White People Put A Lot Of Effort Into Dressing Like Idiots
Shoulder pads and helmets, superfluous neckties, the proliferation of pleather flourish juxtaposed with the casualness of self-tying shoes and complete elasticity, the white people clothing of BTTF II is absurd pastiche of simplicity and pomp, and in a departure from deliberate 1970s camp, unsure of itself as either ironic or sincere. While today’s whites don’t dress the same as they do in the film, they certainly dress to an equal level of stupidity and for the same reasons. Or lack thereof. The clothing of BTTFII is an acknowledgement of the trajectory of white fashion, which is now thoroughly removed from either utility or ideology, and undeniably headed towards complete anomie. Why do they dress like that? Is it rebellion? Rebellion from what? Rebellion from rebellion itself? The clothing in BTTFII is trying to give a shit by not giving a shit. It’s someone attempting to negate a statement that no one has made. It’s postmodernity allowed to ramble on too long, eventually trailing off without ever really making any kind of point, like a drunk hipster trying (at length) to justify his incredibly cliché assertion of his unique identity. Or like someone writing an ironic listicle.
What the white people clothing in BTTF II is, is normcore.
Most of The Black People Are Dead
In BTTF II, there’s a discernable lack of any people of color in the film, and while some would be quick to chalk this up to the under-representation of minorities in Hollywood, they’d be forgetting that Zemeckis is a prophetic genius. In BTTF II, there’s barely any black people at all, presumably because they’ve all been killed by the police or disproportionally sentenced to long stretches in prison for minor crimes. This was an incredibly prescient, deliberate choice on the part of the filmmakers, and an incredibly deft commentary on systemic racism in America.
The Normalization of Rape Culture
In the opening scene of the film, Doc hypnotizes Marty’s girlfriend, rendering her unconscious, effectively erasing her memory, and leaves her in an alley, on a dumpster, next to a stack of disposed silicone and Laserdiscs. It’s important to note that in 1985, this was already a crime, and the word rapey did not exist yet, but if it did, this would certainly have been labelled as rapey behavior. Yet Marty accepts this as a necessity. Jennifer can’t be allowed to know too much about the future, and as a result, her physical wellbeing is disregarded to make way for the plans of the male characters. Putting an unconscious woman in the trash, in an alley, is a blatant caricature of rape culture.
The choice of Laserdiscs and silicone couldn’t be any more explicit either – Zemeckis is making a statement here about not only society’s objectification of women, but the incredibly superficial and disposable nature of said objectification. Jennifer is literally thrown out with misguided technology and titty-material.
Planes Are Missing
In any science fiction film, flying cars are an almost necessity rather than a practical and realistic prediction of future life. Chiefly ironic, the flying cars were, even in the 1980s, symbolic literary gestures that gently mocked the idealism and myopia of science fiction past. The filmmakers behind BTTFII knew that cars wouldn’t fly in 2015, but they also understood the impossibility of predicting the future, especially in the nascent stages of the information age, and knew that if you want to signal “the future”, the Flying Car is almost as important as the digitized readout of the date in the opening scene.
But in BTTF II, the flying car plays a dual role, for the presence of flying cars negates the necessity of planes. Obviously for legal reasons, and to fit the narrative, they couldn’t make direct references to all the missing planes, but it’s quite clear that the distinct lack of planes in the movie is solely a nod to last year’s tragedies.
It’s in there somewhere.