Time travel is one of the coolest devices used in sci-fi to set up an awesome story. The very idea of being able to travel to another time is fascinating for any number of reasons, and the implications of it have captured the minds of writers, philosophers, and everyday schmucks like you and me. And while numerous movies have been made on the subject, ranging from dark and grim sci-fi to hilarious hot-tub-based comedy, most seem to follow the same basic formula of what happens when you travel through time.
Generally speaking, there are few downsides to traveling forward in time, other than maybe being eaten by a Morlock. Going back in time opens a can of worms in which the worms have been replaced with shit and you open it while you're going over a speed bump so you get shit all over your clothes, maybe even in your mouth. It's pretty gross. You'll see it again and again in movies -- the things you do in the past affect the future/present. But usually it's really straightforward. You go back in time and stop a robot from killing John Connor's mom, you hump John Connor's mom, you become John Connor's dad. That's very simple and direct and in no way deserves to be questioned further. But every so often, you find a movie where the repercussions of traveling through time are way more fucked up than you would have guessed.
5 Back to the Future
Arguably the best time travel movie of all time, you may question why I would include this film. I'm not making fun of it; we all know it's awesome. It's the reason you care about Michael J. Fox -- no one liked Family Ties and we all know it. Tina Yothers? Fuck off. And it's the reason anyone ever wanted a DeLorean. It's pretty much the perfect '80s movie. However, in terms of the physics and repercussions of time travel, it does serve up a curious dose of what-the-fuckery.
If you recall, Michael J. Fox DeLoreans himself back to 1955, when his parents were destined to meet and bone and produce him and the rest of his family, only his presence screws that whole timeline up and his mom wants to put the hump on him. It's incestuous hilarity at its finest. But as a result of his mother's drop-of-the-hat whorishness, he's jeopardized his entire existence, a fact that is made head-scratchingly apparent by a fading family photo. Or, to put it another way, one erases himself from existence in a process of slow transparency manifested in photography and then finally reality. That's how time travel works here.
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MILF! MILF! MILF!!
There's long been a paradox in time travel called the grandfather paradox. If you go back in time and kill your own grandfather, effectively stopping yourself from being born, how can you go back in time and kill your own grandfather? This is Back to the Future's way of handling that paradox -- translucent photography. No asking why it would happen, or the simple spontaneous destruction of a no-longer-logical timeline. The universe doesn't implode, or unravel, or produce a series of exponentially more complex and unlikely alternate dimensions to handle the influx of impossibilities presented by the reality of a person unmaking history. Instead you slowly fade away, have an anxiety attack, and introduce a small town to Chuck Berry until your parents agree to pork and then everything is fine.
Making fun of an Adam Sandler movie is a bit like wiping your ass before going to the bathroom, but this is a special circumstance, so please forgive me. In this case, we're concerned with his selfish-oaf opus Click, in which the sinisterly off-putting Christopher Walken offers Sandler a mysterious remote control to make his life easier. Unlike numerous other Sandler films, this one features a love interest who is a hot chick who should be out of Sandler's league, plus a role given to a washed-up icon from Sandler's childhood. I mean just like every other Sandler film. Just like.
Like all light-hearted comedies, this film is about selfishly ignoring those around you and missing out on important life events until your soulless, uncaring demeanor alienates you from everyone who ever cared about you and you die sad and alone. Stop slapping those knees, there's more article to read!
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"Why the hell am I famous? Say no to vaccines!"
Sandler's character gets his eerie time-manipulating powers at Bed, Bath & Beyond. The remote lets him control the universe in much the way you'd control your laserdisc player. Still got one of those? I do. So he uses it to fast forward over the boring shit in his life, or the bad shit, and eventually his entire life gets away from him because he was never there to experience it. At the end he loses everything he had.
How any character with half a brain could get stuck in this terrible situation is the key to even understanding an Adam Sandler movie. Most of us would probably think "Cool!" at first, use it once, realize we had no idea what just happened and would never get that time back, and have an existential panic-fueled crisis. This is time travel that causes you to lose your life in small, digestible bites, over and over, until it becomes uncontrollable. Who would ever do that? What could the possible benefit be of knowingly passing up life events when you have no idea what you might be missing?
I'll tell you what the benefit is -- shtick from Rob Schneider. Is that what you want? Would you travel through time for that? Of course not. No one would.