Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Karate Kid

I was in limbo during the summer of 1984. My mom had taken a job in Green Bay, and as soon as our house in Appleton sold, we would be moving. It was only 30 miles, but at the time, it felt like we were moving to another continent.

There wasn't a lot of fanfare when The Karate Kid came out that June. I can still vividly remember the first time I heard about it. I was playing Dig Dug at Open Pantry. The kids next to me were playing Joust, and they were talking about this great movie they'd seen, The Karate Kid.

I'm not going to lie, I was obsessed with The Karate Kid that summer and fall. I'm not even sure how many times I saw it in the theater, but it was a lot. It got to the point where my friends started greeting me by asking when I was going to see it again. The Karate Kid wasn't just a movie for me, it was like a sign of things to come. I had no doubt in my mind that a bunch of thugs would routinely attack me upon my arrival in Green Bay. I wasn't very familiar with the demographics of Green Bay, but I was sure there had to be at least one old Japanese guy who could train me in martial arts. Thankfully, I fared a lot better than Daniel LaRusso when we finally moved. I know it sounds ridiculous, but The Karate Kid helped me make the transition, and for that, it remains one of my all-time favorites.

Last summer some friends gave me a box set of The Karate Kid movies for my 40th birthday. I've watched all the movies with the girls, well, the first three anyway, sorry Hilary Swank, and I'm proud to say they love The Karate Kid as much as Dad. Not much makes me happier than watching the girls do the crane. Sharing The Karate Kid with the girls is one of those things that makes being a Dad special.

We went to see the new Karate Kid on Sunday, with the same friends who gave me the box set actually, and I have to admit, it's good. A bit long, but definitely worth seeing. Jackie Chan is excellent, and surprisingly, Jaden Smith didn't irritate me. I still think he's too young for the part, but he did a nice job. The girls enjoyed it too, but this morning at breakfast they told me they like the original better. I had to smile, my thoughts exactly.


  1. Nice. I have similar memories and fond recollections of practicing the Crane with my friends in the yard. I moved a few hundred miles geographically and about 10,000 miles in difference in culture (Texas to very liberal) soon after seeing the film. I took martial arts because of this movie and, yes, I did get in fights in my new town as the new kid.

    Remember, "Always look eye!"

  2. Oh, take a look at my photo, which is definitely right around that time.

  3. Thanks Tim for that insight into the movie. I did not know you thought it was so great. I loved it too. "Wax on , Wax off" Did I tell you I met Pat Moriarty in Carson City during a Nevada Day parade. I was up by my nail place; it was very cold oct 31st and he had been on a float. Came by and slipped into the nail salon. He was short and a quiet man. I said hello and how much I loved his Mr. Miagi. he smiled and went to the john. Probably had to go really bad and thought, oh no not another fan right now!
    Everyone should have a Mr. Miaghi!!! great slice of life. I know moving to Green baY WAS SOOOOOOOOOOOO HARD FOR YOU KIDS. tURNED OUT PRETTY GOOD TYHOUGH. tHAT DAY YOU THREE WALKWD into your school made me feel so bad because I know what it is l;ike being the new kid on the block. You all did fine. great writing. You are such a terrific DAD............. MOM

  4. I'm a girl of the 80's who is really wanting to see the new Karate Kid. Is the old one still better?