Back to the Future screenwriter Bob Gale has waded into a fresh round of debate over a ‘plot hole’ in the film’s story, almost 35 years after it was first released.
The argument amongst fans over why Marty McFly’s parents don’t recognize him when he returns to 1985 began anew this week when Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn singled the film out in a discussion about ‘perfect movies’ on Twitter, saying “a perfect film can be different from a favorite film, or a great film. A perfect film is something that sings from start to finish with no obvious mistakes, whether they be aesthetic or structural. There are no logical lapses,” before noting that “Back to the Future SEEMINGLY could be imperfect (why don’t Mom and Dad remember Marty?), 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.”
Gunn’s remarks caught the eye of his leading Marvel man, Chris Pratt. “Maybe they do remember him tho, not as Marty, as Calvin,” the actor mused. “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.”
Under pressure, or perhaps because no one has a whole lot to do right about now, Back to the Future writer Bob Gale then felt moved to address whether Lorraine and George’s obliviousness over Marty’s appearance is worthy of being slapped with a ‘plot hole’ sticker.
“Bear in mind that George and Lorraine only knew Marty/Calvin for six days when they were 17, and they did not even see him every one of those six days,” Gale told THR. “So, many years later, they still might remember that interesting kid who got them together on their first date.”
He added, “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. 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.”
Tbh Bob we have a hazy recollection of just last week, so this tracks.
“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,” Gale said. “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.”
You had us until the last moment, Bob. Right up until that last bit. Some resemblance, yes, but not an exact version of them! That would be proper mad. The other stuff, though …ok, fine.