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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Back To The Future screenwriter weighs on the film's "plot hole," hopes you'll let it go now

Illustration for article titled Back To The Future screenwriter weighs on the film's "plot hole," hopes you'll let it go now
Screenshot: Back To The Future (YouTube)

People who hate fun love to ask why George and Lorraine McFly don’t see the uncanny resemblance between their son, Marty, and that kid they knew for a week in high school in Back To The Future.


As you most assuredly know, the film follows Michael J. Fox’s Marty after he unwittingly travels from 1985 to 1955, disrupts the circumstances that led to his parents’ courtship, and effectively wipes himself from existence, leading him to have to play matchmaker. The debate over how Marty’s involvement impacts the couple was reignited on Twitter recently after Guardians Of The Galaxy director James Gunn and his pal Chris Pratt touched on it in a discussion about “perfect” movies.

Back To The Future SEEMINGLY could be imperfect (why don’t Mom and Dad remember Marty?),” Gunn wrote,but 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.”

Pratt replied, “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.”

Well, The Hollywood Reporter reached out to screenwriter Bob Gale for an official response to a question he’s probably asked every time he gets on an elevator.

“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,” he said. “So, many years later, they still might remember that interesting kid who got them together on their first date.”


Even when you were really horny for them? Yes, even if you were really horny for them.

“But 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,” he continued. “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.”


What they’d remember more than his appearance, Gale noted, is that the guy went on to become famed fashion designer Calvin Klein. “So Lorraine and George might think it funny that they once actually met someone named Calvin Klein, and even if they thought their son at age 16 or 17 had some resemblance to him, it wouldn’t be a big deal. I’d bet most of us could look thru our high school yearbooks and find photos of our teen-aged classmates that bear some resemblance to our children.”

Since Gunn reignited all of this, why not bug him about that Guardians Of The Galaxy Easter egg nobody’s found yet?


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Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.