While I enjoy the entire trilogy, I have seen Back To The Future roughly 5,481 more times than I've seen either BTTF II or BTTF III. I figure most people --- aside from my odd buddy, Jeff, who likes II the best of the whole series --- are in a similar boat. So, while I've seen the first movie so many times that I can tell you off the top of my head the names of the streets around the courthouse1 and the major businesses on each2, I can do so only in the context of the BTTF I timeline.3
I realized this fact last Friday, and I decided to attempt to rectify the discrepancy, starting with the second film. Going through it more closely, I noticed a number of things that bothered me, including one that was football related:
When Biff from 2015 is giving the Grays Sports Almanac to 1955 Biff, the older version proves that the almanac can't lose by tuning the car radio to a broadcast of a UCLA-Washington football game. Over the radio, we hear that there are 18 seconds left in the game, that it is fourth down, and that the Bruins trail by 1, 17-16. 2015 Biff predicts that the Bruins will win 19-17, which 1955 Biff scoffs at, quoting the radio announcer who said that it looked like it was "all over for UCLA." UCLA launches a 33-yard FG and wins by the predicted score. 1955 Biff is amazed that the old man got the score right.
Immediately, three things jumped out at me:
1. In 1955, the goal posts were still at the front of the endzone, and the winning kick is 35 yards long, meaning the ball was at the Washington 28 (or so). Why in the world would the radio announcer be so doom-and-gloom about UCLA's chances here, especially considering UCLA was #4 in the country at the time? I mean, the filmmakers used a real game that actually happened on November 12, 1955, and they even got the kicker's name correct (HB Jim Decker), but they recreated a radio broadcast that made it sound like the announcer knew nothing about football? Odd. (Yes, I realize it's for purposes of the plot. That doesn't make it any less ridiculous, however. (See also the slowly disappearing photo from the first move.)
2. Related to the last one, it was 17-16 on fourth down and UCLA was within FG range, yet 1955 Biff is amazed that 2015 predicted the correct score? Was Biff really that unfamiliar with football?
3. There were 18 seconds left when the ball was snapped, yet the announcer talks about the game being over as soon as the kick was good. There's no possible way a 35-yard FG took 18 seconds, so UCLA would still have had to kick off.
Other Random Stuff Noticed In My Rewatching Of BTTF II.
1. One of the Pepsi products available at Cafe '80s was Pepsi Max. I'm guessing this was supposed to be a joke about Max Headroom, the digital "spokesperson" for New Coke a year or two before the second movie was filmed. The Reagan/Khomeni "waiters" are riffs on the Max Headroom-style ad as well.
2. The newspaper that Marty and Doc look at in 2015 has headlines reading "Cubs Sweep Series In Five" and "Slamball Playoffs Begin." The former is either a goof-up or a suggestion that future World Series would be a best of 9 affair. The latter is funny in that Slamball actually came into existence in 2002.
3. After 1955 Biff puts the almanac's cover on the copy of "Oh La La" that he's reading, Strickland snatches it from him and remarks that it's odd for Biff to be reading sports statistics. Yet, when he flips through the magazine, there obviously aren't statistics on the pages, and you can actually see some of the girly pics.
4. There are any number of time-travel-related flaws in this movie, including an infinity loop4 created by 2015 Biff giving the almanac to 1955 Biff, but the most troubling to me was the fact that Doc and Marty left Jennifer in the alternate 1985, which Doc explained away by claiming that fixing the problem (almanac) in 1955 would "shift" Jennifer back to the correct 1985. Obviously, even through Doc's one-true-timeline theory of time-travel (i.e. alternate futures cease to exist and are replaced by whatever the current version of the timeline is), this is incorrect or, at the very least, all sorts of troublesome.
You see, when Marty and Doc arrive in 1985-A (the one where Biff is rich and things are terrible), they learn that Marty-A is away at boarding school in Europe and Doc-A is in the loony bin. Therefore, there has to be a Jennifer-A somewhere in this timeline, even if she has nothing to do with Marty-A. There is nothing inherently different about Jennifer from Jennifer-A or Marty-A (except, I suppose, for a penis in the latter case). If Doc is correct and Jennifer will "shift" to the new 1985, then everyone else in 1985-A would as well. So there would be two Jennifers and, once they returned, two Docs and two Martys.
What would actually happen, if we ignore the infinity loops and other anomalies for a second, is that Marty and Doc would leave 1985-A to return to 1955 (technically, it would be 1955-A because Marty is already there from BTTF I, but I digress). Upon fixing the almanac problem, 1985-A would cease to exist5, and history would proceed to a new 1985 in which George McFly was not murdered, Lorraine McFly didn't dress like Tammy Faye Bakker and marry Biff, etc. Assuming that the creation of this new timeline did not alter the future such that Jennifer's parents never meet, a new Jennifer would have been born in the late '60s and would have no memory of the trip to the future or of 1985-A.
Of course, for the third movie to exist, certain things have to happen in this new timeline. Doc still has to create the time machine. Marty still has to accidentally go back to 1955 in the time machine. Doc still has to take the time machine to the future, come back to get Marty to prevent a problem in 20156, and Marty still has to have the idea to buy the sports almanac. On top of this, Biff still has to see the time machine fly away in 1985 and overhear Marty in 2015. If any of this does not happen --- and much of it would not, if Doc and Marty had learned anything at all from their misadventures to this point --- then everything would unravel and you'd revert to the timeline that existed at the beginning of the first movie.
Contextualizing the Dumb.
If you don't follow Twitter during NFL games, you probably don't realize that there are a whole bunch of "experts" who like to show off what they know by Tweeting obscure stats/facts, which they pass off as meaningful insight. Some of these Tweets are genuinely interesting, while most fade into the background as inane e-noise. But some are a special brand of dumb that make you say, "wait . . . WHAT?!"
For example, Mark Maske (@markmaske) of the Washington Post wrote:
Joe Flacco has five career postseason wins, one shy of Tom Brady's record for the most ever for a QB in his first four NFL seasons.
While this might technically be true, it only takes about two seconds to recognize how silly the statement is. After all, Brady went 6-0 over that span; Flacco has won 5 of 9 (a .556 winning percentage, compared to Brady's 1.000), only once winning as many as two in one postseason. Brady went over 200 yards in 4 of those 6 wins and over 300 in two; Flacco has cracked 200 once in his wins and never hit 300 (though he did have one where he went 4/10 for 34 yards). Oh, and --- most importantly --- TWO OF BRADY'S SIX WINS WERE IN THE FREAKING SUPER BOWL.
Point being, unless you're going with the "Flacco Just Winz," VY-esque argument, pretending like his playoff wins are even remotely comparable to Brady's over the first four years of Tom's career is absurd.
Billy Cundiff's rank among NFL placekickers during the 2011 season on field goals between 30 and 39 yards. Cundiff went 100% on kicks of less than 30 yards, 83% on 30-39, 78% on kicks between 40 and 49, and only 1 of 6 on kicks 50 or longer.
As he was a Michigan QB, I've never hated Tom Brady. In fact, I quite like the guy as an NFL player. So, with no Texans game to discuss, if the stats in here seem a little Brady-centric, it's because of my bias.
Super Bowl passing yards needed by Tom Brady to pass Kurt Warner (1,156) for first all-time.
Super Bowl passing TDs needed by Tom Brady to pass Joe Montana (11) for first all-time.
Number of Super Bowl wins Tom Brady needs to tie Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw (4) for most all-time.
Number of postseason wins Tom Brady needs to break his tie with Joe Montana (16) for most all time.
Elisha Manning's career playoff winning percentage. Peyton Manning's percentage? .474.
Playoff winning percentage for both Tom Brady (16-6) and Eli Manning (8-3) if the Giants win the Super Bowl. In case you were wondering, the highest postseason winning percentage for QBs with at least 10 starts is .900 by Bart Starr, which is insanely impressive.
Fun With Small Sample Sizes.
Currently, T.J. Yates (.500) has a higher playoff winning percentage than, inter alia, Peyton Manning (.474), Matt Hasselbeck (.455), Philip Rivers (.429), Kerry Collins (.429), Michael Vick (.400), Tony Romo (.250), Matt Ryan (.000), Vince Young (.000), Matthew Stafford (.000), Matt Cassel (.000), and Andy Dalton (.000).
Unnecessary Archer Quote.
How about you, Ironsides? You riding dirty?
2DH 2012 Prop Bet #1.
Over/Under on starts as Denver's QB for Tim Tebow during the 2012 season: 7.5.
Fun With Juxtaposition.
Tim Tebow: 126-271 (46.5%), 1729 yds, 12 TD, 6 INT, 13 FUM, 72.9 rating.
Blaine Gabbert: 210-413 (50.8%), 2214 yds, 12 TD, 11 INT, 13 FUM, 65.4 rating.
Turtles All The Way Down.
I realize he's not everyone's cup o' tea, but I love me some Bertrand Russell. Even if you're not a fan, however, I think we can all agree that his "Ten Commandments that, as a teacher, I should wish to promulgate" are a pretty solid and thoughtful list:
1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.
2. Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.
3. Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.
4. When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavour to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.
5. Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
6. Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.
7. Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
8. Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent that in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.
9. Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.
10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool's paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.
Everyone knows the whole story about how Tom Brady was the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL draft. What rarely gets mentioned is the roll-call of QBs taken before him: Chad Pennington of Marshall (Jets), Giovanni Carmazzi of Hofstra (49ers), Chris Redman of Louisville (Ravens), Tee Martin of Tennessee (Steelers), Marc Bulger of West Virginia (Saints), and Spergon Wynn of S.W. Texas St. (Browns).
What gets mentioned even less is the list of QBs taken after Brady: Todd Husak of Stanford (Redskins), JaJuan Seider of Florida A&M (Chargers), Tim Rattay of Louisiana Tech (49ers), Jarious Jackson of Notre Dame (Broncos), and Joe Hamilton of Georgia Tech (Tampa Bay).
The odd thing is, Brady had a good college career at a big program, and he beat out the more highly touted Drew Henson two straight seasons. In his two years as a starter, Brady's line was 428-691, 5222 yards, 35 TD, 18 INT, and two bowl wins (1998 Citrus over Arkansas and 1999 Orange over Alabama). Yet he was lumped in with the Todd Husaks of the world and taken long after Giovanni Carmazzi, simply because Brady was seen as "too skinny" at the Combine. So, like, let that be a caveat about the combine. Or something.
2DH 2012 Prop Bet #2.
Over/Under on the difference between Arian Foster's 2012 rushing total and Chris Johnson's: 249.5 yards.
Texans' average time of possession in 2011, best in the NFL.
What it would cost to franchise tag Mario Williams in 2012. It's not going to happen, mind you, but I'm sick of seeing numbers like $18M and $22M thrown around in the discussion.
What it would cost to franchise Arian Foster in 2012. Also highly unlikely to happen, but these are things you need to know.
What it would cost to franchise Chris Myers in 2012. This seemingly high number is due to a weird rule that calculates a single tag amount for offensive linemen as a collective group rather than for tackles, guards, and centers separately.
Please stop saying that "___ needs a contract full of bonuses," as if bonuses do not count as part of the salary cap. They do, provided that they are classified as "likely to be earned" (LTBE). Pretty much any bonus that is in line with past performance will be classified as LTBE, and will have to be figured into salary-cap math.
Random '90s Rap Video.
Marijuana Pepsi Sawyer Inexplicable Decision Of The Week.
[Author's note: It's a sad day in Two-Day Hangover Land. It seems that Marijuana Pepsi Sawyer has gotten married and changed the name on her public profile to the much more professional sounding, "Marijuana Sawyer-Clardy." Dang. Thankfully, we have a long memory around here, at least when it comes to stuff like this, so we'll just forge ahead and pretend like nothing has changed.]
Much like the decision to name your daughter "Marijuana Pepsi," John Harbaugh's decision NOT to call a timeout as he watched Billy Cundiff scamper onto the field was pretty confusing. I mean, you have timeouts. Making this field goal is of the highest possible importance. Icing is not a real phenomenon and, even if it were, it's still better to risk that that to have Cundiff hurry the kick.
1 Second, Main, Hill, and an unnamed street to the east.
2 Western Auto (1955 only), Lou's Cafe/Lou's Aerobic Center, Essex Theater, and Town Theater, respectively.
3 Though I can say with all certainty that the '80s Cafe (2015) stands where Lou's Cafe stood in 1955, which is somewhat odd, given that it was not a cafe in the '80s, and someone (Lou's great-grandson?) decided to restore a '50s-era cafe and retrofit it with 1980s-era kitsch (and decided to keep some exercise bikes in the cafe). Oh, also, now that I think about it, the Texaco station on Main St. was present in the BTTF II future scenes as well. I'm rambling. I'll stop.
4 An infinity loop is a temporal anomaly created any time a trip to the past changes the future such that the original need to return to the past is removed. For example, as I wrote about Terminator 2 last season:
as soon as they prevented the creation of Skynet, the entire future would have changed: there would have been no rise of the machines without Skynetthere would have been no rebellion, which means there would have been no need for John Connor to be this great rebel leader, which means that John Connor in the distant future would have had no need to send Kyle back to the past to father him/protect Sarah, which means that John would never have existed, which means that Skynet would have been created (in the same manner that gave rise to the entire first movie), which means….my brain hurts.
5 Ok, technically 1985-A ceased to exist the second Doc and Marty returned to 1955, as the exact sequence that had originally led to 1985-A had been altered at that point. In the future 1985, everyone's past would by definition include a 1955 that Marty and Doc returned to, regardless of whether they succeeded in preventing the passing of the almanac.
6 This is perhaps the biggest flaw in the entire second movie. Taking Marty to 2015 to prevent Marty Jr. from going to jail is worthless. Even if you can assume that Marty will be successful in his efforts and return neatly to the 1985 that he left, and you assume that the future will unfold in exactly the same way up to that point in October 2015, Marty will still have to prevent Marty Jr. from going to jail again. The trip forward is worthless if you don't expect it to change the thirty years between 1985 and 2015, and it's wholly unnecessary if it does change that span.