(This piece originally ran at www.johnandnick.com.)
Back to the Future 1 and Back to the Future 2 meet Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure in this revolutionary reboot of the Back to the Future franchise that promises to pay its respects to the original films while burning an exciting path for a new trilogy.
Michael J. Fox Jr. may be the son of Michael J. Fox, but he’s otherwise just a run of the mill kid. Until one day when he meets Doc Cassandra Brown Jr., a crazed but brilliant female professor at the Hill Valley campus of Harvard University. Cassandra shows Michael her latest invention: a time-traveling car inspired by the original Back to the Future film. Only this time, instead of a dumpy old Delorean, Cassandra has based her machine on a sexy new Nissan Leaf, which will be a prime corporate tie-in for us. Imagine the advertisements! “Where we’re going, we don’t need roads … or gasoline!”
On the night that Cassandra plans to test her new time-traveling vehicle with Michael, they are chased and attacked by a rabid group of oil lobbyists intent on destroying the gas-free, dimension-busting vehicle. In a rush, Cassandra and Michael Jr. flee through time by traveling back to … 1985. Coincidentally, they arrive just as the original Back to the Future is set to debut in theaters. Cassandra wants to return to the present immediately, but there’s one problem: they don’t have any compatible places at which to charge their eco-friendly electric car (This will give a good laugh for gas guzzlers. Appeals to all audiences!). Michael Jr. and Cassandra set out for Hollywood, convinced that meeting Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd will help them return to the present day. Michael Jr. also conceals secret plans to warn his father about his impending Parkinson’s. (This is the emotional undercurrent of the film.)
The duo crosses the country quickly. We’ll just do a road trip montage: Michael Jr. buys a puffy vest, Cassandra buys a white coat, they drive a yellow van in a Little Miss Sunshine homage, they also consume a lot of popular ‘80s products like Simon’s Quest and Pepsi Free, but continually note how modern day products like Nintendo 3DS and Diet Cherry Pepsi are better *and* cooler (should appease our corporate partners).
When they arrive in Hollywood, Cassandra and Michael Jr. can’t get close to Christopher and Michael Sr. But they do find Back to the Future actor Tom Wilson at a comedy club in Los Angeles. They enlist his help, but little do they know that Tom doesn’t just play a villain in the original movies. He’s a villain in real life too! Tom pretends to help them, but he’s out for his own gains: to become a bigger star than Michael J. Fox by infecting him with the deadly Parkinson’s disease.
Cassandra and Michael Jr. believe they’re on the verge of making it back home, and go out to celebrate. This leads to a fun montage where they visit a nightclub and consume many drinks. They end up at a karaoke bar, where they sing “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News (aside: we should pay OK GO to record a cover of the song to play over the credits). After this, Michael Jr. and Cassandra retire to their hotel room, where they make love for the first time. This is shot very tastefully.
Michael Jr. and Cassandra oversleep the next morning, and miss out on their meeting with Tom (and the excellent continental breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express, which they will lament missing if Holiday Inn Express pays us). Little do they know that Tom was waiting in the alley behind Mann’s Chinese Theater, where he was planning to kill the duo. When Tom realizes they aren’t showing up, he angrily kicks a nearby manure truck, which unlatches the back door and covers him in horse shit (callback!).
When our heroes arrive at the premiere, everyone mistakes Michael Jr. for his father and ushers him through. This leads to a funny sequence of events where Michael Jr. misquotes the movie in a weak impersonation of his famous father (example: “This is hefty”). He references roles that haven’t even been made yet (example: he talks about how much he loved working with Zach Braff on Scrubs). No one figures out the ruse until Michael J. Fox Sr. arrives. While security tries to capture Michael Jr., we see Tom Wilson sprinkling a bottle labelled PARKINSONS onto a tub of popcorn, which he tries to get Michael Sr. to eat. Cassandra distracts Michael Sr. and Tom Wilson, allowing Michael Jr. to swat the popcorn out of their hands.
Michael Jr. reveals what Tom Wilson has done. The police arrest Tom. Michael Jr. explains everything about the future to his father in an emotionally charged and riveting monologue -- the type that typically garners the writer and actor an Oscar. Michael thanks his future son, but then bends to the floor and eats some of the popcorn that has fallen there. Michael Jr. is crushed and confused, but Michael explains: “I don’t want to change a thing. Because you turned out to be such a good son.” This is incredibly powerful. The audience will be weeping.
The film wraps up with Michael, Michael Jr., Cassandra and Christopher Lloyd at Michael’s mansion in Hollywood. Christopher reveals that he was chosen to play Doc Brown because he’s actually a really good scientist. He fixes everything, and since it’s the end of the movie we don’t need to get into too many specifics. Michael Jr. and Cassandra get into the car and begin driving off, but they don’t notice that the car is still plugged in! Michael and Christopher give chase, each grabbing onto the plug and the car, and are wrapped up in its teleportation field. Obviously, this affects the mechanics of time travel, and the quartet doesn’t find themselves back in 2013, but in an alternate 2015. They land in front of a giant billboard … for Back to the Future 5!
Pitch for that coming soon. The end.
Michael J. Fox, Jr.
P.S. My temporary advisors at LegalZoom.com have asked me to note that while my name and the details of this movie pitch may suggest I am the son of Back to the Future star Michael J. Fox, I am actually not. Still, I don’t think that precludes me from taking on the part of Michael J. Fox Jr., as it’s literally the role I was born to play.