EINTKILF Everything I Need to Know, I Learned From the Back to the Future Trilogy Jessica Tholmer

Here is a thing a lot of people that know me know, but a lot of people that know me don’t know. (Wait, what?) I love Michael J. Fox. Like, a lot. Like, a lot a lot. When I first moved high schools my freshman year, I was fourteen and totally depressed and the only thing I wanted to do beside talk to my younger brother and read Harry Potter was watch Spin City. I discovered the show when we moved because we got cable for the first time in ever (we only had FOX before, so I watched syndication reruns and The Simpsons) and I immediately fell more in love with MJF than I ever had before. I was thinking, this man is so much more than Marty McFly! He’s political and hilarious and so, so, so, like seriously so, adorable!

And you know what happened for my birthday this year? It was announced that Michael J. Fox was returning to television. It was, without exaggeration, the greatest thing that had happened to me since Uncrustables. And then I felt inspired, and even though I just said Fox is more than Marty, it is undeniable that he is one of the greatest cinematic characters in history. That being said.

EINTKILF Back to the Future

1. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
I am not necessarily saying that DeLoreans are trash, I am just saying if you were inventing time travel, you may not think to use a beat up old car to do it in. Or actually, maybe you would if you were Doc Brown, but this is obviously why I have not invented time travel. Yet.

2. Men without game can still have game.
And moms can be uh-uh–thin. And actors can become presidents. Don’t sell yourself short, always stand up for yourself, like the bus boy turned mayor tries to tell George McFly, the sweet, innocent, seemingly spineless young man who would one day be Marty McFly’s father. Sometimes, boys with no confidence still win the girl. DID YOU HEAR THAT, BOYS WITH NO CONFIDENCE? IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO GET WITH ME. (I scare boys because I’m good looking and I write in all-caps.) Good ol’ George had no idea what a bombshell he would one day marry. He also had no idea that his future son was coaching him on how to hook up with his mother. “Jesus George, it’s a wonder I was even born.” Lorraine says she thinks a man should be strong and stand up for himself to protect the woman he loves. I will admit I agree with Lorraine full on because I love when a man defends my honor, but I also think people should be strong and stand up for themselves for themselves. Sorry, my feminist is showing.

3. Anybody who’s anybody drinks.
I mean, if your mom says it, it must be true, right? Bottoms up!

4. Swear.
I know this guy who thinks women shouldn’t swear because it is un-lady-like. I will tell you that I am a lady, and I swear like a sailor, so that outdated double standard can make like a tree and get outta here. I also like men that swear. I like them bunches. I mean, have you guys even seen The Departed? Everyone is one hundred times hotter in that movie because they are dropping f-bombs like it’s their job. (It is their job.) What’s a Scorsese movie without the f word?!?!

5. “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.”
It is a repeated line and definitely one of the most inspirational lessons throughout the trilogy. Hey, if you want to invent time and accidentally travel back to the fittys to mess with your parents’ love story, you go for it. Or, you know. Something else constructive.

6. The two greatest mysteries of the universe: time travel and women.
Women are not as confusing to me, though. Less math, plus I am one. I guess I am halfway to conquering the mysteries of the universe! Who said I never did anything with my life?

7.  We don’t need roads!
Guys, I say this as often as I can apply it to my life, and maybe I don’t get to say it enough because I really do need roads almost all of the time. Dammit, I’m moving to South Dakota. (Do they have roads there?) I guess I can take it more metaphorically and use it more often. I am so too literal.
And one time this happened between me, my best friend’s husband and Doc Brown and it was awesome.

8. Odd couples are the best couples.
Why in the world are Doc Brown and Marty even friends in the first place? It goes totally unexplained, but we viewers just accept that besties come in the form of an old mad scientist and an adventurous young high school boy. It isn’t like Marty is lacking a father figure, obviously. Crispin Glover? Who could ask for anything more in a dad? I guess I have some funny friendships, but nothing like this one. My friendships are lame compared to theirs. No offense, friends. SWF looking for OMS to hang out with after school. (OMS at Starbucks stands for “orange mango smoothie.” I am also searching for one of those because they are delicious.)

Christopher Lloyd and Fox have been friends for a very long time, IRL. You guys know how I feel about coworkers keeping in touch. It is my literal favorite thing besides when coworkers date, and snow on Christmas morning.

9. Don’t lose your temper every time someone calls you a name.
Doc warns Marty in Back to the Future III that he should not get so angry when he is called a coward, which I totally agree with. It gets Marty into predicaments with Biff for literally hundreds of years. That being said, this girl gets pissed when anyone challenges her in anyway, which is how I ended up chasing a shot by eating almost an entire onion once. Whoops. Well, and my friend said he’d give me a dollar if I did it. DID YOU HEAR THAT BEN WURTZ? YOU STILL OWE ME A DOLLAR.

(Maybe that’s why boys are scared of me.)

10. Your future is whatever you make it.
And the past entirely affects the future, and one tiny event can change the entire course of your life. For example, Marty has to get his parents together even though he accidentally made his mother fall in love with him until she kisses him and is rightfully grossed out, even though she doesn’t know why. He literally starts disappearing until his parents kiss and realize they should have three kids one day. You are in full control of your future, kiddos. Every step you take could be your biggest mistake. Is that a Coldplay lyric? That’s not very motivational. Sorry, I mean–tiny things can be your whole future, so kiss the nerdy boy/girl you may or may not like! How else will you know?

Oh, and also, the power of love is a curious thing.

Artwork in top frame from Hexagonall, who is awesome.


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  1. From one BTTF fan to another, Marty’s achilles heel is the word “chicken.” He freaks out in each film when he’s called a chicken. He just can’t back down.

  2. loooooved this article! i am a huge fan of the trilogy too and i feel that everytime i see it, i learn a different thing, whether is about life or the movie. And yes indeed, is so good to know that the actors from your favorite movie are still friends. Even after almost 20 years of filming the first one!

  3. Jessica, I learned how to post comments on this site today just to tell you how much I adore this one (I am undeniably in love with all of them, but STILL). I think it was out mutual love of BTTF that made us not just “Megan’s hilarious best friends”, but true friends in our own right. Fabulous, darling. Absolutely fabulous.

  4. I absolutely adore your articles. You are a very talented writer.

  5. Something that I learned..well realise actually, is that we should have hoverboards..how could would that be! I wouldn’t smash another corner wall at my house when we have hoverboards:)-that’s what you’ll get when u ridr a penneboard or skateboard around the house when ur not so good to ride one:P

  6. I am from South Dakota. We have roads. Just not too many stoplights. You might do well there.

  7. The Back to the Future movies are my favourite ever. They even top Lord of the Rings for me, so you know that shit is legit. In short, I love you and this article.

  8. BTTF is the greatest movies trilogy! I love this article more then words can express!

  9. I think you should read this
    (Have you heard of Ryan North??)

    I…. am sorry if I have inadvertently (well, pretty vertently, and ad-ly so, I guess) just sucked hours of your life into the internet.