A Review of the first 30 minutes of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Out of the Shadows” On DVD as observed during lunch with my students

This review is encapsulates most of my lunches.

I have a standing agreement with my student that if she gets here work done we will watch a movie during lunch.  At least twice (at most five times) a week since October we have watched the same film: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Out of the Shadows.  Lunch at our school is not the full run time of the movie so we only get about 30 minutes into the film on any given day and the next time the opportunity arises my student insists to start the film from the beginning each time… each and every time.

The beginning of disc plays previews for other movies.  When it starts up, I go to skip straight to movie, but my student (we will call her Anne) insists that we go back to watch trailers.

We do.

Trailer 1: Monster Trucks

I think Monster Trucks is already had it’s run theaters so much not have too much of a splash. The story is a classic tale of an octopus that eats a truck engine and becomes a truck monster. My student informs me, “It’s scary. Boss Baby is in the 3-D”.  That seems non-sequitur but yes that’s how it goes in my class. On screen a girl who rides horses meets the main character, they fall in love within the 5 seconds of the trailer, just like how real life work. You see someone they are appropriately lite and smiling, boom! True love.  This lesson is repeated to my students, and all students scores of times a week. It makes real connections through knowledge, shared experience and interest seem disingenuous understimulating. This occurs to me as the bad octopus truck is established in the trailer, his truck is more sleek and attacks other trucks.  Since those ancillary  trucks aren’t octopus things, the moral indignance I am suppose to feel doesn’t register in the way I assume the filmmakers intended.

Shouting erupts about chocolate milk in my classroom.  I am called to resolve the dairy crisis and the movie goes unpaused.

When I return we are onto another trailer.

Trailer 2: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (201?)

The turtles spot April O’Neil after she takes a picture on her phone that has an audible bulb flash not the shutters sound but rather the pop and buzz of a full size filament.  She has a studio quality lighting fixture on her phone I guess.

My students get in an argument about sharing…like the hypothetical act and when it should occur. This requires fielding questions, and reassurance “That you can share your lunch if you want but you don’t have to.”

When I am returned to the movie, the feature film has begun.

Our Feature Presentation:

The movie starts with turtles running, through sewers and are introduced with title cards as they banter back and forth throwing a pizza box. This pizza box is crucial. The title cards report the turtles to be: Leonardo the leader, Raphael the attitude, Donatello the brains, and Michelangelo the pizza lover. They are headed to see the New York Knicks play a home game against the Los Angeles Clippers.

At the game, Will Arnett is celebrated for defeating Shredder in the previous movie. I haven’t seen the previous movie, but the turtles take umbrage to this claim and start shooting spit wads at Arnett as he is interviewed live on the court about his bravery before the game begins. This is weird for a couple reasons, first the turtles are on top of the rafters in the ceiling, Madison Square Garden is 150 feet tall, generously they are at least 120 feet away from Will Arnett but they nail him with wet paper projected through a straw on the face and neck. Go ahead and try and hit anything further than 15 feet away with a spit wad. Furthermore, no one thinks that it’s weird he is getting pegged with spit wads while being interviewed. Despite one hitting his face, the journalist talking to Arnett does not bat an eye.  Remember as far as everyone, except the ninja turtles and the soon to be introduced April O’neil, is concerned this man saved the entire city of New York from destruction, saved their very lives, and no one is even put off that he is getting spit on!

Meanwhile, April O’Neil (as Megan Fox is called in this movie) radios into the turtles that she has found the scientist she was looking for.  This thread is probably the main plot to the movie as the scientist is played by Tyler Perry and is seen later. April is at a fancy bar at the top of grand central station, throws herself at Perry. She stimulates his nerd scientist ego by insisting she loves his work, to which he is appropriately blustery. Then he leaves in a hurry to meet someone in the station that has something is also part of plot that I never get to see…

Anyway to April tracks the currier and who walking right up toward a of group of…umm… schoolgirl fetish models?  I am unsure if the movie intends for these women to be understood to be uniformed high school girls but the producers of film jump at the chance to undress Megan Fox. April sheds her blonde wig, shoplifts from a conveniently placed schoolgirl outfit kiosk and one exposed midriff later has placed the tracking device on the currier to do whatever might happen further into movie.  This scene is rough because it causes the tone of the movie to become muddy, April uses sex appeal as leverage twice in like 5 minutes of screentime but the film stars animated talking turtles who know ninjutsu.  April in her smoldering outfit reports to the turtles that the plot thing is now established and we cut back to hilarious tomfoolery at Madison Square Garden.

The turtles are now eating the pizza they brought with them. The tropes of each turtle is reinforced until Mikey drops a piece of pizza.  The pizza falls onto center court of the game in progress. A Los Angeles Clipper player slips and falls grasping at the basketball which is declared a jump ball.  The player rightfully protests, “Pizza! There is pizza on my shoe!”  The ref shrugs, “Welcome to New York.”  That is not the rules of basketball! Pizza isn’t all over the place during a basketball game, watch a player take a charge sometime, they immediately clean the floor. Pizza would cause stoppage of play, look it up!  Of the 30 minutes of this movie that I’ve seen, that drives me up the wall. It’s just lazy, it represents the entire blockbuster system, shrugging off rules and reason to expedite nothing.  This scene means nothing, just antics on a big stage.

The turtles depart and note, “We’ll never fit it.”

“We’re ninjas, we move in the shadows.” Raphael retorts.

At this point my student has finished processing the pizza scene, “Pizza, it has and cheese, and… Mr. Sam?”


“It’s hot.”

“Hot pizza tastes good.”

My student Anne, nods her ascent.

The turtle wagon somehow makes it’s appearance.  It’s easily the best part of the movie, looks just like the toy. The turtles nerd out, it shoots sewer lids, raw 90’s rad.

“Mr. Sam?” another student asks.


“Do you like boys-2-men?”


I am beckoned over to watch a Boys-2-Men music video from the Prince of Egypt. My student sings it to me over her head phones and then explains the narrative of the music video about ” a boy, he punches light.”

Next I am made to watch the Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston duet “Believe” also from the Prince of Egypt soundtrack.

I looked up at the movie as the lunch bell rings concluding the period, Shredder and Tyler Perry take over a lab as Whitney Houston croans,

“Who knows what miracle you can achieve,
When you believe somehow you will
You will when you believe”

And the moment is perfect.





Taco Bell: A Meditation on Death

At Taco Bell, there are 5 different flavors of Mountain Dew.

When we die, there is a rippling as our consciousness slips beneath the surface of our processing mind. For some it like drowning.

For some it is brief glimpse of clarity before the soft edges of darkness seal the vessel of the light that is a life.

But tonight, death is 5 flavors of Mountain Dew decomposing a corpse that has yet to stop twitching. A blast of Baja (whatever that part of the world tastes like) melts the insulation that is known as a crunchwrap supreme. The crunchwrap being a tortilla, holding corn chips, coated in nacho cheese, suffocating tomatoes the red diced emphysemic pieces of nature colliding with the unreal.

Do the Dew, the false of curtain of power draped over toxic waste.  Taste the rush of liquid so distorted that Extraterrestrial beings would use its production to prove that creatures that would excrete toxins such as these could not in fact be known as intelligent life.

Thoughts on jealousy (working it out)

I was talking with my friend the other day about jealousy, I realized later that I might have offered conflicting viewpoints.  This got me thinking that I should try define what jealous is and how it affects me. (side note: I didn’t figure it out…surprise. I am flawed so TLDR: seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Yet, I actually like this mulling over of the concept.)

Just as a point of reference to myself the conflict I found was:

A: Jealousy is like a texture of grief that a mind suffers when one finds disparity in emotional attention between what is loved (IE. one person loving another) and the loved expending emotional energy elsewhere, or not spending it at all.


B. No one person is capable of supplementing all emotional/psychological/physical needs short of Christ. Which could mean that people who don’t fall under the category of Savior have no place being jealous since they, due to their own failings, must expect needs to be sought out and accommodated elsewhere.

God has a holy jealousy.  This is crucial and interesting because it is only one of the Ten Commandments that God explains His personal reason behind it, “For I, the Lord thy God am a jealous God.” (Exodus 20:4b).  God elaborates on other commandments but those are for human clarification. For God, jealousy is an intimate reaction, a natural occurrence from the creator of all reality and existence.

Is jealously wrong? No but it is a emotional warning sign. Just like being sleepy could be a sign that you are simply tired from the day but if it persists you could be ill, the body is you warning something is going on and you to slow down to handle it. Jealousy works in the same way but I don’t find myself so emotionally in touch to discern this feeling without first comparing to things I know to be signs of spiritual illness, sin, in my life. The are major sins I need check in within the feeling of jealousy are: coveting, guilt, envy, greed, and majorly lust.

This brings up the primary argument I hear against jealousy, “humans are creatures who have physical needs” but what isn’t any internal process a valid one? Yes we need to be weary of latching our identity too close to any one aspect of psyche but relationships brought to the point of jealously surely have to be equally revered as sexual identity, a condition of psychological disposition admittedly defended in our day and age. Yet then one aspect of this popular culture turns to against its own posturing, mincing and sniping pieces of hardwiring with al’ carte flippancy.  Jealousy is natural condition, or rephrased to fit the times, jealousy is organic experience that serves to as emotional safeguard in the just same way that blood clots to seal a wound.

So where and when is jealously wrong?  Well I think that it must be when it is used to protect a mental disposition that is unhealthy and the most unhealthy disposition that we can abide, and that we in American culture do all the time in grievance to the Lord is the idolatry of self. We are grow angry through a lack of worship directed toward ourselves, that is unhealthy jealousy.  When the other pieces of the body of Christ that is His church turn from him to bow to each other that is a type of jealously that is cancerous.

That’s why, like all things, right jealousy is only found, for us humans, in Christ.  Only in the act worship toward the one true God, through his Son, are we able to approach the emotional tool set that is staggerly complex, beautiful, joyful and powerful which exist in our minds available for action and reaction. Let us not forget that the pinnacle of our existence is as dust of earth crying to for our Father in worship, and the craftsman shaped such dust into the jars of His own making so as to retain a portion of His spirit which is metered out in infinite quantity. That would bow before other in an attempt to cuckold the Creator of reality causing grieving and angry jealousy is, as Jeremiah and Isaiah would have agreed, is a bad idea.