Recently, you might have noticed the “5 perfect movies” challenge going around on social media. The idea being that one would list not their five favorite films necessarily, but five movies that are objectively flawless. And a lot of people—myself included—chose to list Back to the Future. But social media being what it is, a smattering of folks chimed in saying BTTF actually couldn’t be perfect, because of what they perceive is a giant “plot hole.” The plot hole in question is why Marty McFly’s parents don’t recognize their son as the guy who set them up in high school?
Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn listed BTTF as a perfect film regardless of the so-called plot hole, saying on Twitter “I would still argue it’s a perfect film because there are reasons why this could conceivably be the case (time protects itself from unraveling, etc). Or maybe I’m in denial. Who knows.” But then his buddy Chris Pratt chimed in with the following:
Maybe they do remember him tho, not as Marty, as Calvin. When Marty returns to present day 1985, it could have been years since his parents would have perhaps originally noted the uncanny resemblance between their son and that kid from high school 20 years previous. #perfectmovie https://t.co/5S2q2rEtUU— chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) April 22, 2020
Honestly, that was always my personal explanation, and I never thought twice about it. And it turns out, Pratt was 100 percent correct. Back to the Future screenwriter Bob Gale decided to explain away this whole plot-hole thing. He told The Hollywood Reporter, “Bear in mind that George and Lorraine only knew Marty/Calvin for eight days when they were 17, and they did not even see him every one of those eight days. So, many years later, they still might remember that interesting kid who got them together on their first date.”
Gale continued to explain, saying, “I would ask anyone to think back on their own high school days and ask themselves how well they remember a kid who might have been at their school for even a semester. Or someone you went out with just one time. If you had no photo reference, after 25 years, you’d probably have just a hazy recollection.”
I would go as far as to say Gale is explaining something that really needs no explanation. I have friends I hung out with every day at lunch period in high school, but decades later have a hard time picturing them clearly in my head. And I am sure everyone reading this could say the same. That’s just how memory works in real life. So let’s just hope this settles this argument once and for all. That way we can all just go back to agreeing that Back to the Future is a perfect film and resume arguing over which is better, Back to the Future II or Back to the Future III. And it’s part II by the way.
Featured Image: Universal Pictures