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Back to the Future Teaches Youth and Parents About Present
In 1985 I sat in the movie theater anxiously awaiting to the premiere of Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future. I have always been a time travel fanatic, and Fox was, and still is, one of my favorite actors.
The movie was everything I expected. Funny, thought-provoking, and entertaining. Just think about the notion of going back in time to see what your parents were actually like as teenagers. I think Back to the Future helped mold my ideology on parenting: to always remember what it was like to be a kid when dealing with kids.
To the Future...
Meet the Parents
Marty (Fox's character) thinks his parents are prudes and weird. Well, his dad was weird because he lacked confidence to stand up for himself, and his mom had turned into a lush who had forgotten her youth because of the harsh realities she had help create in her life. When Marty accidentally goes back to 1955 through his friend, Doc Brown's time machine DeLorean, he gets a better understanding of his parents.
He sees his dad, George, loves to write science fiction, but he fears rejection. The antagonist, Biff, who also bullies George in 1985, pushes George around and causes George to bury his talent deep inside his low self-esteem. Marty also sees that Biff "wants" his then beautiful, thin mother. Biff is crude and mean, and Marty steps in to defend his parents from Biff.
Marty spends a week in 1955, which turns out to be the best thing he could have done for him and his parents.
Huey Lewis and the News
Other things that make this movie are the connections. One needs to pay attention to all that is said and shown in the beginning in order to "get" the rest of the movie.
One of my favorite parts is when Marty tries out with his band to play at the high school dance. "Power of Love" by Huey Lewis and the News is the theme song. It just so happens that in 1985 Huey Lewis was on top, and in the movie he is the judge who rejects Marty and his band by saying they are "too loud." The irony adds so much humor.
Back to the Past
Teaching the Future with the Past
Today, I teach high school. I show the movie to illustrate how time changes people, but that it is all about choices. I love pointing out Huey Lewis as the judge. Most kids don't even know who he is now -- they know his music, but not his name. I am able to share part of my past with my students while getting them to discuss what they think their parents might have been like when they were their age. It is fun and gives kids insight into there possibly being more to their parents than what they see.
Back to the Future has it all - time travel, suspense, humor, irony, analytic thought... One of my favorite all time movies.