Happy 30th, ‘Back to the Future’: Here’s what you’ve taught us

I wasn’t alive when Back to the Future premiered on July 3rd in 1985. However, I feel like I’ve experienced its premiere secondhand from my dad. My dad, who happens to be named Marty, actually saw the movie at a preview in Los Angeles, where he and the rest of the audience were not aware it was going to be shown. He described the experience as mind-blowing — from the score to the acting to the wonderful script, he was sure this movie was going to be successful. What he didn’t know was that 30 years later, the movie would have gained so much popularity, it would actually become part of the fabric of contemporary pop culture. And yes, there was a cast reunion this week to mark the film’s 30th anniversary, that I witnessed firsthand. Let me just say…it was epic.

Growing up, I saw all three films several times. My brothers and I never tired of it. In fact, it was probably one of the only things we could agree on. Watching the movie now, as an adult, is an altogether different experience. Of course, that’s one of the things I love about movies; the fact that you can see the same movie at different points in your life and gather something totally different from it. So, to celebrate its 30th birthday, here are a few life lessons from the classic trilogy that are still relevant today.

If you set your mind to it, you can accomplish anything

As a kid, you don’t necessarily know how much you absorb from what you watch. I remember hearing this line over and over again and just accepting it as absolute truth. When we’re children, we tend to think we are capable of anything, but as we get older, we seem to change our mindset and thus, set limits on what we can achieve. This line is 100 percent true and adults and children alike need to hear it more often. There is nothing you can’t achieve if you set your mind to it.

There’s a limit to what science should control

Now, this is not to say that time travel will ever become a real thing — of course, who knows? However, should we ever become capable of time travel, the question might arise: Should man be able to mess with the past? Doc Brown has his own ethical journey throughout the films and ponders the very real fact that not all people can be trusted to be responsible time travelers and respect the whole space-time-continuum thing. #realtalk

Your parents are imperfect people

Yes, it sounds really fun; traveling to another era, a time when you weren’t alive. But, seeing your parents as teenagers might just destroy you/make you understand your parents better. There comes a time in every person’s life when they must accept their parents as they are. They had their own lives before we were born and they made mistakes. No parent is perfect because no human being is perfect. That said, I feel like Marty (Michael J. Fox) had to learn this lesson the hard way.

Predicting the soon-to-be future is really hard

In the trilogy’s second film, Marty, Doc and Jennifer travel to October 21, 2015 — aka about 3 months from now. We sadly don’t have hover convertibles or hover boards and we don’t wear our jeans inside out (I think I’m OK with that one).

In fact, their version of 2015 is very ’80s — which totally makes sense. That Jaws 3D hologram was not completely wrong —I’m sure that’s coming. And little Elijah Wood (how cute is he?) calling an arcade game “a baby’s toy.” Yeah, that’s probably accurate considering the evolution of video games.

The future’s not written yet

So much of what the series deals with is Marty’s pride and inability to admit when he’s scared. When Jennifer presents Doc with the memo she took from the future, he lays some pretty good advice down. “It means your future hasn’t been written yet. No one’s has. Your future is whatever you make it.” Doc knows what’s up. Even without the time travel angle, most people tend to try and plan their lives. They agonize over how each decision will affect their future, but Doc’s words need repeating every now and then.

It’s amazing to think the OG Back to the Future was released 30 years ago. All three of the films are just as timeless as they were back then, and that’s pretty special. Happy anniversary, Back to the Future! Here’s to the next 30 years!

(Images via Universal Pictures)

What to expect from 2015, according to Back to the Future

Wait, are we getting a new Back to the Future movie?