The Back To The Future trilogy is an iconic part of 80’s science fiction. An unlikely story about a teenager and his disgraced scientist best friend traveling through time to stop his family from self-destructing, it has nonetheless remained cemented in the popular consciousness. However, not everything about the movies has stayed timeless.
Back To The Future has delved into both future and past, so it’s double-dipping in details that aged poorly. Whether it’s incorrect predictions about 2015 or some uncomfortable truths about the 1950s, here are ten things that might give modern audiences pause.
10 Flying Machines
In the distant future of 2015, flying cars dominate rush hour. However, you may have noticed that in the real world we’re still stuck on the ground. The flying cars in the series are the result of a process called “hover conversion.” The same technology that makes Marty’s borrowed hoverboard float can apparently be attached to cars for the low price of $39,999.95. That’s why you can see some older-looking models zooming around, too.
While some prototypes for flying cars have been developed, we’re at least a decade away from this vision of the future. Still, maybe that’s a good thing. Can you imagine a three-dimensional traffic jam?
9 Future Fashion
There are a lot of strange fashion choices happening in Back To The Future II‘s version of 2015. Just take one look at Griff Tannen’s gang. They’re sporting everything from circuitry face tattoos and soundboard body armor to bulls-eye padded bra cups and chokers made out of bullets. And what is with the solid metal meat tenderizer Griff is wearing as a helmet? Millennial fashion statements never got this weird.
On the other hand, the clothes Marty picks up aren’t quite as bad. Demand for sneakers with powered laces became so high that Nike released a replica pair in 2011. And we could really use some clothes that automatically adjust themselves to fit perfectly every time.
8 Jaws 19
Jaws 19, directed by Max Spielberg, is playing at the local Holoplex in 2015, but never screened in our reality. In fact, the last Jaws movie released before Back To The Future II hit theaters itself. But while the specifics might have been off, they did accurately predicted Hollywood’s obsession with sequels, reboots, and remakes. What they didn’t correctly envision was how impressive CGI was going to be. That bug-eyed cartoon shark might have startled Marty, but moviegoers today don’t bat an eye at the hyper-realistic CGI of The Lion King or Detective Pikachu.
7 Marty’s New Sound
After successfully hooking up his parents, Marty plays the guitar at their high school dance. He plays Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” to an astonished crowd who had never heard rock and roll music before. This gives us the iconic line “I guess you guys aren’t ready for that yet. But your kids are gonna love it.” Overall, a charming and triumphant moment to celebrate not being erased from existence.
That is, if it didn’t result in Marty McFly taking credit for the emergence of modern rock and roll. Chuck Berry’s fictional cousin Marvin Berry happens to be present at the dance and phones him to show off the “new sound” he’s been looking for. In reality, rock and roll was heavily influenced by predominantly African-American music styles, like jazz and R&B. The implication that Marty, a white boy, taught one of the pioneers of rock music how to rock and roll is a little uncomfortable.
6 Handheld Sleep Inducer
In Back To The Future II, Marty’s girlfriend Jennifer comes along for the ride to 2015. Unfortunately, she doesn’t take to time travel as well as Marty. In order to stop her freaking out, Doc pulls out what he calls a “sleep-inducing alpha rhythm generator.” When he shines it into Jennifer’s eyes, she immediately falls asleep. Doc says that she’ll think it was all just a bad dream when she wakes up.
Even though Doc’s heart was in the right place, the existence of the machine is a little unsettling. Are there any restrictions on who can own one of these? For all we know, the streets are full of people with instant-roofie-generators in their pockets. Luckily such a thing wasn’t invented in our reality.
5 Peeping George
The entire plot of the first movie is to ensure Marty’s parents, George and Lorraine, get together. Otherwise, Marty and his siblings will disappear from existence. This is complicated by George McFly being a shy, nerdy kid overshadowed and bullied by guys like Biff. It’s a classic underdog story. Or it might be, if Marty didn’t stumble across George watching Lorraine undress from outside her window. This turns him from lovable geek to creepy weirdo in one stroke. And we still have to root for him for Marty’s sake.
4 Getting The McFlys Together
Marty’s big plan to get his parents together involves taking his own mother to the dance. He told George that he was going to “take advantage” of Lorraine in order to inspire George to come to her rescue.
If that wasn’t creepy enough, things don’t go according to plan. Marty ends up locked in a trunk while Biff actually tries to take advantage of Lorraine. George McFly, our heroic Peeping Tom, does show up and lay Biff out, but it’d be nice if she had an option that wasn’t a creep.
3 Print Isn’t Dead
At the beginning of the sequel, Doc Brown tries to enlist Marty’s help to come with him to the future. Doc’s trying to save Marty’s future family, but Marty still need some convincing. This prompts Doc to whip out a future version of the USA Today and show him a headline of Marty Jr. being arrested for robbery.
Newspapers have always been a Hollywood staple of clarifying what year you’re in, but in reality almost nobody still gets their news from print newspapers. Marty probably would have been even more surprised if Doc had whipped out a tablet.
2 Fax Machines Everywhere
The prevalence of fax machines in this fictional 2015 is hysterical. There are fax machines attached to mailboxes on the street. There’s a wall-mounted fax machine in every room of the McFly’s house, including the bathroom. Marty receives his ominous YOU’RE FIRED!!! fax from every machine at once, just so he knows how serious his boss is. Most people don’t even have one fax machine now, let alone one for each room.
1 Mother-Son Bonding
One of the weirdest parts of the original Back To The Future was the tense relationship Marty has with the teenage version of his mother. After being hit by a car and waking up in her bed, it’s clear Lorraine has it bad for “Calvin Marty Klein.” When Marty comes up with a cover story about his parents being out of town, Lorraine suggests he could stay in her room and even starts getting handsy under the dinner table.
Marty’s plan to “take advantage” of her to lure out George falls through initially because Lorraine is all too willing. She swiped some alcohol from her parents liquor cabinet to share with Marty and smokes in front of him, much to his shock. When he expresses confusion over what to do, she kisses him. Thankfully, at this point she seems to realize something is off and it goes no further, but Marty forever has to live with the knowledge that he made out with his mom.
NEXT: Will There Ever Be A Back To The Future 4?