Reviews of some DVDs, including a look at ‘Back to the Future’ and 2 classic independent releases

‘Back in Time’
‘Back in Time’

This week’s column features several DVDs from Music Video Distributors, although two of them really don’t focus on music. Parents will need to view these in advance or just keep youngsters away from them.

‘Back in Time,’ Directed by Jason Aron (MVDvisual, )

This excellent Sept. 13, 2016, documentary shows the many effects that the “Back To The Future” trilogy of super-successful movies has had on our culture. The special effects were accomplished through manipulation, real fire and explosions and other means because CGI wasn’t around at the time.

There are appearances here by cast and crew including Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale, Michael J. Fox, Lea Thompson, Christopher Lloyd, Huey Lewis (whose “Power Of Love” promoted and then was promoted by the first movie), “Goldbergs” creator Adam F. Goldberg and other interested parties from actors to real-people devotees.

The movies have a huge fan base, extending to conventions, DeLoreans retooled into imitation time machines years after the auto company discontinued, real hoverboards and more.

This is a thoroughly fascinating film and well worth viewing.

‘Plasmatics-Live! Rod Swenson’s Lost Tapes 178-1981,’ (MVDvisual, )

This May 19 DVD collects all previously unreleased Plasmatics live videotaped songs. Rod Swenson was the Plasmatics creator, and the late Wendy O. Williams partnered with him in songwriting, video-making and more. The sound quality is often bad, since it depends on ambient microphones; but these performances are visually and sometimes musically powerful. Theatrics entered the Plasmatics shows early on (two guitars chain sawed by nearly topless Wendy on Jan. 17, 1980).

Other favorites: “Black Leather Monster” (with exploding car, Sept. 22, 1981), both versions of “Squirm,” and the early footage from CBGB’s.

This footage shows how potent the Plasmatics and Wendy were, though it merits the Parental-Advisory label because of her skimpy stage attire.

‘The High Schooler’s Guide to College Parties,’ Directed by Patrick Johnson (MVDvisual, 1/2)

This “Unrated Edition” arrived along with the Plasmatics’ DVD above, and also merits the P-A label mentioned in that review’s final sentence because of some topless girls, drug/alcohol use and sexual situations.

Shaquille (Shaq to his friends and not similar to Shaquille O’Neal at all) is a high-school dweeb who wants to enroll in a major college but must secure a recommendation from a prominent alumnus — his obnoxious cousin Brett. Brett needs a favor, though: a place to hold a big, beer-laden party. Shaq comes up with a place due his friend’s parents being out of town. Things progress/digress from there.

Both of the last two movies are good examples of independent filmmaking.

Ricky Flake, a former punk rocker and current music fan, lives in Biloxi. Reach him at flakericky@gmail.com.