TIME movies

Back to the Future II Turns 25 — Or, in Future Years, -1

'Back To The Future Part II'
'Back To The Future Part II' Universal Pictures

Read TIME's 1989 review of the futuristic favorite

When the first Back to the Future movie came out in 1985, it didn’t receive a review in TIME — but on the occasion of its release 25 years ago, on Nov. 22, 1989, Back to the Future, Part II provided a convincing argument for the magazine to want to go back in time and correct that oversight.

“Like its predecessor, Back to the Future, Part II does not merely warp time; it twists it, shakes it and stands it on its ear,” wrote critic Richard Schickel. “But as before, the film’s technical brilliance is the least of its appeals. Satirically acute, intricately structured and deftly paced, it is at heart stout, good and untainted by easy sentiment.”

In fact, he went on, in some ways Part II one-upped its predecessor: “…when [Marty] is reinserted into this moment in time and starts to meet himself and the situations of the previous movie, Back to the Future II ceases to be a sequel. It becomes instead a kind of fugue, brilliantly varying and expanding on previously stated themes.”

It also became known as the source of the world’s wish for a working hover board. In TIME’s original review of the movie, the accompanying photo is of Marty McFly in the year 2015 riding said mode of transport — which makes the movie’s 25th birthday a particularly exciting one. The year 2015 is fast approaching, no time machine required, and sure enough, here it is: a real-life hover board is featured on our annual list of the 25 best inventions of the year.

Read the full 1989 review, here in the TIME Vault: More Travels With Marty

TIME Music

Beyonce Dances Around in Her Underwear in New Music Video ’7/11′

I'm spinning, I'm spinning, I'm spinning

Beyonce’s new music video was released, unannounced, on Friday, and has predictably already garnered more than 2.6 million views in less than a day.

Called “7/11,” the video features the singer in grainy video dancing in her underwear in what appear to be hotel rooms, evoking a kind of homemade quality. Several other women wearing underwear make an appearance, too, and it looks like the grooviest slumber party you’ve never been invited to.

“7/11” and another new track called “Ring Off” are both featured on the boxed-set reissue of “Beyonce” which will be released on Monday.

TIME celebrities

Bill Cosby Lawyer Accuses Media of Reporting ‘Fantastical Stories’

Bill Cosby
Comedian Bill Cosby performs during a show at the Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts in Melbourne, Fla., Nov. 21, 2014. Phelan M. Ebenhack—AP

In the midst of numerous rape allegations, Cosby performed a sold-out show in Florida Friday night

Bill Cosby’s lawyer released a statement Friday denying claims of sexual assault against the comedian and blaming the press for widely reporting “unsubstantiated, fantastical” allegations.

“The new, never-before-heard claims from women who have come forward in the past two weeks with unsubstantiated, fantastical stories about things they say occurred 30, 40, or even 50 years ago have escalated far past the point of absurdity,” said Cosby’s attorney, Martin Singer, Variety reports.

Since 2005, more than a dozen women have come out and accused Cosby of molestation or sexual assault, but these accounts only recently began to gain media attention, in the midst of Cosby’s latest efforts at a comeback. On Nov. 19, NBC announced it was halting development of its new show starring Cosby, Netflix postponed a Bill Cosby comedy special set to air Nov. 28 and TV Land yanked reruns of The Cosby Show.

But despite the backlash, Cosby received a standing ovation at a sold-out comedy show in Melbourne, Florida on Friday. “I know people are tired of me not saying anything, but a guy doesn’t have to answer to innuendos,” Cosby told Florida TODAY before the Melbourne show. “People should fact check. People shouldn’t have to go through that and shouldn’t answer to innuendos.”

Cosby’s lawyer blamed the media for rushing into stories before they had been confirmed. “It is long past time for this media vilification of Mr. Cosby to stop.”

Here’s Singer’s full statement:

The new, never-before-heard claims from women who have come forward in the past two weeks with unsubstantiated, fantastical stories about things they say occurred 30, 40, or even 50 years ago have escalated far past the point of absurdity.

These brand new claims about alleged decades-old events are becoming increasingly ridiculous, and it is completely illogical that so many people would have said nothing, done nothing, and made no reports to law enforcement or asserted civil claims if they thought they had been assaulted over a span of so many years.

Lawsuits are filed against people in the public eye every day. There has never been a shortage of lawyers willing to represent people with claims against rich, powerful men, so it makes no sense that not one of these new women who just came forward for the first time now ever asserted a legal claim back at the time they allege they had been sexually assaulted.

This situation is an unprecedented example of the media’s breakneck rush to run stories without any corroboration or adherence to traditional journalistic standards. Over and over again, we have refuted these new unsubstantiated stories with documentary evidence, only to have a new uncorroborated story crop up out of the woodwork. When will it end? It is long past time for this media vilification of Mr. Cosby to stop.

MORE: Here’s Everything We Know (And Don’t Know) About the Bill Cosby Rape Allegations

TIME Television

Tina Fey Moves New Show to Netflix

Tina Fey and Ellie Kemper
Tina Fey and Ellie Kemper on May 12, 2014 in New York. Slaven Vlasic—Getty Images

Fey's relationship with NBC has extended more than a decade

Tina Fey is taking her show away from NBC.

The writer-actor-producer’s new series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt will now appear on Netflix instead, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Kimmy Schmidt stars Ellie Kemper from The Office as a woman who starts over in New York City after living in a cult.

Fey’s relationship with NBC has extended more than a decade. The television star first became famous as a performer on the channel’s Saturday Night Live program. She eventually became that show’s head writer before creating 30 Rock, another NBC show.

[THR]

TIME movies

Hear Jennifer Lawrence Sing in Mockingjay

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1
Jennifer Lawrence stars as ‘Katniss Everdeen’ in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 Murray Close—Lionsgate

The Academy Award-winning actress is pretty good

Jennifer Lawrence reportedly had so much trouble getting past her nerves that she cried when she had to sing “The Hanging Tree” in the latest installment of The Hunger Games.

“She’d probably tell you it was her least favorite day,” said Francis Lawrence, the movie’s director. “She was horrified to sing, she cried a little bit in the morning before she had to sing.”

But, as it turns out, the Academy Award-winning actress is pretty good.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 opens in theaters on Nov. 21.

 

 

 

TIME movies

The History Behind Benedict Cumberbatch’s The Imitation Game

Alan Turing wasn't the only one who suffered

The new movie The Imitation game is bringing fresh attention to a dark period in early 20th century, when homosexuals in the U.S. and the U.K. were criminally prosecuted because of their sexuality.

The movie, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, depicts the life of Alan Turing—a mathematician, computer scientist and code breaker known as a key architect of the modern computer and an instrumental figure whose skill for breaking Nazi codes helped the allies win World War II.

Despite his genius, Turing was prosecuted in England in 1952 for engaging in a homosexual relationship with a man. In lieu of prison, he was sentenced to take estrogen treatments to reduce his libido, a practice dubbed “chemical castration.” In 1954, he killed himself by cyanide poisoning at the age of 41.

The film depicts the Turing’s unjust prosecution and punishment for homosexuality, though slightly inaccurately (for more information, the Guardian did a helpful analysis of the film’s facts).

What happened to Turing was not uncommon in the United Kingdom and the United States during his lifetime in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. In the U.S., it was “the worst time to be queer because you are not being ignored, you are actively searched for and persecuted,” said John D’Emilio, a professor of gay and lesbian studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “The nice thing about the movie is that it is calling attention to this bit of history that people don’t know anything about.”

MORE: The price of genius

In Britain—where America’s own sodomy laws originated—the story begins in 1533, during the reign of Henry the VIII. That year, the Buggery Act made male sex a capital offense in Britain, punishable by death, usually by hanging. That remained the law until 1861, when the sentence was changed from death to prison, usually with hard labor. In 1885, the law was broadened to criminalize “gross indecency” a vague, catch-all term used to prosecute anything considered to be deviant sexual behavior outside of sodomy, mostly between men. In 1895, the playwright Oscar Wilde was convicted of gross indecency and sentenced to two years of prison and hard labor, about which he penned a poem called “The Balad of Reading Gaol.”

During Alan Turing’s life, public concern over the possibility that homosexuals serving in the military or aiding in the war effort could be blackmailed by enemies intensified the stigma of homosexuality in Britain. After Turing was convicted in 1952, the British government took away his security clearance. Turing was exposed after he reported a petty theft to the police, involving his lover. Their relationship was discovered by the police through his reporting of the crime. He pleaded guilty and opted for hormone treatments, known as chemical castration, instead of prison time. He tragically killed himself with cyanide in 1954.

The 1950s, was the beginning of the end for Britain’s laws against homosexual sex, as the prosecution of prominent people stoked a public backlash against the laws. In 1954, a well known journalist, Peter Wildeblood was convicted of homosexual acts with two prominent and wealthy men, Lord Montagu and Michael Pitt-Rivers, in a public trial that resulted in prison time for all of the men and public opposition to laws against homosexual sex. The trial lead to the creation of the Wolfenden committee of government representatives, ministers, educators, and psychiatrists, which in 1957, published a report recommending the discontinuation of laws against homosexuality.

The report eventually led to the 1967 Sexual Offenses Act, which ended the criminalization of homosexual sex between consenting men over the age of 21 in Britain and Wales. In 1994, the age was lowered to 18, and in 2003, it was lowered to 16, the same age for consenting heterosexual sex.

The U.S. history is slightly different from Britain’s. The fervent prosecution of gay sex didn’t start to happen in earnest until the very period during which Turing lived. The U.S. had anti-sodomy laws inherited from the English settlers, but it wasn’t until the late 1930s, 40s and 50s, during a period coinciding with the World Wars and a strong strain of Christian morality, that police in the U.S. made it a priority to enforce laws against homosexuals.

As in England, concerns that homosexuals could be blackmailed by Communist spies—an idea popularized by Senator Joe McCarthy—drove some of the fervor against homosexuals during that period. In the U.S.—more so than in Britain, it seems—the period was marked by increased police enforcement of the laws. Police officers went undercover in public parks where homosexuals went to meet each other for sexual encounters, in order to uncover them. It was a period of fear for homosexuals in America unparalleled before or since. “This is the height of what I call the homosexual terror in America,” said William Eskridge, a professor at Yale Law School and the author of Dishonorable Passions: Sodomy Laws in America.

MORE: TIME reviews The Imitation Game

During this same period, Eskridge said, states began to pass laws that allowed courts to institutionalize gay people indefinitely in mental institutions for having “psychotic personalities,” where were experimented on, lobotomized, and given shock therapy.

As was the case with Turing, the prosecution of gays also denied the U.S. some very bright minds who, but for their homosexuality, might have been allowed to contribute more to society. In the late 1950′s, Frank Kameny, an astronomer with a Ph.D. from Harvard, was kicked out of the Army Map Service and barred from serving in theUS government because he was a homosexual.

“One of geniuses of 20th century, the father of modern computers who helped win World War II, who was a lovely person, was destroyed by the anti homosexual terror,” Eskridge said of Turing.

TIME movies

Channing Tatum to Direct Young Adult Adaptation Leonard Peacock

Channing Tatum
Channing Tatum at the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, Jan. 12, 2014. George Pimentel—WireImage/Getty Images

Tatum has been moving toward more dramatic movies

Channing Tatum is set to co-direct and produce a film version of the young adult novel Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock with his filmmaking partner Reid Carolin, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The novel, written by Silver Linings Playbook author Matthew Quick, tells the story of Leonard Peacock and his plans to kill himself alongside his former best friend. There’s no word yet on who will adapt the novel for the screen.

MORE: Channing Tatum’s body of work

Made famous for his portrayal of hunky lead characters, Tatum has been moving toward more dramatic roles. In his new movie Foxcatcher, Tatum plays Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz. He may also take an acting role in Leonard Peacock.

[THR]

 

TIME Bill Cosby

Missing Allegations in Cosby Biography Fuel a Lie of Omission

Bill Cosby, Camille Cosby
Bill Cosby sits for an interview about the exhibit, Conversations: African and African-American Artworks in Dialogue, at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art in Washington on Nov. 6, 2014. Evan Vucci—AP

Steve Weinberg, Professor Emeritus at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, has published biographies of Armand Hammer and Ida Tarbell.

Mark Whitaker had a responsibility in telling the life story of Bill Cosby to include thoroughly reported and longstanding allegations against the entertainer

Mark Whitaker wants you to purchase his biography of Bill Cosby. As a biographer myself, I want you to purchase biographies galore, including those I write. But despite my book buying habit, I will refrain from owning Cosby: His Life and Times.

Whitaker made a decision to exclude allegations from at least thirteen women that Cosby sexually assaulted them—he says their allegations failed to meet his standards of proof. Biographers must make difficult decisions in every paragraph they publish, because reputations ought to be handled with care. Whitaker’s decision, though, should not have been difficult. As an experienced journalist, he made a bad call.

In an interview yesterday, Whitaker mentioned being unable to confirm the rape allegations independent of the victims’ accounts, as there were no definitive court findings regarding the allegations. “What you eventually learn about everything related to these allegations, and how you think that should figure in your ultimate judgment of Bill Cosby has to be weighed—and should be weighed—in the balance with a lot of the stuff I reported in the book more thoroughly than anybody else,” he said. It’s hard to consider Whitaker a reliable reporter considering what he has left out; his standards are not only unrealistic, but also unwise and irresponsible for a biographer who wants to present a complete picture of his subject.

Biographers know that circumstantial evidence is as valid—and perhaps as necessary—for inclusion as direct evidence, as long as the circumstantial evidence accumulates at a certain level. Rarely do rapists assault their victims in front of witnesses. Is Whitaker suggesting that all biographers ignore detailed rape charges issued by women—ones who identify themselves, no less—against iconic, influential, wealthy men because nobody else was in the room?

Many of the alleged violent encounters between Cosby and various women occurred more than a decade before publication of Whitaker’s biography. In 2005, Andrea Constand filed a lawsuit in a Philadelphia court; on the heels of her charges, twelve other women came forward, ready to testify on behalf of the plaintiff that they had been sexually assaulted by Cosby. The then-prosecutor decided there was not sufficient evidence to criminally charge Cosby—”I remember thinking that he probably did do something inappropriate,” the lawyer recently said, “But thinking that and being able to prove it are two different things”—but Cosby settled a civil suit with Constand.

In 2006, journalist Robert Huber published a painstakingly detailed article, “Dr. Huxtable and Mr. Hyde,” in Philadelphia magazine about the litigation. Other journalists have reported responsibly about the allegations. If Whitaker had at minimum simply mentioned the findings of those journalists in his book, he might have escaped the criticism now aimed at him.

Yes, many potential and actual readers of Whitaker’s biography idolize Cosby. And yes, some of them—a tiny minority, I believe—prefer sanitized biography. Hagiography, if you will. No drunken bouts, no snorting cocaine, and certainly nothing involving sexual acts—especially rape.

But responsible biographers never set out to produce hagiography or pathography. They set out to find truth. That may sound inflated; after all, many of us do not really know our parents, our spouses, our children, our cousins, our social friends. If those folks surprise us, for better or for worse, can we ever know a stranger? Armand Hammer was elderly but alive while I researched his biography during the 1980s. He expressed hostility from the start, threatened to sue me, and did indeed sue me and the publisher. I never met him. So how can I presume to know the truth about his controversial life?

The answer is not so complicated. Pieces of the truth are scattered around the world—in official government documents at the city, county, state and federal levels; in business correspondence; in personal letters; in interviews with relatives and friends and enemies, current and former. I knew Hammer’s son Julian had personal problems, but I was not planning to provide lots of detail to readers. Then my research turned up evidence that Julian had killed a man in college. At trial, he won an acquittal, possibly because of influence exercised by his father in relation to the prosecutor and one or more of the jurors. I included the death in my book. First, all individuals, including Armand Hammer, who choose to become parents should be evaluated in that role. Second, the possibility of tampering with the criminal justice system certainly allows for a more nuanced understanding of the alleged tamperer’s character.

I liken the information-gathering process to vacuuming a house—everything finds its way into the vacuum bag. When the bag is filled, the biographer examines the contents, deciding what to place in the book and what to omit. The decision-making might seem filled with conundrums, but it should be clear-cut if the overriding purpose is to illuminate an individual’s character on the path to truth. That overriding purpose should be the same whether the subject is cooperating with the biographer, as Cosby did with Whitaker, or whether the subject is hostile, as Hammer was with me. And access should not equal acquiescence.

At minimum, Whitaker should have decided that the multiple allegations of sexual assault affected Cosby’s own life so deeply that they needed to be included in the book. Based on his evaluation of the evidence, Whitaker could have told readers that he doubted the allegations. Or he could have told readers that the allegations existed—an objective fact. Whatever Whitaker concluded about the evidence, he needed to tell readers how Cosby reacted, and why he might have reacted as he did. Instead, Whitaker participated in a biographical cover-up—a classic lie of omission. That is never an acceptable decision for the chronicler of somebody else’s life.

 

Steve Weinberg, Professor Emeritus at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, has published biographies of Armand Hammer and Ida Tarbell, plus written a book about the craft of biography, Telling the Untold Story. He is a founding member of Biographers International Organization (BIO). Weinberg is currently researching a biography of Garry Trudeau.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Opinion

Ask an Ethicist: Can I Still Watch The Cosby Show?

Bill Cosby, Camille Cosby
Bill Cosby sits for an interview about the exhibit, Conversations: African and African-American Artworks in Dialogue, at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art in Washington on Nov. 6, 2014. Evan Vucci—AP

I can get over the fact that Martin Luther King, Jr. cheated on his wife, but I don’t care that the Nazis made the trains run on time. Making that call is a moral calculus: when do the negative aspects of a public figure outweigh the positive? Granted, in Bill Cosby’s case, we’re talking about a comedian, but the question is relevant for The Cosby Show‘s legacy. Should I think less of The Cosby Show‘s power to teach and to change perceptions of race in America if it turns out Bill Cosby is a rapist?

Like most people, when I first heard word of allegations that Bill Cosby had raped multiple women, I impulsively pushed them to the back of my mind. For me, The Cosby Show’s legacy is personal. As a kid, the young Huxtables were among the few children on television with faces that looked like mine living well-adjusted upper middle class existences that resembled my own. When I considered my Cosby experience alongside the actor’s on-screen persona, a doctor and family man who combined life lessons with old-fashioned humor, I intuitively knew that he couldn’t be a serial rapist.

But eventually emotion gave way to reason. Seven women with little to gain have reported that Cosby committed the same heinous crime, rape, in the same way. So if someone like me, a life long fan, believes these women, where does that leave The Cosby Show? Are all of Cosby’s indelible life lessons suddenly moot? Does secretly watching an episode when no one is around condone sex crimes?

To help me think through these questions, I turned to ethicists and academics.

First, there’s the question of morality versus art. To condemn his actions, do I also have to repudiate the man and his work? I took this up with Jeremy David Fix, a fellow at Harvard’s Safra Center for Ethics who studies moral philosophy: Would continuing to watch The Cosby Show harm anyone, even indirectly?

(MORE: So What Do We Do About The Cosby Show?)

On the one hand, watching the show helps in some small way line Bill Cosby’s pockets via residuals. On the other hand, with an estimated net worth of over $350 million at the age 77, he can already rest assured that he’ll live the rest of his life comfortably. But Harvard’s Fix asks a good question: What about the women who have been assaulted—what sort of message does it send if I keep supporting Cosby, even indirectly? I had to give up watching, I started to conclude. Otherwise, I might inadvertently send the signal that I think sexual assault is something that can be treated flippantly.

But how do I weigh the message that watching the show might send victims against the still-needed message that it sends to America at-large about race? I had finally stumped Fix. So I turned to historians and other thinkers to talk about the show’s legacy and whether i still has a positive role to play in discussions about race.

Joe Feagin, a sociologist who has written about The Cosby Show, talks eloquently about the indelible impression the show left on the country. Black Americans tend to celebrate the achievement of a top-rated show featuring a black cast in a positive light. They will probably keep doing that even if they condemn its creator. White Americans tend to celebrate the show as evidence that African-Americans can succeed in middle class life, Feagin said. While that view leaves society’s entrenched racism unaddressed, I’d still take Cosby over the Sanford and Son. Let’s face it, American residential communities are still largely racially homogenous, and it would certainly benefit future generations to see black families like the Huxtables.

So I tried to convince myself that somehow we could condemn Cosby’s rape message while continuing to watch the show. That is, I hoped we could separate Cliff Huxtable from Bill Cosby. But in the end, I don’t think we can any more. The two are so closely linked that as I tried to watch an episode of The Cosby Show this week, the image of Cliff kept reminding me of the actor’s pathetic silence in response to questions about the accusations him. If that distracted me, I can only imagine how an assault survivor would feel. The show has positively affected millions of Americans, and that legacy remains intact, but maybe it’s time for a new show to teach us about race. It’s a little overdue anyway.

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