The Curator of Schlock #223 by Jeff Shuster

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

I like turtles.

I like turtles. I especially like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Yes, that’s right. I like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I’m not apologizing for this, acting like it’s some weird affectation. What’s not to like about them? They’re teenagers, they’re mutants, they’re ninjas, and they’re turtles. I liked them when I was a kid in the 80s and early 90s.

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I stayed up half the night playing Turtles in Time on Super Nintendo and bopped my head to the beat of the live performance of Pizza Power. Heck I’m wearing a t-shirt featuring Master Splinter from the old cartoon series. I’m also wearing Superman pajama pants and Pillsbury Doughboy boxers!.

Tonight we’ll discuss 2014’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from director Jonathan Liebsman.

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I liked it. But it seems there are some other critics out there who need to rain on my parade, so you’re curator will offer up some rebuttals. Okay, I’ll try and remain cool and collected. Simon Peters from RogerEbert.com writes:

“If nothing else, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” reminds us that nostalgia is often used as a mandate for spectacularly lazy filmmaking. Yes, I too loved the action figures, video games, cartoons, and previous live-action commercials, I mean movies.”

Okay, you never loved the Turtles. Let’s get that out of the way.  Any movie that features Michelangelo beating up burglars with a pair of sausage nun chucks and Vanilla Ice belting out “Go Ninja, Go Ninja, GO!” while the four brothers battle the largest Muppets I’ve ever seen is more than a live-action commercial! You’re not a Turtles fan, Simon, and you never were.

Here’s another gem from Mr. Peters:

“So these Turtles are bullet-proof, six-foot tall mountains of biceps and quads. Likewise, Foot leader Shredder (Tohoru Masamune) looks like a samurai-themed death metal band-leader with an Edward Scissorhands fetish.”

Yes, biceps and quads are a good thing. It’s what the heroes need to beat the bad guys. As for The Shredder, how should he be dressed? In a tweed suit? He’s the greatest super villain of all time. The Shredder needs to be giving the kids in the audience nightmares!

It gets even worse when we go across to the United Kingdom. It’s no secret that Brits have always hated the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I guess their idea of a super hero is far superior: an alien with an overlong scarf that travels through time in a blue telephone booth and fights garbage cans with plungers for arms. Let’s take a gander at a Telegraph article entitled “Dreadful” by Robbie:

“But what endears the characters to nine-year-old boys – the smart-alecky dialogue, the threadbare catchphrases, the worship of junk-food – is what also makes them so annoying to everyone else.”

Collin, did you ever stop to think that this movie was made for nine-year-old boys and that nine-year-old boys have a right to exist? He drones on:

“The script is equal parts pop-culture references, toilet humour and patience-sapping contrivance”

I don’t know what a patience-sapping contrivance is. Maybe he’s referring to that sweet fedora Will Arnett is sporting in the film? I need to get me one of those.

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As for toilet humor and pop-culture references, what else do you need? Maybe a good eye-gouging or spiders or eye-gouging by spiders. If only Lucio Fulci was still with us. I’d love to see his take on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. As for Simon and Robbie, you two have gotten your wish. Paramount has dictated that there will be no TMNT movies for the foreseeable future. To all the nine-year-old boys out there, the world doesn’t want anything to do with you. Go sit in a corner and hum real loud until you turn ten.


Jeffrey Shuster 3

Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131, and episode 284) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.

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