Part II Minute 79 – The Cundey Composition

Part 2 Minute-00079

Strickland takes the almanac so Marty follows, but has to pass himself and Lorraine in Doc’s car.

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2 thoughts on “Part II Minute 79 – The Cundey Composition

  1. Again, this is a really good minute. I love when you guys talk about cinematography and directorial choices.

    About getting confused between which Marty Strickland calls a slacker: don’t worry, Strickland calls everyone a slacker no matter what timeline. Good to know there are some things you can always depend on. It must be coded into his DNA. Oh wait, it is. There was that Strickland character in Part III that started the genealogy of Stricklands.

    I agree, the visual aspects of the films must be really attractive to kids. When I think Back to the Future, I think about all the colors, the flashy Enchantment Under the Sea decorations and the lightning and the fire trails and the flashing flux capacitor and all the 2015 stuff. But also I think the excitement of time travel isn’t lost on kids. And the fact that he goes back to the 50s—of all decades, possibly the most Americana-classic period–it’s familiar and hometown-esque in a way kids can grasp, I think, no matter what year.

    Oh and in 1955, Strickland wasn’t the principal yet. Wasn’t he disciplinarian?

  2. [09:24]
    Thinking of big reactions makes me think of WFRR because what are cartoons but incredibly big reactions in creatures that aren’t necessarily human? I seem to remember one Minute a looong time ago where someone mentioned that you could just mute the movie and still (A) be able to understand what’s going on, and (B) still be able to enjoy it, because they’re like cartoons. When you mute it, the action’s pretty similar, and you can get an idea of what’s going on by watching the reactions.

    The more I listen to these Minutes, the more I keep getting my mind blown. Like, the close-ups are the most striking things about Zemeckis. Doc realizing that the Libyans have found him. Marty looking panicked in general. There’s a lot that’s going on in the actor’s faces that Zemeckis captures, and it’s like those actors where there might’ve been reams of dialogue that were in the script, but the actor can just say that paragraph with a look.

    Not only that, but that kind of visual storytelling relies on trusting the audience to understand what they’re looking at. Whereas Bob Gale is having Marty say things once or twice to get it into the audience’s heads that, oh, wow, he’s trapped, Zemeckis would be able to pare that out, and just have a close-up of Marty in his leather jacket and fedora, looking pitiful and trapped. 😀

    Trusting the audience to understand what they’re seeing feels like something that’s kind of gone by the wayside nowadays, and the audience is forcefed interpretations instead of thinking for themselves. “This is what I intended, because the characters say so.” Well, it’s not what you show onscreen, and that leaves wiggle room for interpretation.

    Talking about having to deal with limitations, and that forces you to think creatively — think of Classic Doctor Who. They practically had a cardboard box, some string, and whatever costumes were lying around, but some of those stories are amazing because the SFX were crappy, but the storytelling had to make up for it. You believed that the Doctor and his companions had landed on the moon or on some alien planet which was the same rock quarry from the last story, and it didn’t feel so silly. Doctor Who was the show that made me think that I could try to write for TV.

    Check out the use of vertical space in the screenshot you used to post the episode. There’s two different Martys one on top of the other (no, not that way), and it works.

    Another thing I just realized is that Zemeckis is good at playing with space because he has so many visual effects shots with the same actor playing two different characters in the same shot. Of course he’d play with vertical and horizontal space…

    I thought Strickland’s first name was Gerald? I wonder if that was a retcon in the Telltale Game. But haha, I was thinking more Nazi SS when I saw the SS on his door. And the fact that Strickland’s only a vice principal and not a principal makes the character even better because (A) he doesn’t have the full authority to do whatever he wants in the school, because he can always be overruled, and (B) it’s always the vice principals who’re the attack dogs, especially if the principal is either a non-entity or someone who’s trying to be the friend of all the students.

    “Discipline” on his door makes me think of a room that boys are sent to in English stories in order to get caned for bad behavior of something. @_@

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