Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
'Justified' Rides Into the Sunset As One of TV's Best Shows, If Not One of Its Most Watched 'Justified' Rides Into the Sunset As One of TV's Best Shows, If Not One of Its Most Watched A Writer From The Onion Totally Destroys Patton Oswalt in This Epic Twitter Rant A Writer From The Onion Totally Destroys Patton Oswalt in This Epic Twitter Rant The Death-by-Skype Horror Movie 'Unfriended' Is an Unlikely Critical Hit The Death-by-Skype Horror Movie 'Unfriended' Is an Unlikely Critical Hit 'Justified's Finale Did Just Enough to Be Perfect 'Justified's Finale Did Just Enough to Be Perfect David Chase Has Explained the Ending of 'The Sopranos' Again. Maybe He Should Stop Explaining David Chase Has Explained the Ending of 'The Sopranos' Again. Maybe He Should Stop Explaining Daily Reads: 10 Reasons Why 'Justified' Rocked, The Case for Kristen Stewart, and more Daily Reads: 10 Reasons Why 'Justified' Rocked, The Case for Kristen Stewart, and more Daily Reads: Why CSI: Cyber Is a Bad Show Worth Watching, the New 'Twin Peaks' Mystery, and More Daily Reads: Why CSI: Cyber Is a Bad Show Worth Watching, the New 'Twin Peaks' Mystery, and More The 'Game of Thrones' Leak: Don't Blame Critics (At Least Not Yet) The 'Game of Thrones' Leak: Don't Blame Critics (At Least Not Yet) The A.V. Club Picks the 100 Best Movies of the Decade; 'The Master' Tops the List The A.V. Club Picks the 100 Best Movies of the Decade; 'The Master' Tops the List Daily Reads: Just Show Us the Damn Trailer, 'The Avengers' vs. 'Man of Steel,' and More Daily Reads: Just Show Us the Damn Trailer, 'The Avengers' vs. 'Man of Steel,' and More Daily Reads: 5 Key 'Game of Thrones' Premiere Scenes, Why 'Wonder Woman' Losing Its Director Was Good News, and More Daily Reads: 5 Key 'Game of Thrones' Premiere Scenes, Why 'Wonder Woman' Losing Its Director Was Good News, and More Why Andrew Jarecki's 'The Jinx' Could Be Very, Very Bad for Documentaries Why Andrew Jarecki's 'The Jinx' Could Be Very, Very Bad for Documentaries 'Simpsons' Showrunner Al Jean Says No Further Seasons Will Be Released on DVD 'Simpsons' Showrunner Al Jean Says No Further Seasons Will Be Released on DVD The Children's Book from 'The Babadook' Will Terrify You in the Real World The Children's Book from 'The Babadook' Will Terrify You in the Real World What Paul Walker's Digital "Fast & Furious" Double Reveals About the Troubling Future of Film Acting What Paul Walker's Digital "Fast & Furious" Double Reveals About the Troubling Future of Film Acting Criticwire Survey: Best Horror Movies Since 2000 Criticwire Survey: Best Horror Movies Since 2000 Daily Reads: Why No One Remembers "Avatar," the Best Blu-rays and DVDs of 2014, and more Daily Reads: Why No One Remembers "Avatar," the Best Blu-rays and DVDs of 2014, and more 'Orphan Black,' Season 3: Clone Club Reconvenes, With Boys Allowed 'Orphan Black,' Season 3: Clone Club Reconvenes, With Boys Allowed The Scrambled Sexuality of 'Frozen's "Let It Go" The Scrambled Sexuality of 'Frozen's "Let It Go" 'Disney Deaths' and 'Big Hero 6': How Children's Stories Process Loss 'Disney Deaths' and 'Big Hero 6': How Children's Stories Process Loss

From the Wire: 'Back to the Future' Newspapers

Criticwire By Matt Singer | Criticwire January 4, 2013 at 3:41PM

Where a local crackpot inventor getting committed to a mental hospital rates above President Nixon running for a fifth term as big news.
0
"Back to the Future Part II."
"Back to the Future Part II."

My favorite piece of film writing today is a hilarious and very well-illustrated article on The Daily Intelligencer about something we've all seen dozens of times and never noticed: the sheer lunacy of the newspaper headlines in the "Back to the Future" trilogy.

You all know how this works. Marty McFly measures his efforts to repair the timestream by looking at newspapers, which morph before his eyes to reflect the latest developments. When something gets fixed, the paper changes; so a headline that reads "Emmett Brown Committed" (after Old Biff ruins Hill Valley by turning it into his own personal gambling paradise) magically becomes "Emmet Brown Commended" (after Marty and Doc travel back in time and stop Biff's plan). 

It's a clever part of the time travel conceit, and within the logic of the films, it works beautifully. But as observed by the Intelligencer's Jonathan Chait, out of context, these newspapers -- all published at various points between 1885 and 2015 by the fictional Hill Valley Telegraph -- are completely absurd. Take, for example, the aforementioned "Emmet Brown Committed" issue, seen above. Is that story news? Yeah, maybe. But is it bigger news than the story that places below it on the front page? As Chait puts it, "That merits news above Richard Nixon brazenly violating the 22nd Amendment to seek a fifth presidential term?"

Probably not. But then again, this is a dystopia. Maybe while Biff was destroying Hill Valley's economy, turning himself into a Donald Trump-esque oligarch, killing Marty's dad, and marrying his mom he also bought and gutted the Telegraph, destroying its newsroom so that it would be incapable of the sort of investigative reporting that could expose his schemes and thus pose a threat to his sinister regime. 

Or maybe it's just a goof. Head over for the full slate of hilarious Hill Valley Telegraph headlines. As Marty would say: this is heavy stuff. 

Read more of "'Back to the Future''s Terrible Newspaper."

This article is related to: From the Wire


E-Mail Updates



Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome