Filial Party

For F*** Magazine


Director : Boris Boo
Cast : Christopher Lee, Mark Lee, Ann Kok, Kym Ng, Irene Ang, Guo Liang, Liu Ling Ling, Richard Low, Jimmy T, Hayley Woo
Genre : Comedy, Drama
Opens: : 8 May 2014

            There’ve been some great films about game shows, including Quiz Show, Starter for 10, Slumdog Millionaire and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. With large amounts of money at stake and the whole country watching, the inner workings of a TV game show are potentially intriguing and scandalous. Filial Party revolves around a TV game show of the same name, produced and hosted by Millionaire Liu (Mark Lee). Vying for $1 million are three semi-finalists: high-flying lawyer Woo Yishuang (Kok), student Yoona Zhuang (Woo) and security guard Peh Ah Beng (Christopher Lee). To clinch the cool one mil, they’ll have to prove their love for their parents before the cameras. With his contract at the TV station on the line, Millionaire Liu will stop at nothing to generate controversy in the name of breaking ratings records.

            The premise of Filial Party isn’t a terrible one – after all, Singaporean society does place an emphasis on caring for one’s parents and due to the high cost of living here, there would be a degree of competition if a million dollars were offered as prize money on a TV show. Unfortunately, director Boris Boo opts instead for a nauseating blend of slapstick high comedy and heavy-handed melodrama. Every last character is nothing more than a caricature, there’s histrionics, table-flipping, heart attacks and even suicide and yet, we’re supposed to laugh at all this. As is typical of many Singaporean films, the level of product placement is through the roof. The excuse could be made that actual TV game shows do a good deal of plugging for their sponsors, but the giant unfurling Prudential insurance company banners is past pushing it.

            One of the many tasks Filial Party fails to accomplish is that of selling the titular show as a believable one. The rules and structure seem arbitrary, many of the stunts arranged for the contestants to prove their devotion to their parents liable to result in lawsuits. Mark Lee’s Millionaire Liu (is that what it says on his birth certificate?) is depicted as unscrupulous and shady, going back on his word, threatening contestants behind the scenes and altering the terms of the contest and yet, we’re apparently supposed to also find him likeable and charming. Viewers of the TV show are actively encouraged to ambush contestants to film them in secret, in the hopes of catching them in the midst of an un-filial moment. While this could have been an opportunity for some astute satire of the detestable trend of “citizen journalism” (i.e. public shaming) in Singapore which is far from being stomped out, it just ends up being a contrived plot device.

            Christopher Lee is convincing as an uncouth regular Joe (make that Beng) who is pushed into joining the show by his wife (Kym Ng) in the hopes of paying off their debts, but the script resorts to tired sitcom-esque hijinks such as having Ah Beng run through a motel buck naked. Hilarious! Ann Kok is stiff and snooty, because how else would a lawyer be portrayed in a movie like this? Her character also gets a generic tragic backstory told in sepia-tinted flashbacks. Hayley Woo pouts, sulks and whines her way through the film. We get it, Yoona is supposed to be something of a mollycoddled brat. Piling on the clichés does not equal characterisation. As Ah Beng’s lecherous and unfaithful dad, Richard Low is sufficiently unlikeable, although we suspect the reaction the filmmakers wanted was “oh isn’t that cute, the old man is hiring a hooker! Aww.”

            Filial Party ends with Mark Lee delivering what basically is a public service announcement straight to camera, in some odd attempt to guilt-trip moviegoers into showering their parents with affection “before it’s too late”, no doubt by buying mum and dad all the stuff that’s shamelessly plugged in the movie. Filial Party is yet another Singaporean film that is wholly unsubtle, relying on stereotypes and unfunny gags (oh, the rotund production assistant can’t stop stuffing her face! Listen to the ethnic music that plays when David Bala aka Muthu shows up for a cameo!) one minute and going for the tear ducts with a scalpel the next. The game show at the heart of the story is incompetently constructed and while there are several plot twists, Filial Party ultimately concludes predictably, while whacking the audience over the head with a very large stick.
Summary: This Mothers’ Day, give Mum a treat and take her to see anything but Filial Party.
RATING: 1.5 out of 5 Stars

Jedd Jong 

Bad Neighbours

For F*** Magazine

Genre: Comedy
Run Time: 96 minutes 
Starring: Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron, Dave Franco, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Craig Roberts, Ike Barinholtz, Lisa Kudrow
Directed by: Nicholas Stoller
            You can’t choose your family, and it turns out you can’t choose your neighbours either – except perhaps if you can buy out the whole row of houses. In this comedy, new parents Mac (Rogen) and Kelly (Byrne) don’t have that luxury. With an infant on their hands, they’re horrified when the Delta Psi Beta fraternity moves into the house next door, since it means endless loud parties and no peace for them or their baby girl. Mac and Kelly initially try to keep things civil between them and the fraternity president Teddy (Efron), but things soon get out of hand as the couple and the frat boys repeatedly clash, deciding the street isn’t big enough for both their groups.
            The film is titled Neighbors but is being released as Bad Neighbours in the UK, Australia and other territories presumably to avoid confusion with the long-running soap opera Neighbours. Director Nicholas Stoller is an oft-collaborator of Judd Apatow, having directed R-rated comedies Forgetting Sarah Marshall, its spin-off Get Him to the Greek and The Five Year Engagement. As can be expected, there is no shortage of wanton ribaldry on display in Bad Neighbours, every scene featuring large quantities of profanity, drugs, sex and nudity in any number of combinations. If lowbrow, American Pie-esque humour isn’t your cup of tea (or bong of weed, rather), it’s best to give this a wide berth. But if you’ve got no problem with lactation gags and 3D-printed dildos, this is the flick for you.
            The problem with many films of this genre is that the characters can be pretty detestable and it’s hard to enjoy their antics when you just can’t relate to them or root for them. By any standards, the characters in Bad Neighbours are not good people: Mac and Kelly are irresponsible, hard-partying parents and Teddy and his frat brothers are inconsiderate, lunk-headed jerks. Teddy even has his frat symbol tattooed on his bicep. However, they end up pretty likeable and somehow, it’s hard to stay mad at these guys and it becomes surprisingly easy to go along with the over the top gags and the sophomoric silliness thanks to the performances the cast turn in.
            Seth Rogen essentially plays himself once again – a schlubby, pot-smoking “hurr hurr” type – but he’s entertaining and funny while he’s at it and he and Zac Efron throw themselves into their crazy feud. This is far more Zac Efron’s wheelhouse than dramas like At Any Price and Charlie St. Cloud. He gets to goof off and show off that MTV Movie Award-winning physique, charming but never repulsively smug. Once again Rose Byrne more than proves her versatility, holding her own opposite (and often stealing the show from) Efron and Rogen, gamely partaking in the juvenile hijinks without looking like she’d rather not be there. Dave Franco makes for an excellent foil to Efron as Teddy’s wingman Pete, their friendship/rivalry given surprising depth.
            Bad Neighbours unfolds in an episodic, somewhat predictable fashion and is far from a sophisticated affair but it manages to be amusing and engaging and some moviegoers will probably end up enjoying this one in spite of themselves. There’s a scene early in the movie in which Mac and Teddy discuss their favourite cinematic versions of Batman, Mac favouring Michael Keaton with Teddy preferring Christian Bale. It’s a moderately clever way of demonstrating a generational gap and the film tackles the worries of moving on from college to a job and a family without becoming sentimental goop. And hey, when “warring neighbours” comedies like Deck the Hallsexist, you could certainly do worse than hanging out with Rogen, Efron, Byrne and co.
Summary: These bad neighbours make for a pretty good time!
RATING: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Jedd Jong


Filial Party Press Conference

Filial Party Press Conference
By Jedd Jong
F*** was at Orchard Hotel on Tuesday, attending the press conference and round table interviews for Filial Party. The Singaporean film, starring an ensemble of faces regular Channel 8 viewers will doubtlessly find familiar, is being released in conjunction with Mother’s Day. In the film, Mark Lee plays Millionaire Liu, a producer and TV host who devises a television game show that will reward the most filial contestant with a $1 million cash prize. Christopher Lee, Ann Kok and Hayley Woo play the three finalists vying for the coveted prize money.

“I was able to fulfil a long-time dream of mine on this film: hitting Mark Lee,” Christopher Lee, in shades, tousled hair and silver studded shoes, said to much laughter. “Ever since I’ve entered the industry, I’ve always wanted to hit Mark Lee.” Despite this potentially disturbing glimpse into Christopher Lee’s psyche, it was amply clear that the cast got on like a house on fire.

Christopher’s significant other, currently pregnant with her first child, was on everyone’s minds, so much so that Mark Lee jokingly instated a “$300 fine” for the next person to mention “Fann Wong”. Christopher Lee said he eventually hopes to become a good friend to his child, still withholding the baby’s gender. “I think she looks cute when she’s pregnant,” he said rather sweetly about Fann.

Veteran actor Richard Low plays Christopher Lee’s onscreen dad, a lecherous, unfaithful cad. Christopher Lee insisted that Low is nothing like his character in real life. Low, who celebrates his 30th wedding anniversary this year, said he has never had any big arguments with his wife. Lee vouched that while having dinner with the couple, both Low and his wife spoke to each other very gently. Low sheepishly admitted that he was a little ashamed to face his wife after filming a scene in which his character hired a prostitute.

“I heard the girl gave up her citizenship,” Mark Lee teased. He had taken it on himself to play team leader during the press conference. “I had a good time making this film because they had to do the heavy lifting,” Mark Lee said referring to the rest of the cast. “They have parents, children, they have to strip, be in traffic accidents, I had a comparatively easy time of it.” On the topic of the brief tussle towards the film’s climax that Mark and Christopher’s characters share, Mark said “I don’t think there’s any contest between Christopher and I. He’s just that much stronger. If we were to get into a fight for real, Christopher would definitely win.”

“If I were betting on the fight between Christopher Lee and Mark Lee, I’d definitely put my money on Christopher,” Kym Ng affirmed. Ng sported hot pink hair, having dyed it blonde for the film. Ng, who is Christopher Lee’s onscreen wife in Filial Party, said “I was anticipating playing Christopher’s wife but I was afraid that we wouldn’t be sufficiently familiar with each other, having not worked together before. But we got along very well, even the scenes in which we had to share a bed, there wasn’t any awkwardness about it.”

Getai performer Liu Ling Ling plays wife to Richard Low’s character, mother to Christopher Lee’s and mother-in-law to Kym Ng’s. “His character in this film is such a dirty old man, but Richard was a gentleman in real life,” she said. Last year, at age 50, Liu gave birth to her first child. “My child in real life is eight months old, but in this movie, Christopher plays my son!” she said with a laugh.

Ann Kok is no stranger to the small screen, but Filial Party marks her feature film debut. “It was a very happy experience making my first movie,” she said. In a crucial scene, Millionaire Liu stages a traffic accident, forcing Kok’s character to make a difficult choice: saving her elderly mother or her young son. When asked who she would save if it came down to her significant other or her mother, Kok replied “If I answer this question, I won’t be able to find a husband,” leading Mark Lee to point out that she had indeed answered the question anyway. For what it’s worth, she did confirm that she is still single.

Japanese-American actor Jimmy Taenaka plays the supporting role of Ann Kok’s onscreen husband in Filial Party. Not proficient in the Chinese language, Taenaka attempted a sentence using the only Mandarin phrase he knew, and ended up saying “Ann Kok tastes great,” which naturally got him quite the ribbing from Mark Lee. On the difference between working in Singapore and in Hollywood, Taenaka said “I think there are bigger egos in Hollywood and everybody here is very nice, the cast and crew.” Director Boris Boo shared that Taenaka had diligently come up with a detailed backstory and character history to prepare for his relatively minor role, a method of preparation that isn’t the standard practice in Singapore.

Irene Ang plays the mother of Hayley Woo’s character and the wife of Guo Liang’s. The multi-hyphenate actress joked that she had been “promoted” to playing mothers in films such as Ah Boys to Men and TV shows like Spouse for House. In Filial Party, Ang’s character suffers a heart attack and is loaded into an ambulance. This was the first such scene she had filmed and some crew members, taking it to be a bad omen, offered her a red packet to ward off the supposed bad luck. She brought her mother to see her in the Ah Boys to Men musical and it was the first time her mother had seen a stage show. “I’ve found that humour always works when talking to parents. I try to keep it light because when we discuss serious issues, we tend to get into arguments,” Ang said. Ang is not a mother in real life, but said she views the 43 artistes managed by her company FLY Entertainment as her own “children”.

To show their devotion to their daughter, both Irene Ang and Guo Liang’s characters dressed in garish K-pop attire. “I had the shock of my life when I was told that I had to wear these outfits,” Guo said. “I could identify with the idea of being the father of a teenager because my son is 15, but all the rest, especially these K-pop outfits, that was alien to me.” In the film, it appears that Guo’s character might be having an affair with a younger woman. “I had a scene where I was sneaking off into a hotel and it seemed as if I was stripping and getting into bed. The script was ambiguous on the specifics of this.” He was also bewildered by the lack of direction given to him, Boo evading any questions he had about the scene prior to shooting it.

Filial Party marks the second movie in Hayley Woo’s résumé. “It’s a great to honour to work with actors that I’ve seen in TV shows and never thought that I’d have the opportunity to work with,” she said. In the film, her character is something of a brat who is completely doted on by her parents. “I feel that my generation is more self-centred and that many young Singaporeans treat their parents as if they were their maids,” she commented. Ang added that teenagers seem more entitled these days. “Mark Lee always mangles my name,” she lamented. Lee went on to call her “Hali-copter” and “Hali-leg”.

Director Boris Boo said the project’s inception happened during a brainstorming session when producer Lim Teck suggested he do a film along the lines of Money No Enough, about the pursuit of wealth in Singapore society. “I can’t outdo my master,” Boo conceded, referring to mentor Jack Neo. “I didn’t want to do a typical Singaporean movie where the focus is on just one family, so I suggested ‘why don’t we do a (film about a) game show?’” He described his original idea as a more extreme Hunger Games-esque take, but scaled it down due to budgetary concerns. Boo admitted that he made full use of the TV show-centric premise to pile on the product placement, saying his instructions were “go and find all the sponsors you can, whatever you find, let’s put it in.” He claimed that it would be unnatural for a TV show to have no product placement but admitted that Filial Partyprobably still is too “blatant” in this regard.

“My primary aim for making this movie is that audiences will make a call to their parents or have a meal with them after watching the movie,” Boo said, echoing what many of his cast members had said over the course of the press conference about filial piety being a day-to-day thing expressed mostly through small gestures.

Filial Party opens 8 May 2014.

Time is of the Essence: Top 10 Time Travel Movies

As published in Issue #52 of F*** Magazine

Top 10 Time Travel Movies
By Jedd Jong
X-Men: Days of Future Past sees our favourite mutants flung into an epic time travel odyssey, uniting the cast of the X-Men film trilogy with their younger counterparts from X-Men: First Class. Edge of Tomorrow, opening in June, has Tom Cruise continually relive a fatal battle with alien invaders. These are but the latest movies with a theme that’s always been fascinating: time travel. Whether it’s a voyage to an unfamiliar future, going back in time to repair a mistake or holding a tête-à-tête with one’s favourite historical figures, time travel stories offer up wondrous possibilities and mind-boggling consequences. F*** takes a look at ten such flicks, so hop into the DeLorean and let’s go!
This micro-budget ($7000!) indie film produced by, written by, directed by and starring Shane Carruth has become a cult curiosity and is often touted as “the most realistic time travel movie ever made”. It is also notorious for its elaborate plot, the unconventional structure in which the story unfolds causing a good deal of bewilderment. It’s the kind of movie where several infographics might be required to make sense of it all, but the authenticity of the thoroughly-researched technical dialogue and the sheer amount of thought and consideration put into devising the film is downright impressive. Primer has also been praised for the moral conundrum that is at its centre and bagged the Grand Jury Prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. “It does seem like there’s the aesthetic of science fiction, with the aliens and chrome and neon and explosions in space, and then there’s science fiction that’s used as a literary device. That’s the kind I’m interested in,” Carruth said in an interview with the A.V. Club.
In the recent viral video commercial for Volvo Trucks, the Muscles from Brussels performed “the most epic of splits”. In Timecop, Jean-Claude Van Damme performed his signature splits and spin-kicks in a memorable kitchen fight scene and later on, a villain tells him “the only way to make anything of all that fancy kicking is on Broadway.” As agent Max Walker of the Time Enforcement Commission, set up by the U.S. government to prevent the abuse of time travel technology, Van Damme delivered what is considered to be one of his most enjoyable performances. Timecop is pretty much the epitome of 90s sci-fi action flicks, filled with its share of cheesy moments, plot holes and featuring a protagonist sporting a glorious mullet. It was spun-off into a TV series that lasted nine episodes, as well as a straight-to-DVD sequel sans Van Damme named Timecop 2: The Berlin Decision (of course it’s about killing Hitler). A remake is in the works, and we hope whoever replaces Van Damme gets to do a split or two of his own.
We’ve gotten that song by Europe back into your head, haven’t we? This (unrelated) film is beloved by military hardware fans for its main star: The USS Nimitz supercarrier, which the filmmakers were granted access to. Kirk Douglas played the vessel’s captain with Martin Sheen as a civilian observer, who are aboard the ship with its full crew when the Nimitz enters a time vortex, crossing from 1980 to 1941. They find themselves in Pearl Harbour on the eve of the fateful attack, debating whether or not they should interfere with history or let events take their course. The film’s signature sequence is probably a dogfight in which F-14 Tomcats take on Mitsubishi Zeroes. The premise for The Final Countdown may sound goofy and jingoistic, but there are some interesting science fiction and military history ideas at play. While it’s unlikely to happen, we’d be game for a remake starring Charlie Sheen and Michael Douglas.
It’s every history buff’s fantasy: in order to pass their history presentation, two slackers hurtle through time, whisking historical figures from Socrates to Abraham Lincoln from their native time periods to San Dimas, California of 1988. Who are those two guys? Why, they’re none other than Bill S. Preston, Esq. and Ted “Theodore” Logan; their band Wyld Stallyns forming the basis of a future utopian society. This cult classic comedy offered up such images as Napoleon on a water slide, Joan of Arc instructing an aerobics class, Beethoven rocking out on a multiple synthesiser set-up and Sigmund Freud snacking on a corn dog (get it?) Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves starred in the title roles – this is where the “Conspiracy Keanu” image macro comes from. The public perception of Keanu Reeves today is that of a stoic, sullen actor, so there’s a novelty in seeing him as dim-witted metal-head Ted. The chemistry that Reeves and Winter shared, in addition to the joy of seeing Billy the Kid and Socrates as best buds with legendary comedian George Carlin as mentor Rufus ensured this would become a comedy favourite. It was followed with Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey in 1994 and talk of a third film has swirled for years. While we wait to see where that heads, be excellent to each other and party on, dudes!
Time travel has figured heavily in the Star Trek canon over the years, but the most memorable use of this trope was probably in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Leonard Nimoy directed the third film The Search for Spock and followed it up with this comedic tale that sees the Enterprise crew journey from 2286 to San Francisco in 1986. Their mission was to acquire, of all things, a pair of humpback whales, after it was discovered that a mysterious starship-crippling signal being emitted by a probe matched whale songs. A much lighter affair than the preceding three films, The Voyage Home offered such gems as McCoy miraculously curing an old lady’s kidney disease with futuristic medicine, Chekhov searching for “nuclear wessels” as the Cold War raged on and Spock performing the Vulcan nerve pinch on a bratty punk on the bus. The only use of a phaser in this film was to shoot open a lock. The Voyage Home has the distinction of being the first Star Trek film screened in the Soviet Union, at a showing organised by the World Wildlife Fund to commemorate a ban on whaling.
Ever done something so stupid it made you go “boy, I should kick my own ass”? A Looper named Joe gets to do just that. In Rian Johnsons’ sci-fi thriller, “Loopers” are specialised assassins who execute those sent back in time by the criminal syndicates of the future for a clean, untraceable disposal. Eventually, all Loopers must “close the loop” by killing the older version of themselves sent back in time – but old Joe won’t go out without a fight. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt in prosthetic makeup as the younger Joe and Bruce Willis as the older version, Looper gained a good deal of critical acclaim even if the makeup wasn’t wholly convincing. If casting Bruce Willis as an older Joseph Gordon-Levitt wasn’t weird enough, Looperthrows in Emily Blunt as a shotgun-toting, redneck single mom – and she was great at it. Commenting on the technical aspects of time travel in movies, Johnson commented that he found it liberating to view time travel as a “fantasy element” in a similar light as “unicorns or dragons.” In an interview with Rope of Silicon, he conceded that “there’s no possible way for a two hour movie to create a logical matrix that makes time travel impenetrably grounded in real world logic.”
This one also starred Bruce Willis as a time-traveller, this time playing a convict from 2035 forced to travel back in time to find out more about “The Army of the Twelve Monkeys”, a mysterious terrorist organisation that allegedly released a virus resulting in the near-annihilation of the human race. Director Terry Gilliam, known for his work with the Monty Python troupe and the outlandish, imaginative visuals in his films, had previously touched on time travel in his comedy Time Bandits, but 12 Monkeyswas a totally different animal, containing musings on the subjectivity of memory and the role of technology in society. Co-starring Madeleine Stowe as a psychiatrist and Brad Pitt as a fanatical mental patient, the film earned Pitt a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination. “Brad was very keen to do the part, because it was so unlike anything he’d ever tried to do before: a fast-talking, wild, crazed person,” Gilliam said. “I was intrigued by the idea and I always try to cast against type,” he continued, noting that Pitt was eager to break away from the perception of him as “the sexiest man alive”.
Starring Bill Murray and directed by the late Harold Ramis, this comedy has been called “the most philosophical movie of all time”. Sent to cover the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, arrogant, mean TV weatherman Phil Connors (Murray) finds himself living February 2ndover and over again, unable to break through to a “tomorrow”. A complex, profound morality tale wrapped in a very funny outer covering, Groundhog Day has become a significant movie for many. Ramis’ mother-in-law, who lived for 35 years in a Zen Buddhist meditation centre, told him that the abbots and senior monks there loved the movie and thought “it expresses a fundamental Buddhist concept”. Upon realising that he can live the same day repeatedly with no consequences, Phil starts out indulging his desires by robbing an armoured car, seducing women and driving recklessly. Over time however, he begins to improve himself, taking piano lessons, practising ice carving and just becoming less of a jerk, leading his producer Rita (Andie MacDowell) to warm up to him. While Phil doesn’t traverse time and space like some of the other protagonists on this list, his journey is no less incredible. In 2006, Groundhog Day was deservedly selected for preservation in the Library of Congress by the National Film Registry.
A large franchise has sprouted up around the central figure of the Austrian-accented cyborg, so sometimes it’s easy to forget just what an achievement the original Terminator film was. The Terminator had its origins in a fever dream James Cameron had of a metallic skeleton emerging from a fireball armed with kitchen knives and the idea grew from there. Lots of well-documented stories have sprung up around the making of the film, including that O.J. Simpson was considered for the title role but Cameron did not think he would make a convincing cold-blooded killer. The Terminator features a fun time paradox: a resistance fighter is sent back in time to save one Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) from a robotic killing machine also sent back in time, as her child will grow into a resistance leader and saviour of mankind. Of course, said resistance fighter Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) ends up fathering the child, John Connor. While the excellent sequel Terminator 2: Judgement Day had a much larger budget and more spectacular action set pieces, The Terminator was a smart, lean and effective sci-fi horror-thriller that put on full display the potential within its director. Given what a classic this one is, it’s with trepidation that we await the reboot Terminator: Genesis. Arnold Schwarzenegger has explained that he’ll be back in that one because the T-800 is “living tissue over a metal endoskeleton”, and living tissue can age. We’ll buy that.

You knew this was going to top the list, and even if it means we’re predictable, Back to the Future deserves the #1 spot. The DeLorean DMC-12 ties with the TARDIS for “most iconic time machine ever” and the paradox-fuelled plot in which a teenager must ensure his parents meet and get together during their high school prom so he can eventually be born is entertaining and nostalgic. Michael J. Fox played Marty McFly, and though he was the first choice for the part, he was tied up with shooting the sitcom Family Ties and Eric Stoltz was cast instead. Stoltz’s performance was eventually deemed too dramatic and serious, by which time Fox was available. As the loveable mad scientist Doc Brown, Christopher Lloyd delivered a hilarious wild-eyed, crazy-haired performance and the unlikely duo of Doc and Marty carried the film as much its sci-fi premise and awkward family hijinks did. Back to the Future spawned two more films, the second famous for its scenes set in the far-flung future of 2015 (science, you’ve got one year to give us self-lacing Nikes. One year!) and the third a rip-roaring Western. Co-writer Bob Gale was inspired by flipping through his dad’s high school yearbook and wondering what it would be like if he was schoolmates with his father. When asked what he thought made the film work so well, director Robert Zemeckis said “every line of dialogue, every beat, every cut, every shot is doing what movies are supposed to do, which is propelling the plot or establishing character. There’s not a single extraneous frame.”