‘Back to the Future’ Writer Settles Debate Over Plot Hole and It Makes Perfect Sense

Back to the Future is a fan favorite movie that tops many a ‘best’ list, and easily meets the requirements for the Twitter hashtag #FivePerfectMovies. Not surprisingly Back to the Future fits the bill as a perfect movie on a lot of people’s lists, though an old debate has been stirred up about the movie.

Michael J. Fox on the set of "Back to the Future"
Michael J. Fox in ‘Back to the Future’ | Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

Is there a plot hole in ‘Back to the Future’?

One film expert joined the discussion about FivePerfectMovies but did have one sticking point that gave him pause. Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn weighed in with his thoughts on the matter sharing that, despite a small issue, the movie is pretty solid.

Gunn first provided his thoughts on what defines “perfect,” sharing in a tweet: “For me, 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.”

He added, “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,” he tweeted.

Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt had some thoughts on the matter that made a lot of sense. “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,” he tweeted.

Pratt’s Parks and Recreation co-star, Adam Scott, shared his take on Pratt’s theory. “Being the exact age of George & Lorraine 1985: if my son gradually grew to resemble a dude I knew for a week 30 yrs ago & don’t have a photo of — albeit a pivotal dude — it’d at most rate a nostalgic chuckle every couple yrs as we assume we’ve warped Calvin’s looks over time. Tracks!,” he tweeted.

A ‘Back to the Future’ writer shares the truth

For the real answer, The Hollywood Reporter went to the source and asked Bob Gale, who co-wrote Back to the Future with Robert Zemeckis — and he had some great insight.

“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,” Gale shared with The Hollywood Reporter. “So, many years later, they still might remember that interesting kid who got them together on their first date.”

“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.”

Gale further explained, “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 through our high school yearbooks and find photos of our teen-aged classmates that bear some resemblance to our children.”