The Karate Kid

1984 classic

Rating: 18/20

Plot: Daniel moves to California, gets in a fight over a boom box, and is bullied by skeletons. His apartment's handyman, a mysterious Japanese man, decides to teach him karate for a chance to win a trophy and his dignity.

After watching this for the first time in far too long (Note: I'm thinking of making a monthly viewing mandatory.), the new one with the Fresh Prince's daughter pisses me off even more. This one is about perfect, its only flaw being that it was made in the 1980s and therefore has the feel of a movie from the 1980s. I was deathly ill when I watched this but still managed to scribble down some notes. Here they are:

1) Ah, the joy of push-starting your car with trumpet fanfare in the background.

2) What's going on with Freddy Fernandez's shirt? "Makin' bacon"? I totally want one of those, and I'm using it as an excuse to use my bestiality tag. With that shirt, it's obvious that this guy is too cool for Daniel.

3) That old lady from Jersey with a nose for her own? Is it just me or does this foreshadow America's current obsession with people from New Jersey? Does this note even make any sense?

4) Pat Morita turns around--it's another of those iconic movie moments that make an indelible impression on the mind.

5) Love the rapport between Miyagi and Daniel. Morita's broken Yoda English and Macchio's Jersey accent clash and compliment each other so perfectly in this movie.

6) I'm so glad Daniel wore his nicest jean shorts and muscle shirt to the beach party. No matter Elizabeth Shue wants him. It's love at first sight of those jean shorts and muscle shirt.

7) "You sure pick cool people to be friends with, Freddy. Where's you find this guy?" Yeah, I'd expect more from a guy with a "Makin' bacon" t-shirt, too. But c'mon, beach partiers. Didn't you see Daniel playing soccer earlier?

8) Macchio really knows how to rock a pair of sweat pants. Actually, the costume people for this should have been fired. Macchio's so good in this movie, and I can only assume that his character's fashion choices had everything to do with his career not really going anywhere after the Karate Kid movies. Camouflage pants with a plaid shirt? Who dreamed that one up?

9) Pain, fear, defeat. Those are things that don't exist in that dojo. Of course, that was before the Cobra Kai sensei heard that Joe Esposito song.

10) Ralph Macchio was in his late-40s when he starred in this, but he looks half the age of his "peers." That alone should have made the Academy consider him for Best Actor. Am I wrong?

11) "I hate this freakin' bike!" That scene should have sealed it.

12) Daniel's charming, a guy who knows to smell his pits before approaching his girl.

13) Miyagi words of wisdom:

"If [tree picture] comes from inside you, always the right one."
"To make honey, bee need young flower, not old prune."
"Revenge--start by digging two grave."
"In Okinawa, belt mean no need rope to hold up pants."
"Walk on the left side, safe. Walk on the right side, safe. Walk in the middle, squash like grape."
"Man who catch fly with chopstick accomplish anything."
"First learn stand; then learn fly."
"Trust the quality of what you know, not quantity."
"A license never replace eye, ear, and brain."

14) If there's a costume contest at the Halloween dance, the shower curtain wins. Yes, the matching skeletons are pretty bitchin', but that's like seven guys who all look the same. There's only one guy dressed up as a shower curtain. Can you imagine dressing as a shower and showing up to a party only to find somebody else dressed as a shower? That's a scenario that can only end in one way--murder/suicide.

15) Ok, so why does Daniel go to the Halloween dance incognito to avoid the bullies after successfully avoiding them at school and then pull that stunt with the water? That makes no sense whatsoever. He flees the scene; a kid dressed as Spiderman asks, "Hey, Johnny. What's up?"; and Daniel causes a car accident. That water stunt was no good, Daniel-san.

16) "Check out this chicken. He's wild." That's what happens when you let Ralph Macchio ad-lib.

17) Miyagi kicking ass! That foggy atmosphere. Throw in some Japanese flute.

18) Did you know that Mifune was very nearly Mr. Miyagi. Yes, it's hard to think of anybody else in that role, but think about that one for a while.

19) Hard to imagine anybody but Ralph Macchio in the titular role as well, even if it's a little black girl who happens to be the daughter of a rapper. Macchio's just so natural in this character, and the dialogue and the whole learning karate stuff just feels so right.

20) You have to love 1980's insults. "It must be take a worm for a walk week." "She must like fungus." "You're dead meat!" If I had a dollar every time I said "You're dead meat!" as a kid, I'd have something like fifty cents.

21) Why do they all pile in the front seat of the station wagon? A station wagon is the closest thing to a limousine without being a limousine. That's just my opinion, of course, but prove me wrong. Love how Daniel's mom says "Pop it!"

22) "Pop it!" That and the perfect timing with the "Hi, kids!" when she picks Daniel and Shue up from their date at the go-kart and bounce house place (Forty-year-old Macchio must feel ridiculous in that bounce house) make me wonder if Mother Larusso is a MILF or not.

23) Those training methods: Wax on/Wax off, sanding the floor, painting chores. This shit will be imitated forever but never duplicated. And that scene where Daniel discovers that he's been learning defense all along is such a beautiful moment. I'm not ashamed to admit that it brought on the tears, kind readers.

24) That clapping/healing thing. I once did that to my own testicles when, during a soccer game during recess, I was accidentally struck in the under-carriage. I did it for the rest of the day.

25) The crane. Oh, man. If you're my age and didn't imitate that over and over again in 1984-85, then you probably didn't have legs.

26) I really like the way Miyagi goes "Ut ut ut ut" to correct Daniel-san.

27) "Kindly do it yourself, Mr. Moto."

28) 1980's stereotyping of the rich: They play tennis, dance in country clubs, laugh at kids who had spaghetti dumped all over them.

29) Miyagi refers to his wife as a "damn good cane cutter." Is that a euphemism? Nevermind, I already know the answer to that.

30) That tear down inebriated Miyagi's cheek! Maybe it's just because I'm ill, but I can't handle the emotions in The Karate Kid. I remember being so bored with this scene as a kid though. The whole thing seemed pointless, but it all adds so much depth to that character. So touching.

31) Mr. Miyagi trash talk: "What's the matter? You some kind of girl or something?"

32) I'm torn up again during the birthday party. "Number 1 present" brings more tears. And this exchange:

"You're the best friend I ever had."
"You pretty ok, too."

33) Winner of the first match in open division: Rufus Snyder.

34) Oh, holy shit! Here it comes. If I could have stood up without vomiting, there's no way I would have stayed on the couch once Joe Esposito's "You're the Best. . .Around" came on. Greatest montage ever!

35) "Go get him, Johnny!" This really needed an "Attaboy, Luther!" instead. Somebody does manage to slip in a "Hey, Johnny, you're a cream puff" during a silent moment.

36) "Daniel Larusso's gonna fight? Daniel Larusso's gonna fight!" I don't care what you say--that is one of the most magical movie moments of all time.

37) "Get him a body bag! Yeeeeeaaaaahhhhh!" And then "Daniel Larusso's gonna fight!" is immediately surpassed by one of the greatest lines in movie history. Rob Garrison should win some kind of lifetime achievement award for that.

38) Mr. Miyagi's face before the credits role. Somebody put that shot on a poster!


Anonymous said...

Rats ass here.. Be sure to notice the fog machines in the chase scene after the school dance

Anonymous said...

Also...again rats ass...check out you tube for the music video "Sweep The Leg" by No More Kings

cory said...

Macchio and Morita are effortlessly perfect in their roles, and I would give this 10 bonus points for Elizabeth Shue and her ideal girl in 1984. Also an 18 from me.