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20 things we love (and 15 things we can't stand) about Back to the Future Part II



The day is finally upon us: October 21, 2015 … the day that Marty McFly goes BACK to the future. (Please disregard the two billion incorrect Facebook memes that previously posted the wrong date.)

The "middle kid" in the Back to the Future trilogy (there will never be a fourth) is as hotly debated as Temple of Doom vs. The Last Crusade, Wrath of Khan vs. Search for Spock and Empire Strikes Back vs. Return of the Jedi. Only there's something distinctively different here: We're standing on the fault time line of the entire trilogy. Even Indy or Luke can't compete with that.

Much will be made today of the "inventions" and other realities that were forecast for the year 2015. (And you can listen to more debate on our Back to the Future Part II podcast.) But let's dissect the movie a little deeper and decide for certain where this movie ranks in its trilogy and maybe among time travel movies in general.

Here are 20 things we love (and 15 things we can't stand) about Back to the Future Part II.


1. Sammy Hagar is the soundtrack for dystopian Hill Valley!

2. Biff's Pleasure Palace, so deliciously corrupt. Smoking Required!

3. "Your clothing is now dry" forget flying cars, when do I get talking clothes?

4. Marty climbing across the lighting grid while Marty plays guitar below.

5. The fact that the "I think he stole his wallet" guy has parlayed that one line into appearances at BTTF fan events.

6. Until he goes back with the almanac, Future Biff is still waxing cars.  Ahh, sweet karma.

7. Marty outsmarting Biff's posse as he eludes them on the stairwells.  How many times do you think that Dystopian Marty pulled that trick?

8. Rehydrated pizza! So delicious! (But why half pepperoni and half green peppers? Are taste buds extinct in the year 2015?)

9. Rejuvenation clinics! Yes, they were only "invented" here so Doc Brown didn't have to keep changing makeup back and forth, but we'd still like the idea of replacing out spleens and colons while they're at it.

10. The Biff Tannen Museum! Dedicated to Hill Valley's No. 1 citizen and America's greatest living folk hero. We would seriously pay money to visit that.

11. "Hey, hey! I'm walkin' here! I'm walkin' here!" Marty Jr.'s homage to 1969's Midnight Cowboy was probably thrown in for our parents, who were forced to take us to the cineplex way too many times during the '80s.

12. All the fun inventions that came true, including video conferences, biometric security, large flat TV screens, video glasses and hands-free gaming.

13. Just like the first Back to the Future was a love letter to the '50s, this sequel is a love letter to the '80s. Well, maybe not a love letter - more a cautionary tale? Still, we appreciate the attention.

14. Newspapers are alive and well in 2015 - at least the 2015 depicted in the movie.

15. It has the film debut of Elijah Wood, who plays one of the boys playing video games at Cafe '80s.

16. The late, great Carl Sagan once called Back to the Future Part II the greatest time travel movie ever made, based on its accuracy in handling multiple time lines.

17. The attention to detail. Consider this: "Mom? Mom, is that you?" is a line spoken by Michael J. Fox in each movie. And the football scores Biff hears on the radio are actual scores from November 12, 1955.

18. You can actually visit Biff's Pleasure Palace. The hotel tower used for Biff's resort is the Plaza Hotel and Casino in downtown Las Vegas.

19. At Cafe '80s, a sign on the Pac-Man arcade game reads: "Priceless artifact, do not touch." They got that right!

20. The trailer for Back to the Future Part III before the final credit rolls. Never been so excited about a sequel in our lives!


1. The casting of Elisabeth Shue (Jennifer) and Jeffrey Weissman (George McFly). Sorry, but those roles belong to Claudia Wells and Crispin Glover.

2. Michael J. Fox playing his son AND daughter. Creepy beyond belief.

3. While we're at it, Michael J. Fox playing himself in the future. What's with the cartoon accent?

4. Product placements by Pepsi and Black and Decker. (I'd happily pay $20.15 for a bottle of Pepsi Perfect, and $2,015 for a combination food rehydrator/fax machine.) Alas, this is a trend that has yet to go away.

5. The menu at Cafe '80s. Mesquite-grilled sushi?

6. The Cubs win the World Series in the film, which seemed SO likely about a week ago when they were destroying the Cardinals and yet today feels nearly impossible as they're on the verge of elimination thanks to the Mets. Oh, how the future can change so suddenly.

7. They still want to fix the clock tower in 2015? We don't even wear watches in 2015.

8. Marty's brother and sister are missing! Why? Turns out actress Wendie Jo Sperber was pregnant at the time of filming and couldn't participate. Thus a scene also involving Marty's brother was deleted for continuity. Biff mentions him once to Lorraine during the alternate 1985 timeline.

9. The Atrocity Channel? So not funny today.

10. Another sequel to Jaws? "Shark still looks fake." That hasn't been needed … since the original movie.

11. Lawyers are abolished in 2015 and that's what fixes the justice system? We hope that means jury duty is abolished too.

12. Why is Marty reading a 70-year-old handwritten letter in the rain? Pretty sure it would have disintegrated on contact with any moisture.

13. Are we supposed to believe that Biff can't hear Marty on the walkie talkie when he's 3 feet away in the back seat of his car?

14. Fax machines? Four fax machines in the McFly household?

15. The whole "chicken" side plot. Just as unfunny in 1989 as it is today.

[Last modified: Wednesday, October 21, 2015 10:16am]


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