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Triple Feature: BACK TO THE FUTURE, 1985, Universal, 117 min. Director Robert Zemeckis provides a pitch-perfect combination of sharp satire and warm sentiment in this ingenious time-travel comedy. Michael J. Fox plays teenager Marty McFly, whose mentor (a manic and brilliant Christopher Lloyd) invents a time machine that takes the kid back to the 1950s. When he inadvertently gets in the way of his teenage parents’ relationship (and causes his future mother to develop a crush on him!), Fox has to figure out how to get them back together to insure his own eventual existence. Funny, touching and suspenseful, this love letter to American pop culture is one of the most entertaining films of the 1980s. With Crispin Glover.
BACK TO THE FUTURE PART II, 1989, Universal, 108 min. Rather than rest on their laurels, director Robert Zemeckis and writing partner Bob Gale completely reinvented the BACK TO THE FUTURE franchise with this audacious follow-up. In a bit of experimentation worthy of the French New Wave, Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd return for a sequel that spends most of its running time not before or after the original story but at the same time. A series of time-travel complications sends hero Marty McFly and partner Doc Brown back to the 1955 of the first film, after a mishap in 2015 generates a parallel universe. Even more elaborately plotted than the original, this highly ambitious sequel allows Zemeckis more opportunities for witty satire and cutting-edge special effects.
BACK TO THE FUTURE PART III, 1990, Universal, 118 min. Director Robert Zemeckis reunites his posse for this, the final installment, which sets off with McFly (Fox) receiving a 100-year-old letter from Doc Brown (Lloyd), who is now happily living in the Wild West of 1885. Some historical snooping reveals that Brown was to be killed a mere week after penning his missive! Time for Marty to reignite the DeLorean, hidden in an abandoned mine, save his partner and get back to the future; but it won’t be easy, what with gasoline as scarce as it was in ’85, and their nemesis Sheriff Buford “Mad Dog” Biff Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson) hot on their tail. And if that’s not enough, Doc has to go and fall in love with a schoolmarm (Mary Steenburgen). Set in the American West of 1950s television (but with ZZ Top!), the third installment in the trilogy successfully maintains the SFX wizardry and warm sentiment of the first two box office hits. Special Ticket Prices: $15 General, $13 Cinematheque Members. No vouchers.