole thing was super awkward and the people didn't even seem to like each other.


Honestly? This seems to be the basis of pretty much all contemporary comedy these days. One reason why I don't watch much of it.
posted by AdamCSnider at 8:56 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not to mention Cracked has made these points about Back to the Future at least three times

Thank you, I'm glad someone else noticed that too. Cracked's lists are fun to read on their own, and they have their own subtle humor to them, like the random images and captions that break up stuff perfectly, as well as the voices of some of the writers. It is NOT improved by four douchebags talking in not-in-any-way-close-to-real-or-even-imagined-conversation dialogue that would have Family Guy writers whining about straining.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:56 PM on July 20, 2010


The problem with Forrest Gump - the film; not the novel, which I haven't read - is that the entire thing puts the blame for the suffering that Jenny, Robin Wright Penn's character, goes through on her politics. So, she was a liberal hippy in the 1960s, who continued on the kind of path you would expect former 1960s liberal hippies to go down. What's her reward? SHE GETS AIDS AND DIES. Meanwhile, Forrest, as an unthinking and unquestioning member of the great and good unwashed who has learned to embrace his position in life and just be thankful that Important People are willing to give him the time of day every now and then, does just fine. It's a fucking horrible message: shut up, don't question authorities who know better than you do about [X], let them dictate your life (up to and including sending you off to war), and for god's sake don't ever think that you're more than cannon fodder. Fuck that.
posted by Len at 8:59 PM on July 20, 2010 [11 favorites]


There is nothing, nothing, NOTHING good about Forrest Gump. It's an "inspirational" movie whereby the protagonist is supposed to win our hearts by virtue of being good-natured and dumb. Oh, and they throw the boomers a bone with a bunch of cheap, throw-away nostalgia. The people who loved this movie went on to elect George W. Bush. It should be cast into the great tarpit known as the Gulf, never to be seen again.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:02 PM on July 20, 2010 [8 favorites]


So, she was a liberal hippy in the 1960s, who continued on the kind of path you would expect former 1960s liberal hippies to go down.

Wait what? Where did you get that. She embarks down a path trying to seek her destiny. Sure, it looks like she's going off on some grand hippie adventure, but she whores herself out, gets involved in heroin and alcohol, finds herself as lover to a terrorist radical who is friends with militant revolutionaries, nearly attempts suicide... Is that the path which one expects former 1960s liberal hippies to follow? Because that's certainly not the path any of the actual 1960s hippies who are still living that I personally know followed with their lives...
posted by hippybear at 9:09 PM on July 20, 2010


If you can't write, improvise, or deliver believable dialogue as a source for getting your comedic message across, you ought to try a different tack. These guys should stick to blogging.
posted by modernnomad at 9:11 PM on July 20, 2010


Wait what? Where did you get that. She embarks down a path trying to seek her destiny. Sure, it looks like she's going off on some grand hippie adventure, but she whores herself out, gets involved in heroin and alcohol, finds herself as lover to a terrorist radical who is friends with militant revolutionaries, nearly attempts suicide... Is that the path which one expects former 1960s liberal hippies to follow? Because that's certainly not the path any of the actual 1960s hippies who are still living that I personally know followed with their lives...

Sorry, I may be misremembering the film; it's been a good 15 years since I've seen it. But I do seem to remember thinking, when I did watch it, that the catalyst for everything that goes wrong with her life - the heroin, the revolutionaries, the suicide attempt, and, finally, the AIDS diagnosis - was her involvement with the 1960s counterculture. The implication I took away from the film was that had she not gotten involved in that in the first place, then she'd be, I dunno, happily married with three kids in some midwestern suburb, and not a former smackhead ex-revolutionary dying of/already dead from AIDS. Again, the film's message seemed to be that if only she had learned her proper place in life, none of this bad stuff would have happened to her. (I'm fully willing to admit that this interpretation of the film may be clouded by the fact that I haven't seen it in so long, but the reason that it has stuck with me was that it so offended me at the time.)
posted by Len at 9:22 PM on July 20, 2010


I'm not gonna watch the video, but I can tell you that the really disturbing thing about BTTF is the message of egomania: Your present would be much better if you had influence over your past. So 80s. Is that what they say? I'd doubt it.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:26 PM on July 20, 2010


I feel like we should be making more of the creepy kid.
posted by doublehappy at 9:27 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


this is surprisingly good
posted by Bwithh at 9:36 PM on July 20, 2010


I also find myself constantly amused by complaints of "unbelievable dialogue" in settings which, to me, mimic the conversational flow that I've had with my friends pretty closely.

Juno, for example, got tons of snipes because the dialogue wasn't realistic, but it was pretty dead-on for how my friends and talked )or imagined we did, at least) in high school.

Considering how much my group will take to playing shtick and characters for comedic purposes in conversations these days, this is believable enough for me as well.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:04 PM on July 20, 2010


Meh. Fun to discuss but it's been done to death.

Probably late enough in this thread for a derail - I found this in a link next to the linked FPP. It blew me away, somewhat:

Woody Allen Reinvents Cinema By Accident

The film Annie Hall didn't just transform Woody Allen's career: It transformed the world of cinema by reinventing the romantic comedy genre and using a widely imitated style of non-linear narrative (we're looking at you, Tarantino). It also transformed Star Wars fans into raging maniacs by getting the Best Picture Oscar instead of Episode IV.

With Annie Hall, Woody Allen made a conscious decision to leave behind the wacky genre spoofs he was known for and become a respected filmmaker...

The Arbitrary Reasons:

Well, actually, Annie Hall was supposed to be a wacky genre spoof, too. In fact, it was even shot that way. The story was conceived as a murder mystery that happened to have a romantic subplot, but upon viewing the four hours of footage, the editor thought it sucked.

That's right, it was the editor, not Woody Allen, who decided to change the whole thing. The guy convinced Allen to scrap the entire murder mystery plot and focus on the romantic aspect instead. Suddenly Diane Keaton's character went from a quirky supporting player (similar to her role in Woody's previous films) to the most important part of the film.

But hold on a second, you can't just cut the main plot out of a film, can you? Wouldn't that leave the story a little disjointed? Sure it did, which accounts for the influential non-linear narrative we were talking about earlier. The script already involved extensive flashback sequences, so all they had to do was jumble the order of the scenes set in the present and call it "experimental."

It worked surprisingly well, mainly thanks to the stream of consciousness narration Allen and the editor added to the final cut.

The World-Changing Consequences:

First of all, there's the whole "creating a new film genre" thing. Romantic comedies had been practically non-existent in Hollywood since the early 60s. Like musicals, they were deemed too silly for modern audiences. Annie Hall accidentally made them cool again. There was enough neurosis left over from the murder mystery spoof, and since Allen didn't know he was making a romantic comedy, the guy [MAJOR SPOILER REMOVED BY ME!] in romantic comedies up to that point. The basic formula of Annie Hall was ripped off by When Harry Met Sally, and then When Harry Met Sally was ripped off by every single romantic comedy made since then.

Then there's the non-linear thing. No mainstream film was so blatantly disjointed as Annie Hall, and the fact that it did so well proved that wide audiences could go for a thing like that. Modern films like Memento, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, (500) Days of Summer and Everything Tarantino Has Ever Done only exist because Woody Allen shot a film that was too terrible to edit.
http://www.cracked.com/article_18644_5-world-changing-decisions-made-ridiculous-reasons.html
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:49 PM on July 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


Marty McFly [on drugs] on Late Night With Dave Letterman. It gets really bizarre at ~2:10. Letterman walks off about 10 seconds later.

/not sure how many times I've seen an interviewer walk off mid interview.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:58 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Magnolia is terrific, and Blood Gnome is easily worse than anything you mentioned.

One day, John Lechago, the creator of Blood Gnome, is going to track me down and beat me for repeatedly using his film as my example of bad filmmaking. And I won't blame him.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:59 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


You mean George McFly. That interview is a classic, although it doesn't seem as weird now. It was pretty much a turning point in Glover's career and he was pretty much branded the oddball outsider from then on.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:00 PM on July 20, 2010


Because that's certainly not the path any of the actual 1960s hippies who are still living that I personally know followed with their lives...

That's because the vast majority of actual 1960s hippies have already died of AIDS. Did you even watch the movie?
posted by crashlanding at 11:00 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bugger. Thanks, Burhanistan.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:13 PM on July 20, 2010


Marty McFly [on drugs]

Yeah, no, he was in character for a role that would later become Rubin and Ed.
posted by Rhomboid at 11:13 PM on July 20, 2010


> Yeah, no, he was in character for a role that would later become Rubin and Ed .

Thank you. I knew he wasn't on LSD or anything, but thought it he was going for some kind of Kaufmann-esque thing. He's really not that weird, just not a square normal either.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:16 PM on July 20, 2010


[on drugs]

Yeah, I debated added that editorial. If he wasn't on drugs, then he was at least a trendsetter doin' that kind of thing on Letterman.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:31 PM on July 20, 2010


"Why do you know what year the civil rights movement started?"
"Why do you NOT?"
posted by Jacqueline at 11:40 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Juno, for example, got tons of snipes because the dialogue wasn't realistic, but it was pretty dead-on for how my friends and talked )or imagined we did, at least) in high school.

See, that was my objection to Juno, right there. The dialogue in that film bears little resemblance to how kids that age actually talk, but is dead-on similar to how kids that age wish they talked, or how adults would like to remember having talked.

I realize this wasn't a problem for admirers of the film, but it grated on my nerves. To me, it felt dishonest and pandering. And the main character, to me, never once seemed like a real person or anything but a sock puppet. Juno is the movie equivalent of one of those comedians whose entire shtick is pointing out how lame and stupid everyone else is compared to their own clever, wise selves. If Juno were an Internet commenter, my response to it would be a hearty "Cool story, bro!"

If nothing else, the film deserves eternal ridicule solely for the line, "Honest to blog?" The fact that Diablo Cody's career survived that phrase is why I've lost all hope for the human species.
posted by Pants McCracky at 12:18 AM on July 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


I could give a shit about Cracked and their opinions on BTTF (sorry lazarus) but I'm moved beyond favorites to point out two comments in this thread:

I could listen to someone calling themselves hippybear talk about "p'u, the uncarved block" all day long.

I could listen to someone calling themselves Astro Zombie talk about bad movies all night long.

I've also I've lurked here long enough to know there's a mefi injoke appropriate to this very situation... iponis... eponhys... ponymouse... ah, fuck it.
posted by Chichibio at 2:50 AM on July 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: that was aweful
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 4:06 AM on July 21, 2010


I'm not saying it's a great film, but it's very successful when read on that level.

That reading actually makes me hate Forrest Gump even more! I didn't think that was possible.
posted by crossoverman at 4:54 AM on July 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


If nothing else, the film deserves eternal ridicule solely for the line, "Honest to blog?" The fact that Diablo Cody's career survived that phrase is why I've lost all hope for the human species.

She pretty much just straight-up aped the writing style of Television Without Pity, but pretended it was dialogue. It often sounded unnatural and too twee on TWoP; that sense was magnified hearing it read aloud. But some people were dazzled. People in Hollywood found it to be quite original, as dialogue goes, which confirmed my theory that people in Hollywood -- at least the decision makers -- don't read the Web.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:08 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


And I also want to add my voice to the chorus clamoring for more discussion/information about the creepy kid pointing creepily to his creepy kid peen in BTTF3. Who is he? What does he want? Where did he come from?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:20 AM on July 21, 2010


Weird kid is Dannel Evans but didn't do much else (besides the hurf-durfery of an Eerie Indiana episode). Others online have found an out-of-date Myspace page and also a police blotter entry. But no explanation for the WTF.
posted by DU at 6:23 AM on July 21, 2010


Oh and the Eerie episode as brief nudity...of Dannel Evans. Things is gettin' weird.

(There's a msg brd post on Snopes about him and they think he needs to pee. I didn't realize Snopes' msg brd was peopled entirely by the blind.)
posted by DU at 6:32 AM on July 21, 2010


My impression of Jenny is that she continually tried to reinvent herself in a world that was slanted against her from the beginning, and she lost. That seems tragic and realistic to me. Good guys don't always win, especially if they're not the film protagonist.

On the other hand, the world was kind of made for Forrest (once he lost the limp), a fit compliant white man who doesn't fight the system. The remarkable thing is that he never quite buys into the system either, and continues to love Jenny (and, at least according to my memory), to support her even as she makes choices (not necessarily free choices!) that his world would consider wrong.
posted by Salamandrous at 6:37 AM on July 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


The number of factual errors in that video... ugh. Utterly distracting. Here's a couple:

1. He WAS called "Marty" in 1955, and Lorraine specifically mentions what a nice name it is.
2. The civil rights movement had its roots prior to 1955, and began truly picking up steam BEFORE 1955.
3. "Slave records"? I think he means "race records".
posted by grubi at 6:39 AM on July 21, 2010


I think we can all agree that Forest Gump's worst crime was stealing Tarintino's Best Picture Oscar.
posted by Gin and Comics at 7:42 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love this. I love it. I dont care what site it came from or who made it because it's hilarious.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:23 AM on July 21, 2010


The art they used is by Winston Rowntree of Subnormality fame.
posted by Evilspork at 9:24 AM on July 21, 2010


Er, art.
posted by Evilspork at 9:25 AM on July 21, 2010


Magnolia is terrific

No, no, no it is not.

A movie is allowed to be long. It is allowed to be pointless. It is allowed to be depressing. But it is not, not, NOT allowed to be all three. That's called pretension, and it should be scorned.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:29 AM on July 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


> A movie is allowed to be long. It is allowed to be pointless. It is allowed to be depressing. But it is not, not, NOT allowed to be all three.

There goes just about all of the Oscar-bait features, then.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:43 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


The one good thing about Magnolia is that it's yet another example of "Tom Cruise does his best work when he's allowed to act like a self-absorbed egomaniacal prick".
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:50 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thank goodness for this thread. I can now dump the sad bones of my incomplete BttF post somewhere suitable.

-------------------

Back to the Future was released 25 years ago a a few weeks back (on July 3). Though Doc was planning to go back to 2010, those blasted Libyans got in the way and instead Marty went back to 1955 in the time machine made from a DeLorean DMC-12. Details on these facts, and many more, courtesy of Futurepedia, the Back to the Future wiki. Venture in for more nostalgia for the future.
- - -
First thing first: all those twitterers were wrong, July 5, 2010, was not a destination in the original Back to the Future. Nor was July 6, 2010.

Previously:
* (US) football projections from 1979, including a link to the 2015 page on Futurepedia
* DeLorean FPP
* DeLorian mod for the PC game Crysis (v1.0 is available, as of 2009), and an older mod for Grand Theft Auto (latest edition: version 0.2e, released in 2009)
* Temporial anomalies in films, including the Back to the Future trilogy
* Futuristic shoe technology, available in black and McFly edition, following vague rumors of Nike Air McFly (based on props from the movies, and then a rumor that Kanye was involved, due to album art)

Video link-o-rama: The ending of BttF (original) compared to the beginning of BttF II (and that's where I ran out of steam)
posted by filthy light thief at 10:05 AM on July 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


"Why do you know what year the civil rights movement started?"
"Why do you NOT?"


That was the only thing actually offensive in there. The civil rights movement, to belabor the obvious, did not start in 1955. Hell, that was a year after Brown, and if you think Brown started the Civil Rights movement then I suggest you do some more research, Cracked people.
posted by norm at 10:15 AM on July 21, 2010


The civil rights thing wasn't nearly as painful as the contrived "lolrandom" banter shoehorned into what amounts to four people rattling off the text to a Cracked article. But I guess if you click on a Cracked link, contrivance and trying way too hard is exactly what you should expect by now.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:46 AM on July 21, 2010


Only filthy light thief would call that amount of research the sad bones of an incomplete post.
posted by hippybear at 10:51 AM on July 21, 2010


A movie is allowed to be long. It is allowed to be pointless. It is allowed to be depressing. But it is not, not, NOT allowed to be all three. That's called pretension, and it should be scorned.

I would attribute none of those things to Magnolia. I do have a question for you: Are you a smoker?

I ask because I have a theory about Magnolia, and it's pretty consistently been borne out by that question. And it's this: At the three-hour range, smokers are nic-fitting so bad that they have no forgiveness for the film. It gets to the end and they go, oh man, fuckign frogs? REALLY? ALL THIS FOR A FUCKING RAIN OF FROGS?

I have often found that these same audiences, watching the film on DVD, and taking time out for a smoke break halfway through, enjoy the film.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:11 AM on July 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I take sublingual nicotine pills, so while Magnolia wasn't horrible to me, I didn't think it was that great. In fairness, my negative feelings towards the movie were probably influenced by my roommates belting out "RESPECT THE COCK!" whenever the mood struck, for months on end.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:20 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Eh, it was a number of links to one site (Futurepedia), a bunch of previous links, proof that the twitter meme ("Doc sets clock in the DeLorean to a day 25 years in the future. Today is that day.") was wrong (and now that link is useless! Arglebargle!), plus a bonus YT link.

Really, it was all about Futurepedia, but I wanted to find more interesting out-takes (hopefully footage of Crispin Gloover trying out for the role of Marty McFly, but over-acting in the nerd role). And only now I read more into the production notes on Wikipedia, which note that the film was one of Industrial Light and Magic's first forays into digital compositing, a groundbreaking method of dealing with SFX from a big-name production house. And then IMDB has more odd trivia to expand upon. Maybe on Oct 21, 2015, when I can look back and laugh at my former bojo-self.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:24 AM on July 21, 2010


Marty George McFly on drugs

Yeah, no, he was in character for a role that would later become Rubin and Ed

Thank you. I knew he wasn't on LSD or anything

Uh, I really, really, really think Glover was high on LSD in that Letterman clip. I believe the "Rubin" character and movie were attempts at retconning his embarrassing national TV trip-tacular (the interview took place in 1987, Rubin and Ed was released in 1991...in this clip of the infamous interview, at about the 1:15 mark, Glover is reading an article from the L.A. Weekly that says "Crispin Glover, who was in an ______ frenzy [the missing word was not broadcast], and it seems pretty clear to me that the censored word is "acid." "Crispin Glover, who was in an acid frenzy."...in his next appearance on Letterman Glover explained his behavior not by promoting the upcoming film "Rubin and Ed," but by explaining that the strange and erratic person wasn't Glover at all, but a "friend" impersonating him...and in this interview he says that bizarre Letterman stint should "live in that realm of mystery." Yeah, the guy is an eccentric, irreverent performance artist of a peculiar genius (Clowny Clown Clown, anyone?), but that Letterman appearance was not Tony Clifton inspired antics. But this should be plain to any viewer of that interview who has experience with psychedelics.

Brother was trippin', folks. God bless him.
posted by thescientificmethhead at 11:59 AM on July 21, 2010


Doc was planning to go back to 2010

Shit we only have 5 more years to invent hoverboard? BLACK PEOPLE GET ON THIS ASAP!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:01 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


BLACK PEOPLE GET ON THIS ASAP!

Is this a joke I don't understand?
posted by hippybear at 12:09 PM on July 21, 2010


Is this a joke I don't understand?

You didn't watch the video in the post, I take it?
posted by Sys Rq at 12:10 PM on July 21, 2010


> but that Letterman appearance was not Tony Clifton inspired antics. But this should be plain to any viewer of that interview who has experience with psychedelics.

Dude doesn't confirm or deny it, and plenty of people who have experience with LSD could have split opinions on it. It's not a stretch to presume that he was playing a role, rather than swimming the lysergic seas.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:11 PM on July 21, 2010


Not to further derail, but I've never seen "Magnolia" - some spoilers for me in this thread, but i decided to spoil it further by reading the wikipedia article on it...

Not only did I decide that yes, I never need to see this movie -- I was really amused by the depth of the article... the relationship charts are one thing, but then there's this amazing sentence, of which I've never seen the likes of on WP:

Frank is consumed by rage and self-loathing, sobbing and disgorging a stream of invective against the father who ruined his life but asking him not to die.
posted by MysticMCJ at 12:18 PM on July 21, 2010


I agree, Burhanistan, especially given the general weirdness that Glover has cultivated in his persona. But look at how he clutches at the shoulder of Dave's jacket when Letterman leaves after the karate kick...dude was twisted.
posted by thescientificmethhead at 12:18 PM on July 21, 2010


Also, thanks MeFi for finally helping me piece together why I hated forrest gump so much.
posted by MysticMCJ at 12:19 PM on July 21, 2010


I would attribute none of those things to Magnolia. I do have a question for you: Are you a smoker?

No. I am not a smoker. But if this movie is so dear to your heart, could you please tell me, WHAT THE HELL WAS THE POINT OF IT ALL?

I mean, other than a bunch of depressing, mostly-unrelated stories? And what is supposed to be my payoff for having sat through such a long, dull, depressing movie, complete with the cheesy Amiee Mann singalong and gimmicky rain of frogs?

I mean, yes, I get it, the spliced-together vignettes of the movie are brought together through a string of coincidences. I don't know why that's supposed to be satisfying. I mean, maybe if all of that happened in real life it would be. But it happened that way in the movie BECAUSE IT WAS WRITTEN THAT WAY.

I just really didn't like any of this movie. To me, it's the apotheosis of "it's depressing, so you have to take it seriously" filmmaking. Maybe it's just that I couldn't get into any of the individual stories. Didn't like any of the characters, didn't sympathize with them, didn't care what happened to them.

As I said. A movie can be long, it can be pointless, it can be depressing. But it cannot be all three. Even two out of three, and you can still have an okay movie. But if all it does is depress the crap out of me, for a really long time, without giving me any useful thematic or philosophical or emotional meat to chew on, then no, it is not a good movie. It is a bad movie, one of the four worst I've ever seen.

(and do realize, I'm talking about movies that I can't say anything good about. even movies like Troll 2, Birdemic, The Room, and Horror House on Highway Five can be laughed at in their ineptitude. but I can find no saving grace in Magnolia. it was just sad and bad, and that made me mad)
posted by Afroblanco at 12:27 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


(you know, I just realized, almost everything I've said about Magnolia in this thread could also be applied to Crash. eeeeenteresting.......)
posted by Afroblanco at 12:32 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Magnolia never taught me An Important Lesson About Race.
posted by Artw at 12:34 PM on July 21, 2010


You didn't watch the video in the post, I take it?

I watched it nearly 24 hours ago and promptly forgot most of it. I guess it was a joke in the video, then? Okay.
posted by hippybear at 12:41 PM on July 21, 2010


As I said. A movie can be long, it can be pointless, it can be depressing. But it cannot be all three.

You realize this is just something you pulled out of your ass, right? That it's not actually a god-given rule of Successful Filmmaking, except in terms of films that you personally enjoy?

It is entirely possible that Paul Thomas Anderson did not make Magnolia with the intent of satisfying Afroblanco.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:45 PM on July 21, 2010


A movie is allowed to be long. It is allowed to be pointless. It is allowed to be depressing. But it is not, not, NOT allowed to be all three. That's called pretension, and it should be scorned.

I tend to agree, but I'm willing to make an exception for Werner Herzog.

Mostly because I think he might shoot me, tear my limbs off, and feed me to a bear, in random order.
posted by malocchio at 1:32 PM on July 21, 2010


Und we will look into ze bears eyes... AND SEE NOTHING!
posted by Artw at 1:37 PM on July 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


I tend to agree, but I'm willing to make an exception for Werner Herzog.

Malocchio has a blank stare which speaks only of a half-bored interest in food. /Herzog
posted by joe lisboa at 2:16 PM on July 21, 2010


I don't see where there is any appropriation of "gay" which uses it in a pejorative sense which I will see as acceptable. When the queer community took back, well, "queer", it was to use it as a badge of pride and to twist the formerly negative use into a positive. Ditto any other such similar reclaiming of a word from the hands of bigots. The use of "gay" as a negative descriptor moves in the opposite direction, springs from bigotry, and isn't a reclaiming of the term in any sense.


Is this parody? Because if it isn't it's a terrible waste of LOL potential.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 4:24 PM on July 21, 2010


Could we please get back to discussing the actual topic at hand?

Sheesh.



Man, that crotch-pointing kid is really freaking my shit out.
posted by Atom Eyes at 6:56 PM on July 21, 2010


What I hated bout BTTF was the way "cool" was defined in terms of stuff. Marty's parents weren't cool because they had crappy stuff, he was cool because he had an island of expensive stuff in the house, and when he came back, his parents were now cool because they now had a bunch of expensive stuff.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 8:00 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


disgorging a stream of invective, metafilter...
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:25 PM on July 21, 2010


I find this article to also make interesting BTTF points even though it undermines itself a bit with swearing for no reason.
posted by beardlace at 1:08 PM on July 22, 2010


What I hated bout BTTF was the way "cool" was defined in terms of stuff. Marty's parents weren't cool because they had crappy stuff, he was cool because he had an island of expensive stuff in the house, and when he came back, his parents were now cool because they now had a bunch of expensive stuff.

That's the '80s in a nutshell, really. (See also John Hughes' entire oeuvre.)
posted by Sys Rq at 1:39 PM on July 22, 2010


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