For teenage me in 1985, watching Back to the Future, the trip back to 1955 was a trip into ancient history. The ’50s had such a distinct flavor — at least as portrayed in movies and TV — and back then, thirty years ago was forever ago. Anything that happens before your sixth birthday is forever ago.
Now we’ve travelled thirty years into the real future, to the time of Back to the Future II. In turn, the ’80s turned out to have their own florid signature. We might not have a lot of Cafe ’80s around, the way we do ’50s Grills, but you know the 80s. They would stand out in a decade lineup.
It’s hard to get my mind around the passage of time, that these movies of my youth took place as long ago now as the 50s had taken place, then.
Watching II back in 1989, I didn’t think 2015 would look anything like the movie’s depiction, but it was so far away that I could enjoy the escapism and not be overly concerned with accuracy. Obviously, one way or another, things would be way different in this impossibly distant future, even if we didn’t have flying cars.
I mean, thirty years. I’m surprised we even made it this far.
And then it turns out…
2014 feels pretty much like 1985, with the sole exception of the big hair. Look at all this stuff that hasn’t happened:
- The aforementioned flying cars
- Scrolling marquee text on cop visors
- Reliable weather control
- All lawyers gone
- Hydrating pizzas in Black & Decker hydrators
- Totally intense 3D that attacks you on the street
- Unattended flying news cameras
- Thought controlled video games
- Mr. Fusion
- Talking clothing
- Clothing that can make chicken noises
- Fax machines in every room and closet
- Some kind of antigravity belt
- Robot trash cans
- Gas station robots
- Dog walking flying robots
Please don’t point out the way any of these things are coming true today. You might be right, but you’re even more annoying. And clearly, these things aren’t commonplace as they were in the movie, right? So shut up and don’t be a pedantic pissant.
I still love the trilogy. The first movie was and is a masterpiece. The second and third have a number of shortcomings that stand out more all the time, but I still enjoy the characters and the adventure and seeing how it all ties together.
I watched it this time with my 8-year-old daughter, which reinforced the culture shock even more. Can you really grasp the second movie if you weren’t of a certain age in the 80s?