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Back to the Future  /  Desperately Seeking Susan

Desperately Seeking Susan
December 7, 2019 - 7:30 pm
author J. Hoberman. He will sign copies of "Make My Day: Movie Culture in the Age of Reagan" in the lobby beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Back to the Future  (1985)

“An American Oedipus,” Marty McFly (Fox) travels back in time to the 1950s, with the help of eccentric inventor Doc Brown (Lloyd), to ensure his parents get together at the high school dance and so realize his own existence. Zemeckis channels Spielbergian nostalgia to evoke a “comforting past to improve the present and even frame the radiant future,” and so perfectly encapsulates Reagan’s own appeals to a sanitized movie version of American history.  

Print provided by UCLA Film & Television Archive. 35mm, color, 116 min. Director: Robert Zemeckis, Frank Marshall. Screenwriter: Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale. Cast: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson.

Desperately Seeking Susan  (1985)

The mid-way point of Reagan’s two-term presidency saw the emergence of a genre deeply rooted in the moment: the comedy of yuppie angst. Director Susan Seidelman’s Desperately Seeking Susan is a quintessential example of the form with it’s gender formula flipped. Here it’s a discontent professional woman (Arquette) who pursues her object of desire (Madonna) into an exotically-represented bohemian underworld.

Print provided by UCLA Film & Television Archive. 35mm, color, 103 min. Director: Susan Seidelman. Screenwriter: Leora Barish. Cast: Rosanna Arquette, Aidan Quinn, Madonna.