Growing up in the late eighties and early nineties was the best childhood that anyone could have wanted. I’m clearly beyond biased in this scenario, but four of the greatest superheros were create in 1984, also the year I was born. Coincidence? Yes, but I want to say no here and reap in the greatness that became known around the world as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And who wouldn’t? We have four very different reasons to love them and have endured a lifetime of basing our favorite color based on our favorite turtle. Okay, not really, but when I was younger depending on the turtle I liked did depend on my favorite color. Now I can say that Raphael is my favorite turtle, but purple is my favorite color. But none of this is the reason I feel in love with the famous heroes in a half-shell. No, not at all.
Day 11: Your favorite movie from childhood – Ninja Turtles
In 1990 I was beyond excited to go to the theater. And there have not been many movies that have made me as excited initially just from knowing the film exists. I remember going to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with a group of friends and of course two adults originally. I also remember those same adults explaining to our parents that we all might randomly say damn the next few weeks because one of the turtles said it, Raphael, and now we all thought it was the cool thing to do. That was the only really bad thing I took from the movies when I was younger. Other than you know wanting to be a ninja. No one was harmed in the making of my childhood. I was even more excited the second time I was able to see the film with my cousin and my parents and for the longest time I begged to see the film for a third time.
Instead I had to wait what felt like five years for the movie to be released on VHS when I began to watch it at least three to four times a day when it was humanly possible. In fact, I wore out three VHS tapes when I was younger because that’s how much I loved this film. And it’s a movie that no matter what I know I have to watch at least once a year, along with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze. One of my favorite scenes is when the turtles are dancing around to Tequila. I think the best part of the scene, outside of the fantastic dance moves, is the fact that Master Splinter watches them as if he does not understand one bit what they are doing, but accepts them. He accepts them for who they are even though he might not understand it. The only thing that could have made that scene better is seeing Splinter get down with them with some moves on a father possesses.
Along with the funny in the film, and Master Splinter making a funny, as a child I saw one of the most heart-wrenching scenes ever when Leonardo doesn’t think that Raphael is going to wake up. This is the first time I ever watched a scene where I really wanted to cry. There was just something about watching him grieve of his brother. And now that I’m older this scene is even worse. What would have happened if Raphael never woke up? These are the thoughts of course going through Leonardo’s head that at the time we cannot fully fathom as a young child. We are reminded to choose our words wise to those we care about because we never know when those words will be our last. Thankfully in Leonardo’s case he did not have to find out what happens when we do not get a chance for forgiveness. That is also a good thing because I’m positive parents would have targeted the writer of the film if Raph died because of having to deal with all their sobbing children.
Likewise, I learned a ton of lessons from the one and only Miss April O’Neil. The coolest thing about April is that she never backed down. She did not let anyone run over her. The best part of April though was how she never let anything keep her down. She continued forward after her apartment caught fire and after she was let go from her job. In many ways, April inspired me as well as other women that we we should never give up even when we feel we are at our lowest point in life. Where was this post yesterday? Man did I need to be reminded of that yesterday. Ahem. Not the point. One of the other life lessons April taught me is how we should always be there for our friends when they need us the most. We are always there for each other. She also taught me that sometimes the easy road is not always the best taken. This fictional character is one of the best female role models of my time.
Comparatively, Casey Jones wedged a place in my heart for all eternity. Yes, we meet him because he gets into a fight with Raphael, but Casey becomes an important part of the team. Casey is a character that continues to make me laugh at things I should not. Though I am also certain that I should not laugh so hard when the porch swing falls with him in it either. And let’s face it half of us 80s children’s first ship was probably April and Casey. If you were not rooting for them to be together by the end of the movie you’re lying to yourself. My love for Casey is also why I am still upset at Chicago P.D. this past season. YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID! And I will admit that Casey Jones is the only reason I want to even bother with the second ninja turtle film that Michael Bay produced. I’m still upset by the first one, but it’s hard to say no to Stephen Amell. I blame the role entirely. I must know the journey of Mr. Jones.
Ultimately, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie is one of those childhood films that somehow is not tainted now that I’m older. In many ways I feel like I still learn something new each and every time I bother to watch my Blu-ray copy of the film. For days after I want to figure out ways to fit in cowabunga, gnarly, radical, and bodacious. So far I have not found scenarios where these phrases necessarily work though. The truth is that no matter what these turtles can brighten my day with their t-u-r-t-l-e power and having one more reason in this world to make us smile is never a bad thing.