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‘Back to the Future’ or ‘Terminator 2’? It’s time-travel week on the Ultimate Summer Movie Showdown

Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd in the movie "Back to the Future."
(Universal )

Welcome to a time-travel-themed Week 10 of the L.A. Times Ultimate Summer Movie Showdown, our 16-week contest to program the greatest summer movie season ever. Or at least since 1975, the year that “Jaws” forever changed the landscape of moviemaking, gross tallying and beach bumming forever.

To recap the rules: Each week, I present you with a list of 16 movies from 1975 to 2019, all of which were released during a particular summer time frame. You may vote for your favorites on my Twitter account, @JustinCChang; each week’s polls are posted at 5 p.m. PT Tuesday.

Our first nine winners are “The Avengers” (Week 1, May 1-7), “Bridesmaids” (Week 2, May 8-14), “Mad Max: Fury Road” (Week 3, May 15-21), “Alien” (Week 4, May 22-28), “Finding Nemo” (Week 5, May 29-June 4), “Jurassic Park” (Week 6, June 5-11), “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (Week 7, June 12-18), “Jaws” (Week 8, June 19-25) and “Do the Right Thing” (Week 9, June 26-July 2).

At 6 p.m. this Thursday, I will be hosting a live chat on “Do the Right Thing” that will be streamed on the Los Angeles Times Classic Hollywood Facebook Page and YouTube, as well as Twitter.

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I have to preface this Week 10 edition (July 3-9) with a mea culpa: Due to a cut-and-paste error, we forgot to include “Airplane!,” which opened July 2, 1980, in last week’s edition as we should have. There’s no reason for one of the great American comedies to be penalized by our oversight. So, in keeping with the time-travel theme, we’re just turning back the clock slightly and slipping it into this week’s edition instead. And a good thing, too: I think it elevates and energizes what is otherwise a more sluggish, sequel-clogged selection than usual.

Robert Hays and Julie Hagerty in the 1980 movie "Airplane!"
(Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock)

Here are our eight opening match-ups:

“Airplane!” (1980) vs. “Die Hard 2” (1990)
Deadly airport shenanigans, two ways.

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“Back to the Future” (1985) vs. “Forrest Gump” (1994)
Robert Zemeckis vs. Robert Zemeckis.

“About Last Night” (1986) vs. “Midsommar” (2019)
Sexual perversity in Chicago versus sexual perversity in rural Sweden.

“Adventures in Babysitting” (1987) vs. “Weekend at Bernie’s” (1989)
Quintessential ’80s madcap shenanigans.

Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie "Terminator 2: Judgment Day."
(Zade Rosenthal / TriStar)
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“Lethal Weapon 2” (1989) vs. “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)
Two franchise high points, neither one particularly flattering to the Los Angeles Police Department.

“In the Line of Fire” (1993) vs. “Independence Day” (1996)
Two fictional presidents — one targeted for assassination, the other forced to flee an exploding White House.

“American Pie” (1999) vs. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (2017)
Sticky-fingered teenage hijinks, two ways.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” (2003) vs. “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” (2004)
Two long titles with colons. Also, two knockabout comedies featuring virtuoso wild-man turns by Johnny Depp and Will Ferrell, respectively.

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Will Ferrell in the movie "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy."
(Frank Masi / Associated Press)

How to vote: If you have a Twitter account (and if you don’t, you can sign up for one for free), you may vote in the polls that I will post this week. Here’s the schedule:

Tuesday, July 7
5 p.m.: Polls open for knockout round; voting ends at 1 a.m. Wednesday.

Wednesday, July 8
8 a.m.: Polls open for quarterfinals; voting ends at 4 p.m.
5 p.m.: Polls open for semifinals; voting ends at 1 a.m. Thursday.

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Thursday, July 9
8 a.m.: Polls open for final vote.
4 p.m.: Final polls close; winner announced.

Happy voting — and stay tuned for Week 11.


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