Johnny B Goode,
While watching Back to the Future - Part III recently,
something didn't quite make sense to me.
In 1985, Marty is involved in a road-race accident with his
rival Needles that sends his career on a downward spiral (as
was seen in Back to the Future - Part II). However,
Marty picks up information about this from the Doc during
their travels together, so when he returns to 1985 he decides
not to go through with the race.
So why, having decided not to race Needles, does Marty slam
his 4x4 into reverse and spin it around? This could have caused
a much worse accident. Would it not have been better to have
just let Needles drive off looking like a fool?
he has no intention of racing, Marty is still enraged about
being called a chicken and doesn't wish to appear uncool in
front of either Needles or Jennifer. Therefore, he performs
that impressive wheel spin.
I think it's also likely that Marty doesn't realise that this
is the potentially life-changing event he had heard about
from Doc Brown until he actually sees Needles' car narrowly
avoiding a collision with the vehicle that would so easily
have hit his own. The Doc was very cagey indeed about the
details, so it could be that Marty put two and two together
only after the event. In other words, Marty's change of behaviour
is down to what he has learned during his adventures about
not always rising to the bait when someone calls you a coward,
rather than any specific foreknowledge of his own future or
any considerations about road safety.
It also makes for better cinema this way. As Tony from Men
Behaving Badly would put it, "It's exciting!"