After years of having to deal with false Facebook posts, today is finally, for real, Back to the Future day. Today, October 21, 2015 (at 4:29pm) is the day when Marty McFly, Doc Brown, and Jennifer Parker arrive at the future in Back to the Future Part II. The Back to the Future series has long been one of my favorites, and I’m looking forward to seeing Part II on the big screen this evening for the first time. But while I’ve written about the first film previously on the blog, I’ve never taken a look at Part II before and today is as good a day as any. I’m sure Back to the Future will be all over the internet today, and most of the articles will focus on how 2015 looked to those in 1985 (which is always the fun of time travel movies), I’d rather look at the film itself, its place in the story, and how it ties into and enhances the themes of the series.
I love musicals, but I love musical climaxes even more. No, not like that, get your mind out of the gutter! I’ve always enjoyed movies that have either the climax of the story, or at least a major plot point, revolve around a musical number, particularly when it is unexpected. I don’t mean in musicals, but in movies that otherwise have no musical numbers and are not about music. In other words, not movies like Crazy Heart, Ray, or A Prairie Home Companion, all of which are in some way about music.
I also don’t mean scenes set to music, either as a montage or to set the mood for the scene, like in Rocky, The Breakfast Club or Cruel Intentions. I’m not even talking about musical climaxes that are the obvious result of the plot, like in Dirty Dancing, Sister Act, or Little Miss Sunshine. What I’m talking about are moments when characters in otherwise non-musical movies have some sort of musical performance/dance number/song that resolves their issues, expresses their feelings, or advances the plot in a way that’s unique compared to the rest of the film, and is often unexpected or completely surprising. Here are some examples of what I mean: Continue reading