When I heard they would be screening “Back to the Future” on the big screen in 35mm, I knew I ought to be there. Add a costume contest and a Delorean parked outside for photo ops, and I knew I HAD to attend – it’s like an event that sprang from my own imagination! It was also a way to support a local heritage landmark in its efforts to continue thriving in the community.
Thus it was that I was at the screening at the “Church at the Hollywood” – formerly the Hollywood theatre and happily very much intact. It’s funny, here’s a movie I know well and absolutely love, but I wondered if seeing it on a big screen would really be so special -since I’m so familiar with it, and have had a few home screenings on the Blu-Ray.
I needn’t have worried. It was an entirely different and utterly fantastic experience. The TWO Deloreans outside generated lots of buzz, and there were quite a few folks dressed up including a real Michael J. Fox ringer and some ladies decked out in their swankiest 50’s duds. Inside, the theatre was full of folks who love the movie as much as me, and you could feel “1.2 Jigawatts” of excitement.
The screening itself was a blast, with everyone utterly tuned in and reacting gleefully to every little joke and moment, every character reaction — and every tic of Crispin Glover’s quirky performance as George McFly.
And the pleasure of boisterously cheering the “hero moments” along with the exultant crowd is something no home screening can duplicate!
It mist have been the intense atmosphere of enjoying it along with a theatre full if fans, but I actually found myself reacting strongly to each dramatic twist and moment of suspense, almost as if it was my first viewing!
I did think back more than once to that first viewing – at the California Theatre in Berkeley back in ’85. Yes, at the time I was bowled over, but I could never have had the rich experience then that I had tonight. Now, I brought to the viewing my many years of appreciation, an awareness of the interrelated plot threads and foreshadowing of later story developments – some taking place in sequels that, back in ’85, were still in the future.
I didn’t think it possible, but “BTTF” was funnier, more dramatic, more emotional, and more fun tonight than it’s been in a long time. All in all, it was a memorable and delightful experience of going “back in time”.