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So the Cubs didn’t win in 5 — and we’re still waiting on hoverboards — but “Back to the Future Part II” was still strangely accurate when it came to predicting today’s news.
“Future” fans will recall a key early scene in the 1989 film has Doc Brown showing Marty McFly a USA Today announcing his future son has been jailed for theft.
That paper has today’s date — Oct. 22, 2015.
A close reading of the fictional paper’s “Newsline” column shows a few headlines that feel eerily similar to anyone glancing at today’s paper, though others read like they likely occurred in an “alternate” 2015.
Here’s a roundup of what the film’s writers got right, and what missed the mark.
True — or close to it
Printed newspapers still exist — with typos and all
Central to the plot of the sequel, that morphing copy of USA Today still features yesterday’s news — printed on paper. Whether accompanying digital screens focusing on real-time news exists in this universe remains a mystery.
And that Page One story? It’s written by “Compu-Fax,” what appears to be a flying robot that can take photos and write stories all in one. While human reporters are still necessary today, machines have demonstrated the ability to generate simple news articles.
But it appears even robots aren’t perfect. This blurb still made it past the robot editors: “Kelp price increase is likely due pollution of the South Pacific.”
Acknowledgment of environmental pollution
Back in the ‘80s, saving the environment became a growing concern, particularly around the depletion of the ozone layer and the use of hairspray and refrigerants. A couple headlines reference pollution and litter, acknowledging a future where this global problem remains unresolved.
“Swedish Terrorist Threat May Be Real Say CIA Officials”
While terrorism featured prominently in the first film — specifically with Libyan rebels — this headline suggests the continued threat of terrorism, even in developed nations like Sweden. And even in a post-9/11 world, threats of violence in everyday locations have become the norm (with a sword attack occurring in Sweden today).
Our never-ending pop-culture nostalgia
While the “Jaws 19” parody trailer (“This time, it’s really, really personal”) got a number of laughs when it was released earlier this month, the idea isn’t so ridiculous when we look at our current entertainment landscape. Not only is there reboot after reboot of superhero franchises, but possibly the biggest film of the year is “Star Wars: Episode VII.” And let’s not forget “Creed” (basically “Rocky VII”), the female-driven “Ghostbusters” and Netflix’s “Fuller House.”
"Cubs Sweep Series in 5"
This one was bizarrely close. The Cubs indeed made news for a sweep today, but they were on the wrong end of it, having gotten trounced by the Mets, 4-0, in National League Championship Series.
"Queen Diana Will Visit Washington"
Seeing Princess Diana referred to as “Queen” stings a bit — she was killed in a car accident in 1997 — but it also serves as a reminder of how beloved she was in the late 1980s.
Her death is likely just one event that would shock the people of 1985: Consider the fates of ‘80s icons Michael Jackson and Bill Cosby.
And then, of course, there’s presidential front-runner Donald Trump, whom the film's writer Bob Gale recently revealed to the Daily Beast was the inspiration for casino mogul Biff Tannen in the movie’s “alternate” 1985.
"President Says She’s Tired of Reporters Asking the Same Questions"
Like the Cubs sweep, this one is so, so close to the mark. As Bernie Sanders put it, we’re all sick and tired of hearing about Hillary Clinton’s emails!
"Marshall Runs 3-Minute Mile"
We’re not sure who Marshall is, but the current fastest mile on record is 3:43.13, set by Moroccan runner Hicham El Guerrouj in 1999.