What Back to the Future II Got Right

It’s said Robert Zemeckis did not want “Back to the Future II” to take place in the future because future movies always fail at predicting.  I sympathize, and also scoff. The point isn’t to be right – it’s to comment on your current time. That’s why there’s a “Town Hall Mall” and fax machines – trends that seemed ever on the rise in 1989.  Who could have guessed shopping malls, of all things, would die out?

It’s too easy to congratulate ourselves on knowing more about today than someone in the past. Here are future predictions “Back to the Future II” got right.

  1. Female cops are more prevalent today than in the 80s.In 1991, 9% of police officers in the US were women. Today the figure is near 15%.
  2. Old people with mullets. Yeah sure this was an easy one, but who REALLY saw it coming, right? Think about it – we did not yet have old hippies in 1989. All long haired people were young. WOAH.
  3. Although it’s laughable that people would READ newspapers in 2015. (sigh) I want to give some pity points for the reality of LCD paper that could look like the mutating headlines which, okay, were not animated in the world of the story…
  4. 80s Nostalgia being a big thing. Again, kind of a slam-dunk. The first Back to the Future capitalized on rampant 1950s nostalgia in the 80s. It stands to reason that if people were nuts about 30 years ago, 30 years from now they’ll be nuts about today. And delightfully inaccurate. One of the more playful parts of the movie.
  5. Google glass. Pretty much exactly.
  6. I’d also like to give them props for “Pepsi Perfect” which clearly predicts the rise of pseudo-niche colas, special product names that mean nothing, and smaller dang bottles.
  7. Flat panel TVs. Realize that they didn’t have flat panel computer monitors (well, not much – remember the NeXT?) in 1989. Marty’s TV is total fiction when filmed, but totes normal by today’s standards (well, posh standards.)
  8. 3D is a fad. STILL. Again, rather. And, okay – the sequel fad of the 80s died a merciful death before we reached double digits on most franchises, but we DO have ‘reimaginings’ these days and we DO have 3D displays… though again, not quite like that.
  9. Mad Max fandom – revived and alive. 
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