Tag Archives: back to the future

Pretty McFly (For a White Guy)

Fastest Delorean Part II

by George Wolf

When we last saw Adam Kontras and his record-setting Delorean, one of them was on the side of an L.A. freeway engulfed in flames.

Fastest DeLorean in the World ended with that fiery cliffhanger, and now Kontras is back to finish the story with his second documentary feature, Fastest Delorean Part II.

Kontras, a Columbus native who bought the Delorean and turned it into a stunning replica of Marty McFly’s Back to the Future time machine, has for years been making his living in L.A. by renting out the vehicle for a variety of gigs.

That led to a desire for setting the Delorean speed record, which Kontras chronicled to stirring effect in Part I. But aside from all the cool car stuff, what really drove the first film is the human drama that developed between Adam and his gearhead brother Kenny.

The status of their relationship was as much an unanswered question as the car fire, and Kontras readily admits his sequel won’t mean much to anyone who hasn’t seen the first film.

“It’s the rightful conclusion to everything,” Kontras said.

Plus, from the Universal Studios backlot to Paris and beyond, we get first person accounts of the often amazing places the car has taken Kontras and his good friend Don Fullilove, who played Mayor Goldie Wilson in the Back to the Future films.

“Just like the first one, I’m very happy as a storyteller to have somehow pieced it all together,” Kontras said. “The scope of everything is pretty intense…but holy fuck, I wish I wasn’t in it.”

“I am so done with the drama, I did everything humanly possible to make Fastest DeLorean a nice redemption story.”

“There will not be a part III.”

There will be more documentaries, though. Kontras is set to announce his next project in January, one he describes as “a love fest that has nothing to do with family.”

Okay, but what about time travel?

Fastest DeLorean Part II is streaming now on Amazon.

Searching for Gigawatts

by George Wolf and Hope Madden

Now that Adam Kontras’s first documentary feature is out, he has time to sit back and savor the accomplishment.

“I completely regret attempting it,” he says. “Had no clue it would turn out the way it did.”

How’s that?

“The movie turned out well,” Kontras says. “I just wish it wasn’t me.”

The film is Fastest DeLorean in the World, Kontras’s first-hand account of mixing business with record breaking. The owner of a Back to the Future-style time machine, Kontras documented his attempt at setting a new DeLorean speed record.

It is a fascinating story, filled with frustration, thrills, more than a little personal anguish and much more debt than expected.

Kontras, a Columbus native, left home for Los Angeles in late 1999 with a performance art piece entitled 4TVs, in which he played each member of a mock boy band that performed via separate TVs due to mutual hatred. Kontras decided to update his ambitions for fans from his on-air work in Columbus radio at WTVN and CD101 (now CD102.5) with a series of videos dubbed “The Journey,” unknowingly blazing the video blogging trail.

“I had a good email following through my time in radio,” Kontras says. “I decided to include a video with the first email announcing my move to LA and chronicling the whole journey. I just made a page with each email and video on the 4TVs site and figured I’d do it until I ‘made it.’ Eighteen years later, that video blog became a sort of therapy to handle all the bullshit out here. Once I was recognized in 2009 as the first and longest-running ‘vlogger,’ it won’t be stopping anytime soon.”

And then, like so many Midwesterners chasing Hollywood dreams, Kontras built a golf course and bought an iconic vehicle.

“I built a minigolf course in my backyard,” he says. “I was theme-ing each hole, and in 2014 an actual DeLorean Time Machine seemed like the caviar dream. Long story short, I took a loan and figured I could make the money back renting the car out. If that failed, I could sell the car at the height of Back to the Future madness in October 2015 (the “future day” Marty goes to in part 2).”

Kontras credits that “madness” with doubling his investment in 2015.

“To date, it’s still my only means of income, which is hard for me to even comprehend,” he says. “The car is simply that popular.”

Needless to say, owning that car has taken Kontras to some interesting places.

“The three times I’ve had it on the Universal lot at Hill Valley will always be surreal,” he says. “Driving Lea Thompson into Dodger Stadium, driving it on an aircraft carrier—2015 was incredible for big events like that. But my favorite events are usually the smaller ones where we get to surprise fans. You forget how much this car means to people sometimes.”

It has also led to a firm friendship with Don Fullilove, who played Mayor Goldie Wilson in the Back to the Future films and joins Kontras in his documentary.

“(Don is) as genuine as he seems on-screen and I honestly feel he saves the film,” Kontras says. “He keeps the pace light-hearted, although the content is anything but.”

As Kontras sets out to modify his car enough to reach world record DeLorean speed, costs and setbacks mount. Kontras leaned on his gearhead brother Kenny for both advice and actual work on the engine, and some of the most effective moments in the film come after their differing visions lead to a gasp-inducing bit of deception.

“I’m still struggling with the aftermath of everything and it doesn’t look like it will end anytime soon,” Kontras says.

Though The Fastest DeLorean in the World is Kontras’s first feature, the film has polish in both framing and editing, thanks to his experience assembling The Journey vlogs.

“(The film) was edited in Premiere Pro, and we used so many different cameras,” he remembers. “Mostly smartphones, to be honest. When you’re doing a lot of guerrilla shoots, being able to hand off an iPhone Plus with the steadicam feature is worth its weight in gold. So many of the shots were by friends that were just there to see what happened and I’d hand them a phone. It made editing a nightmare but I’m used to that.”

Did Kontras get his speed record? The film takes you on a captivating ride to find that answer.

“The movie ends with one helluva cliffhanger,” he says. “We’re presently shooting the sequel, the content of which seems to change daily. I’m still living every second and have no idea what or when that will be.”

Fastest DeLorean in the World is available now on Amazon.

Counting Down Cinema’s Best Trilogies

The third Hunger Games installment is set to smash box office records this week. It’s part of that rare brotherhood of series where the sequel is stronger than the original, like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. We’re eager to see what they can do with #3, which got us to thinking about our favorite trilogies. Today we are counting down the best trilogies in film.

10. Dead Trilogy

George A. Romero may have gone to the well a few too many times, but the first three installments of his Dead series – Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead – were groundbreaking achievements that created the pattern for all future zombie films. Packed with social commentary as well as bloody entrails, they are as weirdly compelling today as they were when they were first released.

9. Back to the Future

Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd head to the 1950s, back to the Eighties, back to the Fifties, and eventually to the Wild West in a charming, funny, nostalgic time travel fantasy.

8. Evil Dead

Truth be told, the 2013 reboot is a worthy addition to the franchise. But it’s Bruce Campbell and the 1981 goretastic Stoogesque original, its 1987 reboot/sequel, and the epic third installment Army of Darkness that create the three headed monster we love.

7. Godfather Trilogy

Honestly, this is here on the merit of the first two films alone. Though the third installment is not the debacle it is often labeled, it is certainly comparatively weak. But since I and II are among the greatest American films ever made, we’ll let that slide.

6. Dollar Trilogy

Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad and the Ugly stole from Kurosawa, established Clint Eastwood, and changed the landscape of the American Western. Morally complicated and full of violence, Leone’s trilogy is a landmark in cinema – American, Italian or otherwise.

5. Vengeance Trilogy

Korean filmmaking genius/madman Chan-wook Park unleashed three riveting, bizarre tales of vengeance beginning in 2002 with Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, the unnervingly merciful tale of kidnapping, compassion and revenge. He followed it the next year with his masterpiece, Oldboy, a revenge fable so bizarre it defies simple summarization. He capped the trilogy in 2005 with Lady Vengeance, another twisted and human tale of vengeance and unattainable redemption.

4. Star Wars

If a trilogy ever had as much impact as the first three Star Wars films, we don’t know of it. Yes, there are weaknesses in Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi (Ewoks, for example), but it’s a galaxy we’d return to regardless of its distance.

3. Lord of the Rings

Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy is a majestic, gorgeously filmed and beautifully crafted nerdgasm. Scary, heroic and genuinely epic, it’s a fantasy world that offsets the magic with enough authenticity to give the trilogy compelling urgency. Jackson’s vision is magnificent. (But enough already, please?)

2. Dark Knight

Christopher Nolan recast superheroes with his dark, brooding Batman Begins. Provocatively written and fascinatingly cast, the film spun into the superior sequel The Dark Knight, proving that a superhero movie could be among the very best films made in any year. Then he capped it with The Dark Knight Rises and the kind of excitement, revisiting of themes and satisfying closure required of a genuine cinematic trilogy. Nicely done!

1. Toy Story

When Pixar unleashed Toy Story in 1995, the world changed for animation, family entertainment, and movies on the whole. What a glorious achievement – too good for a sequel. And yet John Lasseter revisited Buzz, Woody and gang in ’99 with new buddies and a toy-centric plot that was as riveting as the first film. And then, showing true genius, Lasseter returned to Andy’s house in maybe the most honest and heartbreaking coming of age film ever digitally created. Tell us you didn’t cry during Toy Story 3 and we’ll label you a sociopath.

This Week’s Countdown: Time Traveling Out of January

Her came out this week, and it’s awesome. August: Osage County, also new in theaters, is worth a peek. But that’s probably it for a while. January is the beginning of the long winter movie wasteland, littered with films that were not deemed good competition for holiday movies, not likely award winners – just not that great. The kind of thing you hang on to until it’s bleak and dreary and people have lost the will to live so, why not watch Ride Along?

I, Frankenstein? I vomit.

Seriously, you know it’s bad when you’re holding out for the Hercules movie starring The Rock.

It’s too bad we don’t have a time machine to just jump past the dismal winter movie months. But we don’t. What we do have – which is almost as good – are time machine movies. Here are our 8 favorites. Why eight? January’s a long month and five might not be enough. Use them to fill the void of good flicks at the theater.

8. Twelve Monkeys

Madman Terry Gilliam creates a fascinating shell-world of the future, in which penal colony worker Bruce Willis agrees to travel back to the Nineties to sleuth out the cause of the apocalypse. The SciFi business is intricate and delicate and works surprisingly well, but it’s Gilliam’s particular genius for ruminating on the nature of insanity that keeps this one fascinating. That, along with fun performances from Willis and Oscar nominated (thought, let’s be honest, maybe he didn’t deserve that one) Brad Pitt.

7. Time Bandits

What? More Terry Gilliam? Yes, this guy has a real jones for time travel and, in this case, dwarfs. In 1981 Gilliam was still working with his Monty Python cohorts, ensuring that this bit of lunacy (for wherever Gilliam creates, lunacy follows) takes on a far more comical air than 12 Monkeys. Imaginative and hilarious, it’s no Brazil, but that film couldn’t have existed without this one.


6. The Terminator

Computers become self aware. They build super sized, thickly accented, human-ish cyborgs (the role Schwarzenegger was born to play) to infiltrate the few remaining warriors and end the human race. But one scrappy lad sends his dad back to knock up his mom, ensuring the future of the species. Which begs the question: is the survival of the human race reason enough to entertain the idea of your parents doing it?




5. Planet of the Apes

The film’s 45 years old at this point. We hope we’re not giving up any spoilers by including it on the time travel countdown. But it’s a fascinating thought – maybe it’s not the machines that will enslave us. Maybe it’ll be those damn, dirty apes! Oh Charlton Heston, with your granite jaw and loin cloth, how you suffer when you find out!

4. Timecrimes

This one is nutty, and absolutely required viewing for anyone who enjoys time space continuum conundrums. So much can go wrong when you travel just one hour back in time. An always clever experiment in science fiction and irony, Timecrimes is a spare, unique and wild ride.

3. Back to the Future

The most beloved of all time travel films, Back to the Future has charm to spare. Inventive and endearing, and yet Marty McFly almost makes out with his own mom. Ewww. (We love you, George McFly!)


2. Primer

Made for $7000, this film is, in itself, an act of science fiction. Writer/director Shane Carruth (who would go on to make the best sic fi film of 2013, Upstream Color,) finds all new ways to consider what havoc a time machine could wreak. It would be the most streamlined, absorbing and ingenious film of its kind if there were other films of its kind.


1. Looper

An ingenious look at personal destiny wrapped inside a mind bending time travel thriller, the film watches Joe (Joseph Gordon Levitt) try to kill the older version of himself (Bruce Willis) whose been sent back to him from the future for a mob hit. Breathlessly entertaining, wildly clever and incredibly well crafted, it’s among the very best SciFi  film of a generation.