The Karate Kid (1984)
Still not getting out for more than work or the grocery store? Me neither. Despite the 150+ million Americans who have received their COVID shots, we’re still not all the way back yet.
Considering the depressing state of socialization since the coronavirus pandemic it’s important to find sources of smiles, laughter, and entertainment—That’s why you come to 5280 Geek.
For our mental and emotional stability we must allow for the loosening of our self and world expectations, as well as of our to-do lists and day planners. I’m allowing myself to watch more TV and to play more games.
This week I revisited a couple of vintage films, The Karate Kid and Candyman—it’s crazy to even call these two movies old, but the younger of the two, Candyman, was released thirty years ago next year. Crazy indeed!
The Karate Kid and Candyman are two twentieth century flicks that took pop culture by storm. They still resonate in our collective psyche and lexicon. Who hasn’t said Candyman’s name in the mirror five times or attempted a crane kick on someone at least once in their life?
With Cobra Kai in its third season on Netflix and an upcoming Jordan Peele written and produced Candyman due to release at the end of summer, it’s crucial to rewatch the originals. I want to remember why they are so well regarded and what makes them stand up to the test of time.
First up, Candyman. . .
For those born after the millennium, or anyone too squeamish for horror movies, Candyman is the story of the boogeyman haunting the Cabrini Green housing projects of Chicago.
The movie is told through the perspective of an upper-crust white graduate student as she attempts to infiltrate the hood to write her thesis debunking the urban legend. After saying “Candyman” five times in the mirror, things don’t go according to plan.
Candyman is still a high quality scare flick, especially considering its age. It’s compelling yet easy to follow, and scary as hell. Virginia Madsen plays the scream queen perfectly and Tony Todd is exceptional as the murderous title character.
Aside from the racially stereotypical pimp coat Candyman wears–and the obvious plot hole as to its origin– director and script writer Bernard Rose delivers on Clive Barker’s spooky story. Candyman brings social commentary along with plenty of moments that make viewers jump and cringe.
The only problem with the film as viewed today in 2021 is that it took a white author, a white director, and a gorgeous white lead to bring the first mainstream black horror movie character to mass consciousness. This seems indicative as to how things used to be, and in many ways still are, in Hollywood.
We’ll touch on this some more with The Karate Kid.
The Karate Kid dropped eight years prior to Candyman. Due to its younger target audience and feel good story it still resonates even more.
Like Candyman, The Karate Kid still rocks! Ralph Macchio’s portrayal of a wimpy New Jersey kid displaced in a strange land of hunky Karate bullies is as good as it ever was. Of course, Pat Morita’s traditionally minded Mr. Miyagi is still one of the greatest characters in film history.
To this day Mr. Miyagi clapping his hands and rubbing them together to fix Daniel San’s ails stands out as one of the most magical moments in all of cinema. . .and it was so simplistic. Pure genius!
Ironically, I thought I could get my kid to watch The Karate Kid with me, but after watching the preview they told me they aren’t interested—kids today!
My only complaint about The Karate Kid coincides with my earlier one regarding Candyman. Should it have taken a white writer, a white academy award winning director, a white Karate expert, and another white lead character to bring a film about such a rich Japanese art and culture to the American psyche?
At least it isn’t about kung fu and doesn’t take place in China. . .
The Karate Kid and Candyman were both fantastic films despite their racial incongruence within modern society. I’m also certain the bullying in the former and the stalking in latter would be more taboo in filmmaking today. But like so much art throughout history, both movies are expressions of the eras and generations they were created in.
Everyone knows “Wax on, wax off.” Just like everybody remembers those creepy ass bees. It’s because of these Cobra Kai and Candyman can be resurrected today. If you haven’t seen either of these original intellectual properties it’s past time to correct that. The Karate Kid and Candyman are secure in our cultural lexicon for great reason.
We hope you enjoyed this flashback to the way back with us. If you have thoughts on either film or their social implications in the modern world please let us know using the comments button below.
And if you enjoyed this and know someone who is a fan of either film, please share the article with them. Otherwise, we’ll see you on the next Your Quarter’s Worth.
Written by John Andreula
Edited by Kodid Laraque-Two Elk