+ Recommended – NR, Comedy (9 minutes)
Have you ever wondered how Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was pitched? Well, here is live footage from the very first pitch meeting! No not really, but it would make for a very cool documentary that I would seek out. What we have here, however, is a parody on how that meeting came to be in the 80s. It’s a lot more fun than you’d think and maybe not quite as clever as it wishes, though there are some punch-lines that had me on the floor (you’ll know what I am talking about when you watch).
The look and feel of the 80s, or at least what we’ve come to expect from the retro-aesthetic, is fully realized by the cinematography from Brain Morgan and the production design. On the topic of costumes, Italian Turtles, and more specifically, Mary Ortega, avoids the common exaggeration—overly expressive outfits—in favor of simplicity. Casual set pieces, decorated for the time period, often are just that; it is a good thing that they become almost unnoticeable. Writer-director Vin Nucatola establishes his shots, firmly, in a static position for a more “assembly” feel. After all, the short takes place in a corporate office.
Perhaps the greatest achievement, though, is the casting: all of the actors fully realize their characters (even with limited screen time). Kevin (Nick Piacente) and Peter (Chris D’Amato) are the best-buddy duo that you can’t help but cheer for as they ploy for acceptance. Timothy J. Cox, who plays the pivotal antagonist, John Handy, has a grasp on comedy that can often be difficult to execute. You really get the sense that his character is the one that Kevin and Nick have to convince, and thus confirms to the audience that Italian Turtles has a valid conflict that needs to be resolved by the end.
And at a mere nine minutes, is there any reason you can’t make time for this? These are the types of projects that should be attempted more: have fun with your ideas, while still approaching your filmmaking technique with a certain level of creativity. Take a bold swing and look to the places where others aren’t. Even with the simplistic nature of Italian Turtles, it’s something special because of how refreshing it is. I highly suggest you give this film a chance.
A link to the film: https://vimeo.com/289988552