The Genius Behind The "Enchantment Under the Sea" Dance Scene

The Genius Behind The "Enchantment Under the Sea" Dance Scene

"Back to the Future" can do no wrong.
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Whether you have seen the second or third “Back to the Future,” almost everyone I know has at least seen the first one. It is one of my all-time favorite movies and will be considered a classic until the end of time (I added a pun without realizing it, so score for me). There are so many incredible scenes in the first “Back to the Future” film but there is one that will remain one of my personal favorite movie scenes of all time, “The Enchantment Under the Scene” dance scene. As a little refresher this scene happens right after George Mcfly knocks Biff out in front of the car Marty was originally supposed to be in if things went according to his “get my parents back together” plan (they didn’t). By doing this he saves Lorraine from Biff’s assault.

The background to this scene is that when Marty goes back in time, he accidently changes the event where his parents initially meet. Because of this, George never takes Lorraine to the “Enchantment Under the Sea” dance the way it was supposed to happen. As a result, Marty must get his parents to have their first kiss at the dance and restore things back to the way they are. However, if he doesn’t his parents will never get married and he will cease to exist. So…with all that at stake, let’s get into the scene.

The Scene

It starts out where one of the members of the band playing the music for the dance slices his hand trying to free Marty from the back of a car trunk he was locked into by Biff’s goons. As a result, he can’t play for the rest of the dance, which poses a problem because as Marty says “if there’s no music they can’t dance and if they can’t dance they can’t kiss and if they can’t kiss they can’t fall in love and I’m history." Pretty accurate, Marty. So, Marty then begins the scene playing the guitar as a substitute to try and save the day. But, not before other things start to go wrong (of course).

As Marty watches his parents dance he checks the photo of himself, his brother, and his sister that he has to see how much they have disappeared from the photo (signifying that they are disappearing in real life do to the alternating events that transpires as a result of his parents not meeting the correct way).

Lorraine then turns to George and asks if he is going to kiss her to which George replies nervously that he isn’t sure. Another guy then comes up and says “Scram Mcfly, I’m cutting in,” and takes Lorraine away to dance with him. George looks distraught and gives her a look of weakness on his part. All of a sudden Marty starts hitting many wrong notes on the guitar to which he knows something is wrong and looks at the picture. It shows that he is disappearing (along with his hand he is playing the guitar with). The scene cuts between Marty in agony and Lorraine calling out to George in a scared manner until Marty finally takes his last gasp and says “George…”

Out of nowhere George appears in front of Lorraine and the guy and says “Excuse me” and pushes the guy to the ground. He then looks right into Lorraine’s eyes and they share their first kiss on the dance floor. Marty springs up, having been restored and fully existing as a result of the kiss that would eventually lead to his parents’ marriage and birth. George gives Marty a little wave of thanks for everything he has done as Marty smiles and waves back until the song finally ends. We can all just stand up and give a slow clap now.

What Makes It So Genius

Given the events that I have just set up, it’s the elements in between and the small details that make this one of the greatest (to me at least) scenes in cinema. First of all, let’s talk about the song “Earth Angel” that the band plays. It makes the entire scene. The song has such an 80’s love song feel and the lyrics and melody of all of the different instruments played in unison makes it sound absolutely magical. So check one, they picked a great song.

The suspense and intensity of the scene is executed perfectly. When Marty starts to hit those wrong notes and realizes what is going on, the score starts to become extremely unsettling, muffling the calls from Lorraine to sound haunting while cutting back to Marty’s hand that is slowly disappearing. As the music gets louder and louder, the sound of Lorraine’s calls and the boy’s evil laugh who stole her away from George heightens. At this point “Earth Angel” has completely stopped playing in the scene to show Marty’s concentration on the terrible situation happening before him.

Finally when George approaches Lorraine and the other guy the intense music comes to a halt and the audience can hear “Earth Angel” in the background again. When George finally pushes him down one of the classic “Back to the Future” theme scores starts to heighten as it reaches it’s peak and stops the minute George looks directly into Lorraine’s eyes. “Earth Angel” starts to get louder and louder until George and Lorraine finally kiss and the climax of the song begins right as their lips touch. The music comes back to its full volume as the rest of the incredible and magical scene plays out. The camera then zooms out on the two of them dancing in the middle of the floor surrounded by everyone else as the last note closes the song. The way the filmmakers put together the entire scene, music, camera works, and sound editing creates a scene where all of these elements mesh so well together.

The emotion that this scene evokes is like no other, which is also why it is brilliant as well. The entire movie was leading up to this moment, whether or not Marty would find a way to bring his parents together. The fate of Marty and his siblings is on the line as well as the futures for his parents (and if his parents never married there is no telling what each of their lives would have been like). The filmmakers did an amazing job placing all of the stakes and emotions on this one scene, which makes it feel that much more triumphant when things work out, not as planned, but for the better. I don’t know about anyone else but this is the one scene that makes me smile like never before every single time I watch it. Whether or not I am watching it after seeing the entire movie or just watching the clip on my computer, I feel the exact same joyful emotions. It takes a great filmmaker to create a scene that evokes so much emotion even if you haven’t seen the movie play out beforehand.

As I said, greatest scene ever.

Cover Image Credit: Back To The Future

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A Letter To My Humans On Our Last Day Together

We never thought this day would come.
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I didn't sleep much last night after I saw your tears. I would have gotten up to snuggle you, but I am just too weak. We both know my time with you is coming close to its end, and I just can't believe it how fast it has happened.

I remember the first time I saw you like it was yesterday.

You guys were squealing and jumping all around, because you were going home with a new dog. Dad, I can still feel your strong hands lifting me from the crate where the rest of my puppy brothers and sisters were snuggled around my warm, comforting puppy Momma. You held me up so that my chunky belly and floppy wrinkles squished my face together, and looked me right in the eyes, grinning, “She's the one."

I was so nervous on the way to my new home, I really didn't know what to expect.

But now, 12 years later as I sit in the sun on the front porch, trying to keep my wise, old eyes open, I am so grateful for you. We have been through it all together.

Twelve “First Days of School." Losing your first teeth. Watching Mom hang great tests on the refrigerator. Letting you guys use my fur as a tissue for your tears. Sneaking Halloween candy from your pillowcases.

Keeping quiet while Santa put your gifts under the tree each year. Never telling Mom and Dad when everyone started sneaking around. Being at the door to greet you no matter how long you were gone. Getting to be in senior pictures. Waking you up with big, sloppy kisses despite the sun not even being up.

Always going to the basement first, to make sure there wasn't anything scary. Catching your first fish. First dates. Every birthday. Prom pictures. Happily watching dad as he taught the boys how to throw every kind of ball. Chasing the sticks you threw, even though it got harder over the years.

Cuddling every time any of you weren't feeling well. Running in the sprinkler all summer long. Claiming the title “Shotgun Rider" when you guys finally learned how to drive. Watching you cry in mom and dads arms before your graduation. Feeling lost every time you went on vacation without me.

Witnessing the awkward years that you magically all overcame. Hearing my siblings learn to read. Comforting you when you lost grandma and grandpa. Listening to your phone conversations. Celebrating new jobs. Licking your scraped knees when you would fall.

Hearing your shower singing. Sidewalk chalk and bubbles in the sun. New pets. Family reunions. Sleepovers. Watching you wave goodbye to me as the jam-packed car sped up the driveway to drop you off at college. So many memories in what feels like so little time.

When the time comes today, we will all be crying. We won't want to say goodbye. My eyes might look glossy, but just know that I feel your love and I see you hugging each other. I love that, I love when we are all together.

I want you to remember the times we shared, every milestone that I got to be a part of.

I won't be waiting for you at the door anymore and my fur will slowly stop covering your clothes. It will be different, and the house will feel empty. But I will be there in spirit.

No matter how bad of a game you played, how terrible your work day was, how ugly your outfit is, how bad you smell, how much money you have, I could go on; I will always love you just the way you are. You cared for me and I cared for you. We are companions, partners in crime.

To you, I was simply a part of your life, but to me, you were my entire life.

Thank you for letting me grow up with you.

Love always,

Your family dog

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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The Top 10 Gay-Themed Commercials That Should Be Celebrated

Gay-themed advertisements are an important part of our representation in pop culture. Here are the ten best gay-themed commercials that deserve celebration.

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Advertisements have a long history of reflecting and influencing popular culture. As someone from one of the boroughs of New York City, I've always been surrounded by advertisements. So it is extremely obvious to me why representation in these advertisements matter. Commercials online and on television are no exception. As a gay man, I'd like to present you with ten commercials that make me feel a sense of pride.

1. Israeli Gays Get Distracted On The Beach

Israel is a safe haven for LGBTQ people living in the Middle East. While places like Saudi Arabia and Iran treat gay men horrifically by enforcing Sharia Law, Israel welcomes them with open arms. That open minded attitude was even more obvious with this commercial from 2006.

2. Pepsi Brings Out The Confidence In One Guy (With A Gay Twist)

This Pepsi ad from the UK has a comedic twist that will delight the viewer with the main character's confidence. I find the women's reaction to him passing by each of them even more humorous than his friend's reactions.

3. Doritos Gay Sauna Contest Entry That Could've Gayed Up The Super Bowl

This commercial was created as a contest entry where aspiring filmmakers could create commercials for Doritos. The winning entry would be aired during the Super Bowl and the filmmaker would win a cash prize. This viral smash didn't make it, however. It seemed unfair, as several straight-themed commercials feature tons of innuendo. Unfortunately, it seems as though gay male sexuality is still threatening to some.

4. Campbell's Soup Portrays The Adorable Gay Household We All Wish We Had

This Campbell's Soup commercial is a short and sweet depiction of two gay dads sharing a sweet moment with their son. If it proves anything, it's that gay households are just like any other.

5. Marriage Equality Gets An Endorsement From Tide

While marriage equality has been a source of debate over the years, the only thing wrong with this union was the attire chosen for it. A brilliant twist ending courtesy of Tide.

6. This Heinz Commercial Is A Gay New Yorker's Dream Come True

As a gay man and a New Yorker, this commercial makes me very happy. Affection between same sex couples hasn't always been something we could see on television. However, this Heinz commercial squashes all that.

7. A Sweet And Unexpected Coming Out At McDonald's

This McDonald's commercial from Taiwan features a twist ending that is heartfelt, not comedic. For anyone who has struggled coming out, this should hit you right in the feels!

8. Sister And Brother Fight Over The Hot Pool Boy... With Coca-Cola

A nice bottle of Coke is quite refreshing. Who knew it was the perfect ice-breaker to approach your crush? This ad features a brother and sister competing for the pool boy's attention. However, it seems like someone else beat them at their own game.

9. This IKEA Commercial Was A Historic Turning Point

This classic IKEA ad from 1994 was groundbreaking for gay representation in advertising. It would be remiss of me not to include this important commercial on the list.

10. What Happens When Your Dad Sets You Up On A Tinder Date?

It's always nice to have your parents acceptance. However, even for gay guys, parents can get a little too close for comfort. This Vote Savvy ad portrays just that. But hey, they mean well, right?

Whether comedic, heartfelt, or provocative, these ten commercials have done wonders for gay male representation in advertising. It also reflects the representation of gay men around the world. From Israel to Taiwan to the UK, these commercials reflect the growing acceptance around the gay community. As far as I'm concerned, that's something to be celebrated.

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