Book Review: We Don’t Need Roads

We Don't Need Roads

A little over 30 years ago, a movie by the name of Back to the Future came to theaters. Many consider it to be perfect, or at least, a near perfect film. The time traveling tale of Marty Mcfly (Michael J. Fox) and Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) has been celebrated in pop culture heavily since it’s debut.

However, behind the scenes, not everything was peachy. In We Don’t Need Roads: The Making of the Back to the Future Trilogy, author Caseen Gaines lists the problems lingering with the production of the classic film. Most notably, he describes how Michael J. Fox was not the original actor playing Marty. What a world we would live in today if Marty Mcfly was not the one we see all the time when we watch these movies! That’s a world that I don’t really want to live in.

If you are a true Back to the Future aficionado, you know that Eric Stolz (The Mask, Pulp Fiction) was the original Marty, but due to things not working out, the actor was let go. The explanation of Stolz’s firing is almost heartbreaking, as Gaines portrays it as somebody putting their all into something but him not getting their work across the right way. Sadly, Stolz was only hired based on studio pressure, so it wasn’t like the guy did anything intently wrong.

Trivial tidbits are littered throughout the book besides Stolz’s exit, and for those looking for good amounts of information about the trilogy in one compilation would benefit from picking this book up. Not only is the original film covered, but the sequels as well. They don’t get a heavy focus like the first film, but ample time is spent discussing Part II and Part III, which, in 1985, weren’t even a thought in director Robert Zemeckis’ and writer Bob Gale’s heads. Back to the Future Part II sadly did not get the devotion of more discussion, which is disappointing. As Gaines puts it, it got lost in the shuffle because it was finishing up the same time Part III was filming. I would’ve liked to hear more about its critical reception years later after its release, only due to the fact that most people that I know think the film is complex and brilliant, despite the cliffhanger ending. That’s the only real strike here.

The book does detail a cringe worthy hoverboard stunt gone wrong that is seen in the beginning of the second film. I actually had the opportunity to sit and listen to the author of the book talk about his latest work, and he discuss the scene in question verbally. He went on to show the scene, pointing to where the accidents occurs. Now I won’t be able to unsee it. Reading the section on the stunt is one thing, but seeing it in the finished film is actually kind of terrifying once you know the truth.


I could go on and on listing all the moments that are highlighted from the behind the scene moments of the trilogy, but then again, I could talk about Back to the Future for as long as time allows. With that said, We Don’t Need Roads is a great read for any fan of the trilogy, and that includes yours truly. If you have only scratched the surface of Back to the Future knowledge, this book will probably open your eyes quite a bit to the things that plagued the franchise. From a personal standpoint, I found the story extremely engaging and it is honestly the fastest book I ever read. When it’s about one of my favorite subjects, how could I not? Simply put, We Don’t Need Roads is great. It’s a must buy for a fan, especially in this very year of the 30th Anniversary. Great scott! Go get it, you bojo!

Rating: 9.5/10

We Don’t Need Roads is currently available in book stores everywhere