Back to the Future Part II might just be my favorite of the trilogy. If nothing else, it was the ballsiest of the three. A movie so bizarre and so unbridledly over-the-top that it could’ve very easily been laughed at for all the wrong reasons. I’ve seen the movie a million times, but was only recently struck by how strange it is. Between the holographic Jaws, the futuristic pizza and some pretty suspect ideas about how to make actors look different with makeup, the movie’s strength of spirit somehow made everything weird about it work.
Very high on my list of favorite moments is that quick shot of Marty McFly window shopping at 2015’s antique shop, Blast from the Past. It was a nice gag in 1989, but the passage of time has made it all the sweeter.
(Click here for a closer look!)
If you’ll recall, Blast from the Past is where Marty picked up the dreaded sports almanac. In effect, there wouldn’t have been much of a movie without this antique shop there to mess things up.
The joke was that the “antiques” of 2015 were mostly things that audiences knew as current. Over twenty years later, and now they’re antiques for real. Most of the crud behind that glass is being gobbled up on eBay at this precise moment.
Much to our chagrin, Marty only stands there for a few seconds. This is what I call an “always-pause moment.” You know the type. You do it during key shots of the “senate scene” from The Phantom Menace. You do it when Paul Reubens puts on the “headlight glasses” in Pee-wee ‘s Big Adventure. This is another of those movie moments that can never be fully appreciated in real-time. Thank God for pause buttons.
Below: A breakdown of Blast from the Past’s best junk!
I won’t explain all of these things, because try as I might, there just isn’t a lot to say about Perrier. Instead, let’s focus on the big ticket items.
You may remember the Talking Roger Rabbit doll — even if you’ve never seen one in person. It’s all because of the doll’s television commercial, which painted its cast of kids as hare-hating maniacs who just could not stop beating on poor Roger Rabbit. Who could forget that? Roger’s inclusion here was a gag within a gag, since Robert Zemeckis directed this movie and that movie.
The Jaws Nintendo game is my favorite “antique” of all. That was among my guiltiest video game pleasures. A terrible and indefensible game that I secretly had so much fun with. It was frustrating as frick when you played it the right way, but if you just pretended it was some sort of “virtual diving excursion” with a sidebar of shark danger, it was actually kind of pleasant.
For more shark action. look behind the Nintendo game and you’ll also spot the Jaws 2 videocassette!
You’ll notice a second Nintendo game on the bottom row – BurgerTime. I can’t recall ever playing that on the Nintendo; my BurgerTime experiences were limited to the much shoddier Atari 2600 version. “Mr. Hot Dog” did not translate well on the 2600. Ever see a red square? That was Mr. Hot Dog.
There were also some high-end electronics in the mix, including a computer and a video camera. I don’t know anything about the computer, but I’m pretty sure that that’s the exact video camera my parents once owned. Me and my friends used to film talk shows on that thing, along with the occasional sci-fi epic starring me as the Beetlejuice-masked villain. (I was called “Emperor Guillotine.” The Johnny Sokko tributes didn’t end there.)
You can fill in the blanks on the rest, but I should point out that you can still buy lava lamps just like the one shown above. Aside from breast-shaped milk dispensers, they’re the best reason to go to Spencer’s.
Of course, Grays Sports Almanac was the undeniable best item sold at Blast from the Past. It caused a lot of trouble, but Marty still had the right idea. Who among us hasn’t sat around dreaming up totally impossible and borderline magical ways to make money? Having access to fifteen years’ worth of future sports results seemed like such a safe, can’t-lose opportunity.
Even if you didn’t want to tempt fate with forces from the future, the book was still worth owning. Check out that sleek silver cover! It was like the DeLorean in magazine form!
Let’s end this with a survey, admittedly because I can’t come up with any better way to end this.
Disqualifying the sports almanac because it’s way too obvious, let’s say you could zip to 2015 and pick ONE ITEM from Blast from the Past’s window display. What would you go home with? (And if you spot something behind the window that I didn’t specifically mention, yeah, that’s fair game too.)
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