Project Rewatch 2021 Progress

Now that my boyfriend moved in with us, he’s gonna join in too! Yay!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Epic Begins (me)

Project Rewatch 6/89

As a child I was obsessed with Ninja Turtles, Sonic, Batman, and Star Trek, basically in that chronological order. So Ninja Turtles was my first and for a while most intense obsession. I had a Ninja Turtles bedspread, I drew pictures of the Technodrome with markers at daycare. It was a Big Deal to me. And the 1987 cartoon was where it all started.

I remember renting this specific VHS from the video store an obnoxious number of times. I tended to annoy the heck out of my parents by wanting to watch the same things over and over and over. Watching it still gives me a warm, comfortable feeling.

… like a Ninja Turtles bedspread.

(B-Rank)

Batman (1989)

Project Rewatch 7/89

“Well, face it. You’re not exactly… normal, are you?”
“This isn’t exactly a normal world, is it?”

We did it right, and watched the Diet Coke and Warner Bros. Catalog commercials that were on the VHS on YouTube. I watched this pretty obsessively on VHS as a very young boy. I saw all the movies after Batman Returns in theaters (it was one of the first movies I saw in theaters), and watched the animated series religiously when it came out. I also read some of the comics but not many, I did love the Knightfall/KnightQuest/KnightsEnd arcs though. But, yeah. I had SO MANY Batman toys as a kid. It was one of my biggest early fandoms alongside Ninja Turtles and Star Trek.

I did review this one fairly recently and even found something new to say about it, and I really didn’t expect that to happen again, but it did!

Vicki Vale has undiagnosed ADHD. She would’ve been a school-aged girl in, what, the 70s? So obviously we didn’t know as much about ADHD as we do now, and on top of that she’s a woman, and even today ADHD and similar disorders are drastically underdiagnosed in women and girls.

Now just look at what we know about this character. She became immediately interested in the idea of Batman and decided to make the drastic career/personal decision of moving to Gotham to pursue him. That kind of impulsivity is pretty common in people with untreated ADHD, and finding a new interest and becoming immediately obsessed with it is also something I think we can all relate to. On top of that, she has blatant people-pleasing tendencies, including putting up with Knox’s obnoxious hitting on her and when she splashes water in the Joker’s face and he reacts melodramatically instead of using that opportunity to run the fuck away she tries to comfort him and make sure he’s okay.

… look, I’m not just harping on this because I finally got my ADHD diagnosed/medicated, I promise.

Anyway. I used to think it was pretty misguided to have Joker be the one who killed Bruce’s parents, but I actually love how it’s deployed here. I like the scenes building up to their final confrontation where everything sort of comes to a head. I especially love the score in the scene where Batman pauses Joker’s speech before his flashback. All of this buildup really gives their confrontation a big fight feel.

Honestly while I obviously loved this as a kid I kinda soured on it when I tried to turn into more of a Serious Superhero Fan around when the Marvel Cinematic Universe was first ramping up, but every time I watch it recently I’m struck by how genuinely good it is.

(A-Rank)

Electric Dreams (Vi)

A lot of this is a really cringey romantic comedy that does really cringey romantic comedy things and made me really uncomfortable. But also it has amazing music and very silly computer logic and… well, there’s no getting around this, the ending made me sob like a little baby and I’m not sure why. So. Yeah.

I’m glad I saw this and I totally understand why this was an important movie to my fiancx when ve was young. I do wish it didn’t do those cringey romantic comedy things, though.

(C-Rank)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) (me)

Project Rewatch 8/89

I actually have much stronger memories of the second Ninja Turtles movie, I think because I watched it more often. The first one I think we just rented once or twice. And it’s not difficult to see why in retrospect because the second one is way more kid-friendly.

Still, anything and everything Ninja Turtles related was Very Important to me. And I’m only marginally more discriminating now. I love me some turtle boys.

I remember being pleasantly shocked how well this held up the first time I revisited it as an adult. And watching it again now, it’s kind of amazing what they were able to do in those suits, especially fighting. And I really appreciate the way they managed to make the Foot and especially Shredder feel genuinely threatening.

I will say that after being spoiled by having half the turtles voiced by POC and having most of the good guy human characters (including April!) in Rise of the Ninja Turtles be black, it is a little frustrating seeing how white this movie is. Black people especially didn’t get any representation except for a few background kids in the Foot Clan, and given how huge the black population of New York City is that kind of thing is always just especially glaring in movies set there.

And it’s not even just the fact that almost all the human characters (except for a few Asian baddies) with speaking roles are white, I mean the fact that the turtles are clearly supposed to be read as white, and their pop culture references skew very not just white but also weirdly adult? I can’t imagine very many children or teenagers especially related to any of it? So that’s just weird.

Still, I love my turtle boys, and this movie did a pretty good job with them! So I can’t complain too too much! Just, yknow. I’m really glad things are getting a lot better representation wise, and I super hope we get a Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie at some point.

(A-Rank)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (me)

Project Rewatch 9/89

Y’know what? This holds up a lot better than I remember it holding up the first time I revisited it! Yeah, it’s clearly rather intentionally pushing things in a more kid-friendly direction, but it’s still pretty hecking good! Like, I really get why I watched this over and over as a little kid. It gets so much right, and really brings out what’s appealing about these characters.

Alsoithassomegreatbondagejustsaying.

(A-Rank)

Batman Returns (me)

“I want to play an integral part in his degradation”

Yes hi yes please!!!!!

Project Rewatch 10/89

I already wrote a review of the film itself that I don’t think I’m ever going to top, so for this “review” I’m just gonna stick to talking about my memories/peripheral experiences around the film which is kind of one of the main reasons I’m rewatching all these childhood favorites anyway. So yeah, if that doesn’t sound interesting to you, it’s cool, please just quietly scroll on by.

This would’ve been one of the earliest films I saw in theaters, possibly the first? I can never remember if I saw Star Trek VI in theaters. If I did, that would be first.

I think my father (ugh) took me and a date to this one. I can’t remember if the date was my future stepmom or the lady he dated before her, I think probably the latter? I don’t really remember much else, as I was super young at the time. I seem to vaguely remember having to rush there from somewhere? My dad probably complained the whole time about something or other. That’s how he usually was.

After that I didn’t see this one very often, especially compared to the first one which I distinctly remember watching on VHS over and over. I vaguely remember having this one on VHS at some point though? Hmm. I do remember rewatching it at some point and being surprised when the part with the penguins dragging the Penguin to the water after he died made me cry. This was much later, maybe in high school. But yeah. Knowing that as terrible as he became, those animals were the only ones who ever really loved him, and they truly grieved his loss… that hit hard.

Although I don’t remember rewatching this much until it had been out for quite some time, I do remember a lot of the toys. I don’t remember if I had the Batmobile that comes apart (like in the movie) but I definitely had the “Custom Coupe” that has two different seats so you can put a Bruce figure in one and a Batman figure in the other and switch them to simulate Bruce changing into his costume. Adventure! I also think one of my friends at school had the Batcave Command Center but I don’t remember for sure.

I also had a bunch of the action figures. Like a regular Batman, at least one or two different color Batmans that were supposed to be for different environments, Bruce Wayne in a purple shirt (think that came with the aforementioned car), Bruce Wayne in a black shirt (this one came with pieces of a Batsuit so you could change him into Batman), Penguin (I seem to remember there being a Penguin from a different series in less boring colors–maybe purple?–that I would’ve rather had, but alas), and I think even some adorable little penguin commandos. I don’t seem to remember having Catwoman, which is a shame if true.

Oh, and I definitely had the Robin figure that weirdly came in this series. For the life of me I cannot figure out why there’s a Robin action figure for this movie, but it suggests the toy manufacturers saw the exact same gaping hole in these movies that I do. For me, Robin was always honestly even more essential than Batman. He was the one I could relate to. He was the one that made any of this make any sense. The movies/shows/comics/etc always feel so lonely without him.

Is it any wonder that it took me until I was an adult to appreciate this movie’s greatness.

… it could still use Robin, though. Batman needs Robin.

(S-Rank)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (me)

Project Rewatch 11/89

I don’t really remember much about watching this as a kid aside from the fact that I definitely did, and yeah wow is it ever not even a little memorable. Except for April in boy clothes and surprisingly a lot of closeups of turtle feet, which hi yes please in both cases.

But yeah the suits were AWFUL this time and the movie as a whole was pretty underwhelming. I know it’s a boringly uncontroversial take that this is The Bad One, but it really is.

(C-Rank)

Explorers (Vi)

I really hate when they just rush these movies out half finished and expect you to pay full price and they’re all buggy and it takes them forever to patch them and you end up needing to buy all kinds of DLC for it to even be a complete movie. And then some of them, like this one, they don’t sell well enough so they just never get around to fixing them.

(D-Rank)

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (me)

“What is this, Wonka, some kind of funhouse?”
“Why? Having fun?”

Project Rewatch 12/89

Okay, like.

Wonka designs a contest to generate a pool of children that may possibly succeed him, and what he’s looking for is an unselfish child, right? So what could possibly be the best way to make that happen?

Ooh, ooh, I know! Hiding the prize in something you can buy! Something where being able to afford to buy a whole lot of them will put you at an obvious statistical advantage! Because a process that will mostly yield privileged rich kids is clearly the best way to go about this!

… and for that matter, who the fuck is Willy Wonka to moralize about unselfishness? He owns a massive business, and really I could stop right there, but I don’t have to because he closes his factory and fires all of his workers because *checks notes* some people did some corporate espionage and it ate into his profits. And he resolved this by *checks notes again* … this can’t be right. It says here “probably enslaving the inhabitants of an island”? This guy thinks unselfishness is the highest virtue? Woof, okay.

… but also, like… it’s freaking Willy Wonka. I don’t remember how I first saw it, but I do know I watched it over and over as a small child. And its charm really hasn’t worn off in spite of me now being well aware that Willy Wonka is kind of *checks notes (this is the last time I promise)* completely hypocritical and full of shit.

But, like! Gene Wilder’s performance here is otherworldly. The way he delivers all of his catty dialogue had me literally clapping and/or cackling with delight throughout the movie. So what if he maybe possibly but probably not right surely not murdered a few children. They’re fine! I’m sure they’re fine.

… they’re fine, right?

(A-Rank)

Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer (Vi)

The timeless tail of an accidentally gay-coded little girl and her somehow even more flamboyantly gay horse (hang on, are we sure this isn’t on purpose???). Her friends include other kids who each get only one color apiece, and a drastically cooler palette-swap of herself that’s mostly purple and can summon storms and shit. They’re barely in this. But don’t worry! They needed to cede their screentime to robot horse (actually he rules, no shade) and some rainbow Megaman/Speedracer-looking prick who constantly berates her for being a girl. His name is Krys, pronounced “Chris,” presumably because they didn’t want to waste an interesting name on him. I would say that it’s pretty bold of him to be so confrontationally misogynistic while presenting so femme, but I have in fact met cis white gay men, so no real shock there.

Anyway, this band of adventurers needs to save the world from, um *checks notes* everyone literally dying of depression????? And that’s both explicitly stated and given some “show, don’t tell” narrative support??????? Holy FUCK, this is SO dark for a kids’ show, I… I… I’m out of jokes, guys!

Anyway, yeah. It’s ok. I like the horses. Go fuck yourself, Krys.

(C-Rank)

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