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A spy reports on the Q & A following last night's Back to the Future screening at the ArcLight, which featured a no-show by the series' director that was nearly redeemed by the appearance of Marty McFly's girlfriend from the first installment..until the actress bummed out the crowd with that most reliable of buzzkillers, the cancer anecdote:

Attended the "Master Storytellers" BACK TO THE FUTURE 20th anniversary screening and Q&A at the Arclight last night. Advertised Zemeckis was a no-show (one of my companions figuring he got hung up in prep for POLAR EXPRESS 2), but Bob Gale was there, Christopher Lloyd (looking younger than he does in the movie - 20 years ago!), "Biff" (the only one who was engaging and funny during the Q&A), Lea Thompson (skinny, with glasses), the editor (really, who invited this guy? Who cares? You cut the film. Whoopdeedo!) and...the "original Jennifer."

Yes, the girl who plays Michael J. Fox's 1985 girlfriend who probably worked on BTTF an entire 2 weeks. She now looks like a soccer mom with a mullet, but it turns out that she owns some sort of men's resale store in Sherman Oaks. My boyfriend is obsessed with going there to shop. So the moronic moderator asked each participant, how did BTTF change your careers? The run of the mill answers ("Caroline and the City", blah, blah). Finally, they get to "Jennifer." She says, well, the movie kinda didn't change her life because before they started filming the sequel her mom was diagnosed with cancer and she had to drop out. She then went on about how she ended up taking a "break" from acting (i.e., never worked again). It was horribly uncomfortable. It was so silent in the theater that you could hear a pin drop. Thank God "Biff" took over and did Crispin Glover impersonations to break the tension. We quietly slipped out and ran to the ArcLight bar for a numbing/soothing alcoholic libation. Why don't all movie theaters offer cocktails?

Note to future Q & A participants: When the moderator asks you how your involvement in a blockbuster (no matter how small your memorable role) changed your life, go with the "I get recognized at the Starbucks all the time!" story instead of the one about how your mother died.