It was no coincidence that St. Patrick’s Gymnasium in Nolita, the setting for BBQFilms‘ weekend screenings of Back to the Future, was erected in 1954. After all, when you send 300 New Yorkers back to 1955 for a high school prom, there had better still be a building when they get there. With the flux capacitor in good working order, wave after wave of prom hopefuls twisted their way through a makeshift time portal, and into the past.
All photos by Luke Kingma
To successfully recreate a movie moment as iconic as the Enchantment Under The Sea Dance is an anomaly. To do it twice in two nights is a scientific impossibility, unless of course the people of Hill Valley show up to lend a hand. This time, however, it wasn’t just the characters who made an appearance. Parked just outside the venue for guests and passersby alike to salivate over was the mothership herself.
Inside, a Marvin Berry and the Starlighters cover band reimagined spirited selections from the era to prep fans for the screening. While the music played, Marty McFly, Doc Brown, Lorraine Baines, Biff Tannen, George McFly and others wandered the crowd in character, interacting with guests and each other. Even Principal Strickland worked the crowd, pulling random troublemakers and writing them up in a makeshift office.
Elsewhere, a photo booth by the guys and gals at Ultravisual allowed couples and strangers to pose for prom photos. On the other side of the gymnasium, the infamous “clock tower lady” was busily (and loudly) gathering donations for the Michael J. Fox foundation, a first for BBQFilms, and a welcome addition.
Once the movie had started, the actors disappeared in preparation for their fifteen minutes of fame: line-for-line reenactments of select scenes from the latter half of the film, including the big kiss itself. This time, BBQFilms decided to get the crowd involved, electing a prom court of unsuspecting guests. The intermissions define BBQFilms’ mission to cast people in their favorite movies.
Unfortunately, the magic couldn’t last forever. With Marty safely back in 1985, and the popcorn running dangerously low, it was time for all of us to head back to 2014. But not before one last dance, and one last spin in the Delorean.
There are certain things we’ve come to expect from Gabriel Rhoads and the BBQFilms crew over the past year – arresting attention to detail, intricate costuming, and a contagious respect for great films, to name a few. We haven’t been disappointed yet. In typical fashion, we have no idea where (or when) they’re going to take us next. However, one thing’s for certain – we may not need roads where we’re going, but we’ll definitely need Rhoads.
Want in? Follow BBQFilms on Facebook and Twitter and be the first to hear about future screenings. Below, you’ll find a collection of additional photos from the evening. You can also check out our previous coverage of BBQFilms recreations of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Fifth Element, and American Psycho. Enjoy!