Great Scott! It’s the future! Where’s the hoverboard store? No hoverboards? Ok, well where do I get my flying car at? No?!? Tell me Back to the Future at least got the Cubs winning the World Series, right? The Mets what now? THIS FUTURE BLOWS! Back to 1985!
Yesterday was Back to the Future Day, the day that our heroes Doc Brown and Marty McFly travel to from 1985 to save Marty’s kids. It’s also the day we were promised lots of fancy futuristic stuff and we didn’t deliver. But, what we did get is really cool. And I’m not talking about the futuristic things that Back to the Future got right; but three great movies telling a wonderful over arching story.
I was only a year old when the first Back to the Future came out, and even by the time the third one came out, I was only six– just a tad to little to go to the movies (or at least remember going to the movies). I have no memory of finding this movie… I think it started with Teen Wolf. The memory I’m either remembering, or creating in my head, is that I watched Teen Wolf as a kid and liked it a lot. So much so, that my uncle, who, at 16 years older than me, was often my conduit to 70s/80s pop culture, suggested I watch the superior Back to the Future films. And I did. Often.
I had VHS (Google it kids) copies of the trilogy and in one summer wore them out. I loved those movies. If Summer day 1 started off with Back to the Future, day 2 continued with BTTF2, and day 3 was BTTF3. Day 4 would start the cycle all over again. The fact that I don’t have those movies memorized probably has something to do with wrestling, but the point is, as a kid, they were my favorite movies of all time. The generation before me had Star Wars, the generation after me has the MCU; but my generation, or at the very least I have the Back to the Future trilogy as my trilogy.
The movies inspired a generation of wannabe scientists and time travelers. I’m smart, but I’ve never been science smart– so I never went into an adult life studying. That time traveler inspiration though? That can be linked to creative inspiration; having wild fantasies about very cool, fun things, and doing your best to make them come true. Whether it be the flux capacitor or a story about a guy who gets amnesia, calls himself “Steel Tip”, and jumps over a very tall wolf; Back to the Future inspired me to dream. And dream big.
The movie, the first one in particular, are near perfect. I will never want to see these movies remade, because there is no need to remake them. That’s the great thing about time travel, it makes stories kind of timeless. Even as an adult, I’ve gone back and rewatched all three parts to Back to the Future, and they are incredibly enjoyable and remind me to keep on dreaming big. I may not discover the secrets to time travel, but I may be able to create an awesome story about it.
I will always remember what these movies made me feel like when I was a kid, but the better experience I get now, as an adult, is seeing how my kids (at this moment, just my almost four year old son) react to watching the movie. And right now, I get silly questions about “what did Doc say?” or “Who’s McFly?” But, we watch them on a semi-regular basis. I made sure we watched as much of Part 2 as we could last night. And I can’t wait to see my son, and eventually my daughter, watch the movie and it hit them. Whether it’s they want to grow up and be a scientist, a time traveler, a musician, or whatever… I can’t wait to see the look of inspiration. The realization that they can dream and have ideas and try and make them all come true.
That’s what Back to the Future is to me. I don’t need a hoverboard or Pepsi Perfect to live in a future predicted 26 years ago. I just need those films to keep inspiring.
Kev is the host of the podcast, Everything is Awesome and is the co-host of The Zombcast. He is the former host of the podcasts Happy Hour with Steel Tip, Creepcast, Happy Hour, 30 Minute Outsider, The Muff Squad, That's Entertainment, 215th Entertainment Presents: Sounds of Philly, Academic Nerds, and OuaT: The Unofficial Once Upon a Time Podcast.
Kev also writes for Dark Knight News and is working on a science fiction series.
Most of all, Kev is a dad to two wonderful children.