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Angelina’s 80’s Archive: The Karate Kid

If you’re anything like me, you’re throwing a few fun-size candy bars in your pocket/purse/backpack today while you hit the road to shop Target’s discount Halloween section. As we mourn the end of Spooky Season this weekend (long live Spooky Season), it is only right to celebrate our second and last Halloween movie – The Karate Kid. It’s probably not the first movie you think of when you think Halloween, but I believe this Ralph Macchio classic is perfect for the current transitional season between holidays. So, without further ado, your Bitchin’ Bio:

Release date: July 5, 1984

Synopsis: New Jersey teen and karate enthusiast Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) is reluctantly moved across the country when his mother, Lucille (Randee Heller) gets a new job in California. Invited to a beach party on the day he arrives in Los Angeles, Daniel meets Ali (Elizabeth Shue) and the two immediately hit it off, angering Ali’s ex-boyfriend, Johnny (William Zabka), who begins to antagonize Daniel with the help of his friends and their extensive karate training. Daniel determines he has to train at a real dojo but finds out upon visiting Cobra Kai that the same kids who beat him up make up many the dojo’s students. Eventually, a wise maintenance man named Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) agrees to train the newly insecure Daniel in preparation for the All Valley Karate Tournament, where he will face off against the Cobra Kai. Mr. Miyagi’s methods may seem odd, but they teach Daniel a great deal about love, life, and the true meaning of karate.

Degrees of Kevin Bacon: 1. Elizabeth Shue and Bacon co-starred in Hollow Man (2000).

Come for: “Wax on, wax off,” of course. But also the Halloween dance (I told you this was a Halloween movie!), which provides us with such iconic costumes as these:

And THIS:

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Stay for: Ali’s toughness and complete honesty and the heartfelt, emotional backstory of Mr. Miyagi, made particularly poignant by Pat Morita’s stellar acting, which earned him an Oscar nomination for this role.

Had I seen it? Yes. I saw and enjoyed this movie when I was younger, but within the past year or so, it has become one of me and my younger sister’s absolute favorite movies to watch together. We love it so much that I recently ordered us the Karate Kid box set in preparation for watching YouTube’s Cobra Kai series.

Do I like it? My previous answer may have given this away, but in case it didn’t, here’s one of my costumes for this year:

In other words, yes.

The Karate Kid is a wonderful movie, with fabulous performances and strong morals. Daniel’s humorous rapport with his mother early in the movie always makes me laugh, and his charming performance overall makes it no wonder Ralph Macchio was chosen for the role. The relationship between Ali and Daniel has an added layer in its portrayal of the problem of class differences, which is an important thread throughout the movie, and Mr. Miyagi’s advice about balance will always be applicable. In the end, The Karate Kid will leave you in a good mood, hopefully helping you get in that last ounce of Halloween before the Christmas obsession overtakes Thanksgiving.

Thank you for joining me, and don’t forget that “You’re the best… AROUND!”

Join me next week on our next stop on this Ralph Macchio journey: Francis Ford Coppola’s The Outsiders.

 

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Angelina is a senior at BU, studying English in the College of Arts and Sciences, with a focus on Shakespeare. She is from Somerville, MA. In addition to writing for HCBU, Angelina is the Director of BU On Broadway Off Broadway and has been involved with theater through BU Shakespeare Society, Wandering Minds, and Stage Troupe. Outside of school, she enjoys dancing, music, baking, and movie marathons. Her pop culture heart lives in the 1980's.
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