10 really weird facts about Back to the Future
Back to the Future is many people’s favorite movie of all time. It is one of those high concept movies where nearly everything works. Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd have an amazing onscreen chemistry. Lea Thompson brings a wonderful twist on the love interest role. Crispin Glover plays the bumbling, shy fool to perfection. And of course, Thomas F Wilson’s Biff Tannen is one of history’s greatest cinematic villains. Technical Merits? One could gush on for hours about Robert Zemeckis’s direction, Alan Silvestri’s score, the effects, and that glorious DeLorean time machine.
But lovers of the franchise are blinded to some of the weird issues this film has. Some of them are annoying, Others are creepy. Some are flat-out disturbing. This isn’t about mistakes like continuity errors or visible film equipment. This is about the plot holes, incredulities, and just off-color facts that fans choose to forget, ignore, or gloss over. It can be painful to read about bad parts of your favorite movie, but here are 10 really weird facts about Back to the Future.
Doc & Clara’s Age Difference
This is a little absurd. How old do you think Doc is in Back the the Future Part III? Well, Christopher Lloyd was 47 in 1985, so being ultraconservative, Doc could be around 40 when Marty tracks him down in 1955. That would make his 1985 self 70. That would make him 71 when he meets Clara in 1885. Mary Steenburgen was 37 when she filmed the third film. That makes their May-December romance gap at almost 35 years. That’s a bit crazy and unbelievable. Yes, Doc reveals he went to a rejuvenation clinic in the future, but he is still at LEAST a 70-year-old man.
A Racist Hill Valley
A colored Mayor, that’ll be the day! It is a seemingly innocent criticism of Lou’s employee, but it authentically illustrates the harsh, underlying racism of the 1950s. Hill Valley isn’t the idyllic Everytown, USA we would all like to believe in. It is a pre-Civil Rights Movement era where Biff’s sidekick can spout Beat it spook, this don’t concern you! And not miss a beat. These scens may be authentic, but it comes across as a bit harsh in the fun, fantasy, family movie.
Rape is an essential plot point
If you fell in love with the Back to the Future as a kid, this may have gone right over your head. The central conceit of Marty and George’s plan to win over Lorraine involves sexual assault. Think about it. It’s actually very disturbing. Marty planning to assault his mother so George can save her is a really dark plot point What they didn’t plan on was Biff encroaching in on their plan, further assaulting Lorraine. There are actual fan theories attributing Lorraine’s alcoholism in 1985 to the possibility that Biff in fact assaulted her in 1955 and it ruined her life. Also, at the end, when Marty and George’s plan worked out for the best, why on Earth would George hire the guy who attempted to rape Lorraine to wax his car?
Four Simultaneous DeLoreans
Hill Valley doesn’t seem like an enormous metropolis, so it is hard to believe that no one else came across one of the 4 time machines simultaneously existing on November 12, 1955. Think about it. The DeLorean from Marty’s journey in the original film is #1. When old Biff from 2015 steals the time machine to go back and give himself the Sports Almanac in 1955, that’s #2. When Marty finds out when alternate-1985 Biff got the almanac, he and Doc go back to 1955, thats #3. Then there is the one buried in the Delgado mine that Doc buried in 1885. That is a lot of futuristic, flying time machines to go unnoticed.
Time-Traveling Old Biff
In 2015, Old Biff overhears Doc & Marty’s morality argument about using the Sports Almanac. He decides to steal the time machine while Doc and Marty are otherwise distracted in Hilldale. I can buy the fact that Biff MAY have figured out the time-circuits panel. But how on EARTH did he not only know that he has to get up to 88mph, but how did he know how to refill Mr. Fusion? That really doesn’t make any sense.
Lorraine’s Father: Serial Child Maimer
Does is bother anyone else that Lorraine’s father seems less than surprised when he crashes into Marty? Well, Marty saves him from being hit, only to be hit himself, and thus preventing his parents’ first meeting. Then Lorraine’s dad yells, Another one of these damn kids jumped in front of my car! Is he always hitting kids in the street.Is this a subtle joke about Lorraine’s hotness and George is not the only peeping tom that has fallen into his path? There needs to be a bit of explanation here about why Sam seems to be constantly hitting children with his car. This should be a devastating situation, not the casual nuisance that Lorraine’s father considers it.
Jaws the Revenge is the fourth Jaws movie and it was released in 1987, so the Back to the Future Part II filmmakers knew about it. That means, in order for Jaws 19 to exist in 2015, one movie would have to be released every 18 months or so. Does that seem realistic? Even if, somehow, Universal Studios concentrated so much effort on so many killer shark movies, I doubt the Spielbergs would have returned to the franchise (Max Spielberg is the director is Jaws 19).
The Skinny Grays Sports Almanac
If you look up Sports Illustrated’s 2017 Sports Almanac, it is about 500 pages. The 1992 edition is about 600 pages. These editions contain only one year’s worth of sports statistics. Gray’s Sports Almanac is supposed to cover FIFTY years. At approximately 500 pages a year, this literary mcguffin should be around 25,000 pages long. For reference, you would need about 25 King James Bibles to reach that many pages. With that kind of bulk, it would have been kind of hard to hide Oh La La in the dust jacket.
The Honeymooners Snafu
This is a severe nitpick, but in a movie about time travel, getting dates correct seems imperitive. There is a fun scene at the Baines’ dinner table where they are watching The Honeymooners. Marty mentions he had seen the episode in a rerun, perplexing the family. Well, according to IMDB, That episode, The Man From Space (S1 Ep14) didn’t air until New Years Eve in 1955, not on November 5th. It would have been so easy for the filmmakers to use The Sleepwaker (S1 Ep6) which aired on that night.
The Lost Tannen
Thomas F Wilson is definitely the supporting actor MVP of the Back to the Future franchise. He portrays Biff, his alternate versions, and his kin, with such distinguishing perfection. Although, there is one Tannen missing, and it is never discussed. In 2015, Marty runs into Old Biff in the Cafe ‘80s. Soon thereafter, he meets Biff’s grandson, Griff. But wait? Where is the mid-40s Tannen that is Biff’s son and Griff’s father? If both Biff and Griff are still invested in the McFly family, why wouldn’t the Tannen who must be part of Marty’s generation around? That is a huge plot hole. It would have taken a single line of dialogue to explain. Is he dead? Is he in jail? He has to exist in some form at some point.