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When I Grow Up…

November 9, 2012

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It’s been somewhat of a mixed week. There have been a turn of events that were a bit sobering (to varying degrees), both directly involving me and of those around me. But rather than dwell on those things, I’m going to jump back to a simpler, happier time: my childhood. Specifically I’m going to list (in no particular order) some of the films that were very influential on me, however brief or elongated it may have lasted.

  1. Rad

    This film made biking the coolest thing in the world. After seeing this film (and developing a crush on Lori Laughlin before she became Aunt Becky), I started trying to jump my bike, racing down hills, standing on the handlebars and basically every other action that would have horrified my mother had she known. All without a helmet, of course, cause no-one wore those things in the 80s and 90s. Rad!

  2. Airborne

    Eventually I moved past the silliness of the world of BMX, right into the extreme fad of in-line skates! (Seriously, where did they go?) Once again, I embarked on a campaign against safety in the name of cool. I still have some scars from this phase to prove it. Also, I snuck my rollerblades on a field trip so I could re-enact the above scene – Mrs. McKenna was less than pleased.
  3. Transformers

    Oh, I’d be lying to you if I told you Optimus Prime and the Autobots did not leave a lasting mark on my heart as a youth. For it was this epic sacrificial fight against Megatron (set to Stan Bush’s “The Touch”) that helped lay the groundwork for me being able to grasp the gospel later on in my youth. I learned that the good fight is not an easy fight, and that Love has a cost. Yep, I just took it there.
  4. Newsies

    Before you give me grief about loving a musical about paperboys during the industrial revolution, allow me to say that I-don’t-care. This movie was randomly inspirational for me, teaching me about the power of numbers and the value in persistence in a battle of the greater good. Plus, it was fun to sing along to, OK? I ADMIT IT. And there is the bonus of seeing what Batman was like in his youth.
  5. Jurassic Park

    This iconic scene when Dr. Grant first sees the CGI behemoths of a time forgotten blew my mind so hard that I’m pretty sure brain was mixed in with my snot the next time I sneezed. My eyes got so big that… well, they looked open for once, which is saying a lot for me. You can’t laugh at that if you’re not Asian… racist. Anyway, I digress. The following two years had me toiling away to learn as much as possible about archaeology. You try telling your immigrant Korean mother that you want to be an archeologist when you grow up – the sheer look of confusion will be worth it.
  6. 3 Ninjas Kick Back

    I enjoyed the first movie, so I asked my parents to take me to this sequel. I remember, very vividly, watching the above scene at the theater and thinking “What.The.Fudgecicle”. They were in Japan but the soundtrack was blasting the Godfather of K-Pop, Seo Taiji! Oh, the travesty! It suddenly dawned on me that there was so much misinformation and ignorance regarding Asians and Asian-American culture. Perhaps it was at this time that the seeds were planted for what would eventually become
  7. Aladdin

    This is my favorite Disney animated film, hands down (like 6:30 HARHARHAR). Many will cry blasphemy, exclaiming their allegiance to either team Lion King, or perhaps team Beauty and the Beast – but neither had the effect on me that this film did. Themes of identity, trust, sacrifice, friendship, free will, and the idea that we don’t always know what’s best, was all wrapped up in sharp animation and a brilliant soundtrack. No, really. I learned how to play “A Whole New World” on the piano. Long story short, I can’t wait for this film to come out on Blu-ray.

Aaaaaand. That’s enough for now. I’m sure I’m looking at all of these through the warmly hazed lens of nostalgia (besides 3 Ninjas), but I can’t deny their random influence on me as a kid. The 80’s and 90’s were an interesting time but these movies made an entertaining snapshot of the culture that shaped me (to a point). For any of these films (once again, besides 3 Ninjas), I would not hesitate to watch again at any given moment. It’s a shame these aren’t the type of films you’d be able to catch on TV very often.

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