Since the announcement that Ralph Macchio would be appearing on this coming season of Dancing with the Stars, I've felt a joy and anticipation the likes of which I've never known before! I jumped off my couch and hopped around in circles, my head thrown back in blissful laughter! It's times like those I'm extra glad I live alone. Some of you may know this about me already, but I have a profound love for the original Karate Kid films. Like really and truly LOVE them. As in, if I were stranded on a desert island and could only take five movies with me, The Karate Kid parts I and II would be two of them. Many people have doubted and even questioned my regard for these remarkable movies, saying, "When you say you love the Karate Kid movies, it's a joke, right? You're just trying to sound silly and unexpected. Who honestly LOVES The Karate Kid movies?" I have to reply that honestly, those films move me. I laugh, I cry, I fear, I get goosebumps, and I always feel happy after I've watched it.
My love for these movies started when I was very young. I remember going to my grandma's house when I was a little kid and my aunt, who was a teenager at the time, watched those movies. I distinctly remember the part in Karate Kid part II when Kumiko is doing the tea ceremony with Daniel-san. The image of her beautiful, graceful hands was burned in my psyche for years to come. Jump now to my junior year of high school. I hadn't seen the movies for years. My awareness of them had all but faded away. My fellow movie-loving friend Robin and I were browsing at the video rental store. I walked past the Karate Kid movies and stopped short. Just seeing the covers brought back a flood of memories and adoration. We had to rent them! Thus we did and there was no going back. From that point, they became our constant study. They were our go-to choices for weekend movie nights. We went so far as to choreograph a short routine using Mr. Miyagi's defensive techniques (we were the coolest kids in school, too). We brought others into our obsession. I successfully dared one of my friends to come to school in Daniel garb: A baseball T-shirt layered under a small-plaid shirt, tucked into camo pants. That was one of the best days of my life to date.
For my eighteenth birthday I wanted nothing else but the trilogy on VHS and my mom obliged. I just about wore those things out over the next couple of years until it was released as a DVD box set. I went to the Wal-Marts at midnight the day it was to come out. To my shock, there was no line of eager Karate Kid fans to compete with. In fact, I had to ask the guy at the counter to bring them out of the back. He rolled them out, opened the box and handed me the top copy. I skipped through the aisles with elation! I wept the day Pat Morita died. I can quote nearly every line. I can whistle along with the music. I've seen every continuity error. I know every character. I can't even guess at this point how many times I've seen it. Not even an estimate. A billion, maybe.
Whenever I get into rough patches in my life I think about Mr. Miyagi training Daniel with hard work that seems to have no purpose but to make him suffer. I remember that I am, in fact, learning something bigger and greater that I could never learn otherwise.
I guess the point for me telling you all this is to encourage you to revisit the original movies if you haven't seen them in a while. I promise you'll enjoy them! Listen closely for hidden gem movie lines. They are alternately hilarious and profoundly wise. My love is real and I want you to throw off all constraints and preconceived notions you may have and give them a shot! You won't regret it! Annnnd... I feel like a used car salesman.
To give you a little push in the right direction, here's a little list of my favorite lines and behind-the-scenes info you might enjoy!
Mr. Miyagi: To make honey, young bee need young flower. Not old prune.
Tommy: Must be take a worm for a walk week!
Mr. Miyagi: Never put passion before principle.
Fact: The fight choreographer for the films also plays the main referee in Part I and the beginning of part II. He's also the silhouette you see doing the crane technique on the stump on the beach.
Ali's friend, Susan: She must be into fungus.
Mr. Miyagi: Walk on road right side, safe. Walk on left side, safe. Walk middle, get squished just like grape.
Tommy: Take a right! Check it out!
Fact: The music that mean nephew turns on in the car when he picks up Miyagi and Daniel from the airport in part II is the same music Ali dances with Johnny with at the country club in part I.
Someone somewhere in the stands: Johnny! You're a cream puff!
Fact: Part I features the worst first kiss in movie history brought to you by Daniel and Ali. A dead give away that they would never work out.
Mr. Miyagi: In Okinawa, belt mean no need rope hold up pants!
P.S. Vote for Ralph!!!