55 Internet Things for Back to the Future Day

This is heavy.

A small model of a DeLorean DMC-12 at the concept store "Knick-Knack to the Future" in Berlin, Germany (Hannibal Hanschke / Reuters)

Look, I don't want to overstate this or anything. It’s just that I’ve been waiting for Back to the Future Day—October 21, 2015, when Marty McFly and Doc Brown travel to the future from 1985—pretty much my entire life.

My family rented the first Back to the Future film on VHS sometime in the late 1980s. When the movie ended, and I learned there was a sequel that I couldn’t immediately watch, I burst into tears. It’s not my fault Back to the Future is a near-perfect film.

A near-perfect film with a sequel that didn’t perfectly predict the past 30 years of technology, okay, but who could have? (The ubiquity of cellphones and the arrival of the Internet are the two most obvious misses.) Thanks to the Internet, here in the actual future, there is a universe of bizarre and wonderful stuff online dedicated to the trilogy.

And so I share with you, from all corners of the web, some of my favorite finds—original reviews, merchandise, essays, fan fiction, and everything in between.

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  1. How to make your own flux capacitor
  1. “Call me cheap, but I wasn’t ready to pay $5 to see myself on the screen,” said Michael J. Fox in this 1985 New York Times article, “Conversation with a Time Traveler.” ( “I've gotten a lot of marriage proposals lately,” Fox tells the Times, “and I'm not complaining.”)
  1. Steven Hyden’s essay about how Back to the Future was intended to be a period piece about the 1980s
  1. Lindsey Buckingham’s “Time Bomb Town,” the song that’s playing on Marty’s clock radio when he wakes up to meet Doc at Twin Pines Mall
  1. This weird Back to the Future online game that calls Marty “Martin,” presumably for copyright reasons
  1. The New York Times on "futurobilia" and the comfort of predicted futures
  2. An examination of some of the problematic ways Back to the Future deals with race
  3. Secrets of the Back to the Future Trilogy, hosted by Kirk Cameron (also available on VHS)

    1. David Sims’s story about the small-town appeal of the original film
    2. The scene in which Eric Stoltz, originally cast as Marty McFly, is apparently still in the final cut of Back to the Future

    1. Nike’s real-life patent for self-lacing shoes
    1. My story about how the actual future is way cooler than the one Back to the Future predicted
    2. A $35 replica of the iridescent baseball hat Marty wears in 2015
    1. A list of deleted scenes from the trilogy
    2. Marty McFly and Doc Brown reunite in a 2015 Toyota ad
    3. Pepsi makes limited-edition Pepsi Perfect in honor of Back to the Future day
    4. An iPad case made to look like the Sports Almanac
    5. A journal made to look like A Match Made in Space, George McFly’s debut sci-fi novel
    6. Goldie Wilson campaign poster
    1. This “We’re sending you Back to the fantastic” postcard from Japan
    1. Tim Carmody’s essay about the trilogy’s obsession with the making and unmaking of media
    2. Marty McFly action figure (with Einstein, the dog)
    3. A trailer for Back to the Future, the animated series

    1. Replica Hill Valley newspapers
    1. Original Back to the Future-themed Happy Meal toys
    2. A pint glass from the Cafe 80s
    1. Marty McFly’s driver’s license
    2. Back to the Future II for Super Nintendo
    1. Doc Brown’s time-travel license
    1. An “outta time” license plate
    2. Back to the Future, as retold via Twitter
    1. Back to the Future fan fiction
    2. Side-by-side comparison: Claudia Wells as Jennifer Parker vs. Elisabeth Shue as Jennifer Parker
    3. The New York Times review of the first film, published in July 1985, which concludes: “One of the most appealing things about Back to the Future is its way of putting nostalgia gently in perspective. Like Marty, Mr. Zemeckis takes a bemused but unsentimental view of times gone by. And he seems no less fascinated by the future, which is understandable. His own looks very bright.”
    4. If the Cubs make it to the World Series, Christopher Lloyd (Doc Brown) might throw the first pitch
    5. The new Back to the Future comic series
    6. DeLorean Hot Wheels from Japan
    7. Gold DeLorean Christmas ornament
    8. The story of one of three 24-karat gold DeLoreans ever manufactured, and how it apparently turned up in a dusty Maryland garage
    9. How to make a DeLorean made out of Pepsi cans

    1. An actual DeLorean DMC-12 ($85,000), time-travel capabilities presumably not included
    2. Is It Jigowatt Or Gigawatt?” A New York Times investigation.
    3. Back to the Future cosplay
    4. Michael J. Fox on the September 1985 cover of Teen Beat
    5. Back to the Future in concert
    6. “This is one of those things where whatever happens, I'm a winner. If the Cardinals win, I'm happy about that,” said screenwriter Bob Gale on the possibility that the Cubs could win the World Series, just like he predicted 30 years ago. “But if the Cubs win, then I look really smart.”
    7. Crispin Glover’s (George McFly) infamous appearance on Letterman in 1987
    1. A song by Tom Wilson, who played Biff Tannen, about his encounters with Back to the Future fans.
    1. What Doc and Marty would think of the real 2015
    2. Everything claiming to be a hoverboard is a joke
    3. Back to the Future is a piece of Pop Art Americana,” wrote the New Yorker in a 1985 review. “Actually, this movie, with its high-school-age hero and the dream that he fulfills—the dream of being part of a de-luxe happy family, like the ones in TV commercials—represents a culmination of fifties' appeal to the youth market.”
    4. A fan’s video explanation of the Top 10 Back to the Future mistakes
    5. Family Guy’s homage to the opening scene of the first film
    6. Etsy stores selling jewelry like this “Save the clock tower” necklace
    7. Online countdown clock to Marty McFly’s arrival in 2015