It's going to be bloody, vicious, and slightly ridiculous! Welcome to The Versusdome, where two men enter...three men and a baby leave!!
This week’s match-up is Phone Booth versus The Delorean.
Robbie - If you’re gonna possess a device that can travel through time, it’s probably a good idea to have something that A) can go forwards AND backwards (lookin’ at you The Time Machine), B) makes any kind of legitimate sense (fuck you, mailbox from The Lake House), and C) has a way to be moved so you don’t have to hope and pray that you happen to wind up exactly where you need to be without walking a few miles. While I will never deny that the essence of the Bill and Ted movies is pure and quite possibly the most innocent and joyous of all time travel movies, the idea that a phone booth is the linchpin upon which the future of the universe balances is ludicrous. It’s a stationary object deemed only good enough as a closet by Clark Kent, and hasn’t had a place in pop culture since blink-182’s What’s My Age Again? It’s impractical, depends entirely on a blind landing, and is not as cinematically epic as the wondrous Delorean.
Stephen – When you need to travel through time, and let’s face it that technology is coming soon, the point is to not rip a hole in the time space continuum. While you would stick out like a Trump supporter at Joshua Tree (yeah, I’m topical bitches) if you showed up in the 1700’s with a phone booth, you could still get away with it for pure camouflaging purposes. Maybe you don’t need to see anything in the 1700’s though. Maybe you only need to venture back to the early 1900’s to encourage a young Adolf Hitler to take up smoking weed and becoming a slightly grumpy version of Bob Ross, instead of….you know….a mass murder. The first phone booth was installed in 1903, and while the phone booth aesthetics are probably not quite the same, it would be slightly more low key that a car that runs on garbage and leaves streaks of fire behind it. A phone booth blends in. A phone booth recalls a simpler time. A phone booth doesn’t require a shady craigslist deal with a Libyan plutonium smuggler. A phone booth is your friend.
Robbie - Any time machine that requires the user to wind their own watch in order to make it to the proper destination is no real time machine. The only requirements are to put in your desired date, flip whatever switch, drive, and you're there. The Delorean does not require a blind landing for one reason: it's mobile. If you do your research, or take off from a well known historic landmark or a place that's been in use for about 30 years (that main street in parts 1 & 2), then you'll know exactly where you'll land. The primary difference between the two is the Delorean takes you to the exact same place at a completely different time. It's easier to maneuver on the landing. The phone booth just drops you in the middle of a particular foreign land and leaves you to fend for yourself. I am SICK & TIRED of the whole Libyan argument. Doc was hired by the Libyan's to build a bomb, most likely against his will, and instead uses the stolen goods to make something better than a bomb. But the Libyans aren't the issue here. The issue is the vessel. Clearly the phone booth is easy to break. What happens when you find yourself in the stone age without cans of pudding and bubblegum? "Oh, well just make sure you plan for anything." Okay, well how about you fucking plan the whole gas thing by going to the 60s and filling up for $.32 a gallon or some shit? Aside from the instance of the fuel line being busted in part 3, the Delorean seems to be a little lower in maintenance. As long as you find a way to get it up to 88mph, which you can obviously accomplish with a train, you're set. In short, the phone booth is stagnate and requires more on the user's part than a majestic car that fucking rocks. Just because the business owner was a coke head doesn't mean that car doesn't kick major ass.
Stephen – Sure the phone booth requires a blind landing but so does the Delorean, and in case you forgot, you are coming in on fire at 88mph. A soft landing at a single spot seems like the much better option because police aren’t responding to high speed phone booth wrecks all day. It’s cars! Cars are dangerous! Sure your Delorean would make for a fast getaway from a dinosaur, but that’s if it runs. Because when the Doc Brown magic wears off (spotty at best since that is literally the plot of 3 movies), the gasoline powered death trap that is the Delorean car company went out of business. It’s a terrible car by any metric and is that what you want from your time travel device? Oh and I’m not done with camouflage! Let me take you back to another time called the 1980’s. A time when people invented a new way of doing cocaine called crack and they blended in by dressing in head to toe neon. The Delorean was considered flashy and futuristic for the 80’s!! What is that going to look like in literally any other time period? Drop in to 1860 with a Delorean and watch as angry cowboys blast you in the face with six shooters because your car is the devil and your Village People jokes used to defuse the situation don’t help because they have never heard of them and don’t have a sense of humor due to a polio flare up. You’ll be begging for “Superman’s closet” then.
Robbie - Your honor. Esteemed members of the jury. My opposition would have you believe that simply because a phone booth can blend in with its surroundings better than a car, it's a superior utensil used in the name of time travel. He's convinced that a phone booth can be used to discourage Hitler's rise to power. The obvious answer is to run that son of a bitch over with going 88 miles per hour. Kill the fucker. Don't get him stoned. Use your four wheeled time bender to utterly destroy that Nazi bastard. Now, you know as well as I do that a time traveling phone booth has been used in another esteemed show. This is common knowledge. I would wager that, since we've reached our closing arguments without it being brought up, he's going to be slapping you over the head with it at any moment. But this is nothing more that a diversion tactic. Grasping at straws. He knows his argument is weak as shit, so he's attempting one more reference in order to assuage your conscience when it comes time to make your final decision. I will never distract you. I don't need to give you another example of an awesome time machine, simply because the Delorean, with all its faults intact, is the clear winner. It's mobile. It offers the user more control. It doesn't drop you off in the middle of nowhere. And if it craps out, you just need to find a way to get it up to speed, which we've already discussed is more than possible. Oh no...did I suggest the Delorean has faults? I absolutely did. That's because nothing's ever perfect, ladies and gentlemen. If they were, we wouldn't need a time machine. But since we have them...why not do it in style?
Stephen - Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I refuse to be put into a box. I realize how absurd this sounds while defending a phone booth. It’s small. It’s confined. Bill and Ted have a hard time fitting. But let’s step away from Bill and Ted for just a moment and focus on aliens. That’s right, aliens. If pop culture has taught us anything it’s that aliens are either going to destroy us or they are insanely smarter and superior to us in every way. So what would they use for a time traveling space ship? A Delorean? No. That answer is a TARDIS. Out of all the vast knowledge that this alien race had, they used a phone booth as their primary means of time travel. Do we need more history that 37 seasons of this cult hit to know that there is no better means of time travel? The Doctor uses it. Bill and Ted use it. Collin Ferrell used it to make a 2 hour movie seem like it lasted 2 weeks. How much more blatant evidence do we need here? The TARDIS is specifically made to blend in with its surroundings. The TARDIS has infinite room on the inside so you aren’t confined to hiding in a car that is already going to be noticeable. The most sophisticated beings in the galaxy used a phone booth, so why are we wasting our time on a car invented by a psychopath “doctor” who may or may not have an inappropriate relationship with a teenage boy and a sketchy history with known terrorists. The phone booth is perfect for Bill. The phone booth is perfect for Ted. The phone booth is perfect for The Doctor. The phone booth is perfect for us all!
Please rise, the honorable Judge Judy is presiding. Judge are you prepared to make your ruling?
After careful consideration the fact is that it comes down to one single argument. A car is mobile and a phone booth is not. Also, this is America if you haven’t figured that out and nobody watches Dr. Who. The Delorean wins, case closed, now get the fuck out of my house before I call the cops.
Winner: Robbie Clark
Stephen Balding is the founder of Cinema Soapbox. You can contact him at Stephen@Cinemasoapbox.net
Robbie Clark is a writer and contributor for Cinema Soapbox