Lion of the Blogosphere

That Karate Kid (1984)

I was recommended this movie by readers. Once again, I was led astray. This movie sucks. Corny, all of the characters are unidimensional archetypes, and in some cases more like parodies of unidimensional archetypes. That’s certainly the case for Arnold from Happy Days who is turned into a parody of the wise Asian with an overdone Japanese accent.

Ralph Macchio was actually 22 years old when this movie was filmed, but he looks convincingly like a little guido kid. When he’s with Elisabeth Shue (who was 20 at the time), he looks way too young for her.

Only scenes worth watching:

(1) Bananarama song Cruel Summer plays while Ralph Macchio goes to his first day at his new school.

(2) Ralph Macchio goes on the cutest date ever with Elisabeth Shue. Middle-aged heterosexual men aren’t supposed to say “cutest date ever,” but I don’t know how else to describe it.

For really good eighties movies, here are my recommendations:

St. Elmo’s Fire
Wall Street
Back to the Future (only the first movie)
The Breakfast Club

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 11, 2018 at EDT pm

Posted in Movies

82 Responses

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  1. Wall Street is a great movie, as is Back to the Future. However, Shue is only in the dreadful sequels, not the original.

    ScarletNumber

    May 11, 2018 at EDT pm

    • Oops!

    • Wall Street is an interesting movie but the rest of these are really dumb crap for teenagers. Who cares. Believe it or not, they made some good movies in the 80s not targeted at teenyboppers.

      bobbybobbob

      May 11, 2018 at EDT pm

      • Back to the Future is legitimately brilliant.

        Magnavox

        May 11, 2018 at EDT pm

    • She was also in Adventures in Babysitting (1987):

      I had kind of a childhood crush on her:

      Stan Adams

      May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

  2. If you need a good 1980’s movie, try this. (Something Wild, 1986)

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091983/

    Patrick

    May 11, 2018 at EDT pm

    • I thought 16 Candles was the best of the John Hughes movies. Anthony Michael Hall was hilarious.
      I am also a fan of Judge Reinhold. Fast Times at Ridgemont High was very funny (Ray Walston is a funny man and his interaction with Sean Penn was classic). I also really liked the now obscure Ruthless People. I never understood why Reinhold’s career went into the crapper. Both Rob Reiner (Princess Bride, Spinal Tap) and Woody Allen(Radio Days) made their best movies in the 1980’s. Eddie Murray’s 1980’s movies (Trading Places and 48 Hours) were also excellent. In Fact even Nicolas Cage made a good movie in that era (Moonstruck).

      Larry, San Francisco

      May 11, 2018 at EDT pm

      • Eddie Murphy was brilliant–maybe even genius–in the 80s. He hasn’t done anything worthwhile since then, though.

        Also Coming to America is good.

        GondwanaMan

        May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

      • +1 on Sixteen Candles. How anybody rated TBC or Pretty in Pink higher is a mystery for the ages. For other readers, was there really that level of hostility between cliques when you were in high school? That wasn’t my experience (and I was in a third tier clique at best). Both movies’ obsessive focus on social hierarchy got old fast. Fast Times is good unless you read the book first. They did what they could to compress the story into two hours, but the movie just doesn’t do it justice. If you have a chance to read it, do; it’s a classic, and the definitive work on the high school experience in suburban California. Ruthless People is one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. Speaking of funny, Airplane is probably the best movie the 80s produced.

        J1

        May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

    • I thought Something Wild was excellent, too.

      Ray Liotta was incredible.

      gothamette

      May 12, 2018 at EDT am

  3. I saw this in the theater when I was 6. For the rest of my life since then, I’ve aspired to be a warrior like Ralph Macchio. Probably wouldn’t be a very good movie if I saw it now.

    Greg Pandatshang

    May 11, 2018 at EDT pm

  4. Karate Kid was a classic. It’s weird that you’d never seen it before and odd that you didn’t like it.

    As far as the best/most re-watchable movies of the ’80s, Moonstruck has to be at or near the top of that list.

    Dave Pinsen

    May 11, 2018 at EDT pm

  5. What about Taps?

    ttgy1

    May 11, 2018 at EDT pm

  6. Most people really can’t separate how they felt about a movie as a kid from the experience of viewing it as an intelligent adult.

    Magnavox

    May 11, 2018 at EDT pm

    • Not sure what you mean by eighties movie, but the best movie released in the 1980s is probably Raging Bull.

      Magnavox

      May 11, 2018 at EDT pm

      • Or maybe the Akira Kurosawa film Ran

        Magnavox

        May 11, 2018 at EDT pm

      • Violent Cop.

        City On Fire.

        bobbybobbob

        May 11, 2018 at EDT pm

      • Raging Bull is good. So are:
        Thief
        Body Heat
        Beaches (you probably won’t like it)
        Terminator
        Robocop
        American Gigolo
        Angel Heart

        Actually some of these I still need to finish watching…

        GondwanaMan

        May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

      • My God…I hate Raging Bull.

        Martin Scorsese never fails to express his hatred of Italians in his movies.

        He can go to hell.

        map

        May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

    • “Most people really can’t separate how they felt about a movie as a kid from the experience of viewing it as an intelligent adult.”

      You’ll never have that problem.

      gothamette

      May 12, 2018 at EDT am

      • Hahaaaa Gammavox is pwned

        driveallnight

        May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

      • Gothamette, as a fellow “lioness” you know I like you and feel a bond with you, so I hate to be critical. But that was little mean, don’t you think?

        maryk

        May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

      • I really don’t, maryk.

        Still love ya.

        gothamette

        May 13, 2018 at EDT am

  7. Made in ’91, but Other People’s Money with Danny Devito. Close enough to the 80’s.

    Someone

    May 11, 2018 at EDT pm

  8. Clean tackle in that soccer game. Ralph is the asshole.

    bobbybobbob

    May 11, 2018 at EDT pm

    • An obvious satire but true nonetheless. Daniel was no victim. He was at least half the problem.

      destructure

      May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

  9. I loved it as a kid, but now I find it unwatchable. The whole “exotic foreigner” teaching the ignorant Westerner is overdone to the point of parody.

    Why didn’t he just take boxing classes? Lots of famous Italian boxers.

    Mr. Frosty

    May 11, 2018 at EDT pm

    • Oh yeah just what we need, more guidos

      driveallnight

      May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

      • Why not? You seem to like this one!

        maryk

        May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

  10. Perhaps you waxed on, but forgot to wax off.

    The pathetically fake fight scene at the end was worth the price of admission. Also the phrase “sweep the legs” shouted when you are trying to make a sadistic point.

    Joe

    May 12, 2018 at EDT am

  11. Airplane!
    Who framed Roger Rabbit
    The Naked Gun
    Little shop of Horrors
    Repo Man
    Trading Places (ok it’s anti-HBD)
    This is Spinal Tap (ok its got Rob Reiner)

    Dave

    May 12, 2018 at EDT am

  12. No mention of Alien, Predator, or Robocop? Lion needs to turn in his mane.

    Panther of the Blogocube

    May 12, 2018 at EDT am

    • Aliens, Commando, Terminator!

      Tarl

      May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

    • RoboCop is quite possibly my all time favorite movie ending.

      Jokah Macpherson

      May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

  13. The movie is profound. The karate master is based on a real person who was really like that and put Okinawa Karate on the map, so to speak. Paint the fence.

    ‘The Breakfast Club’ is a simple story of US schools in a ‘class’ by itself in some sort of timeless universe. Interesting contrasted to ‘The Student Torless.’

    Robert

    May 12, 2018 at EDT am

  14. A good suggestion for an eighties movie is Mixed Blood. From 1984, it is about ethnic gangs selling drugs and killing rivals on the streets of NYC.

    Roli

    May 12, 2018 at EDT am

  15. Also:

    An Officer and a Gentleman, 1982
    Top Gun, 1986
    Casualties of War, 1989

    E. Rekshun

    May 12, 2018 at EDT am

  16. Go on, Lion:

    IHTG

    May 12, 2018 at EDT am

    • I just watched the first episode. Wouldn’t call it genius but it’s well paced, entertaining and rife with 80s references for lion.

      toomanymice

      May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

    • Karate Kid is pretty bad. But Cobra Kai is amazing and highly recommended. It deconstructs a bunch of the tropes in Karate Kid itself. Binged on it. Johnny Lawrence and Daniel Larusso play characters w/ gray morality rather than unidimensional characters.

      ericsonmichaelj

      May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

    • I started watching, and I’m liking it so far. Perhaps I’m getting more and more cynical with age, but Johnny’s aggressive, politically incorrect approach to life makes more sense now.

      markus

      May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

  17. Why no Pretty in Pink? If I remember correctly, the Duckie character tried to beat up the mean guy and promptly got a one sided beat down, the molly ringwald character ended up with the andrew mccarthy character instead of Duckie despite all of his white knighting, the record store clerk in the end realized she was better off with the boring conservative type than all the bad boys and willingly chose stability over schlongs. This movie came out in 1986 and is just as subversive today as it was then. Young people would do well to learn the lessons of this red pill masterpiece.
    Karate Kid is bullshido nonsense.

    EzE

    May 12, 2018 at EDT am

  18. The quintessential 80s movie to me is Cocktail. That is peak Tom Cruise

    Two in the Bush

    May 12, 2018 at EDT am

  19. Also Die Hard which I consider one of the greatest films of all time.

    Two in the Bush

    May 12, 2018 at EDT am

  20. As I said here 2 years ago when we discussed this, I fail to understand why nobody loves Desperately Seeking Susan as I do. That said, there’s a good case to be made that the quintessential ’80s movie was Beverly Hills Cop. Kind of surprised no one’s mentioned it. By the way, nobody wins fights on the streets wth Karate moves. T’a the myth that just won’t die.

    Marty

    May 12, 2018 at EDT am

  21. Talking about guidos on this blog is now becoming as outdated as Ralph Macheteo.

    When was the last time you saw him in Hollywood without Mr. Miyagi? The same fate has taken hold on Scott Baio and guidettes like Alyssa Milano. IAs who just fell flat with their acting careers. It must be the surname and the Italian phenotype.

    JS

    May 12, 2018 at EDT am

    • JS, the three actors you mentioned here are all very good looking. Their Italian phenotype isn’t holding them back. If I had my choice to look like any other woman in the world, I might choose Alyssa Milano. Millions of girls in the 1970’s and 80’s had crushes on Scott Baio. And as I wrote, Macchio is gorgeous. He also married his teenage sweetheart in 1987 and is still with her. He was introduced to her at 15 by his grandmother – she was a local guidette girl who ended up becoming a nurse. Their marriage produced two children (one, a daughter, is now an actress.) He apparently didn’t succumb to the allures of Hollywood babes like Baio did. This story warms my heart!

      maryk

      May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

      • Again, I want to reiterate that Meriprolestan is run by a Northern European majority and thus it favors the Nordic and Alpine phenotype over the Medish phenotype (Mediterranean/Southern European look).

        By now, you should by know that I’m Pro-Med and somewhat Anti-Nordic. Despite my guido comments, IA women from the Northeast are the most attractive. Brunettes with medium features and skin tone are the prettiest in my opinion.

        And yes, Alyssa Milano isn’t “White” enough for Hollywood, despite being physically attractive during her prime. She belongs in the Latin world.

        In Québec, there a lot of “Mediterranean” types and it favors this phenotype over the Nordic French Canadian as the more attractive phenotype. And Québec is overall more aesthetically pleasing and culturally superior to Anglo based North America, because of its strong Mediterranean roots (Latin Language and Roman Catholicism).

        JS

        May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

      • Despite Germany’s ugly past of the concept of the Master Race, the most influential Germanics are of the “Mediterranean” Phenotype, whose “cult of personality” have been appropriated by the Nordic types.

        JS

        May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

      • Despite Germany’s ugly past of the concept of the Master Race, the most influential Germanics are of the “Mediterranean” Phenotype,

        In WW2, the British said, “a true Aryan must be tall, like Goebbels, slim, like Goering, and blonde, like Hitler.”

        Tarl

        May 13, 2018 at EDT pm

  22. I haven’t seen it & don’t plan to, but my late curmudgeon uncle loved it. He didn’t take the Pat Morita part as “wise foreigner” but wise curmudgeon straightening out the whippersnapper.

    gothamette

    May 12, 2018 at EDT am

  23. My top 3 eighties movies:

    Weird Science
    Lost Boys
    Killer Clown from Outer Space

    Heyoka

    May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

  24. I liked
    Pauline at the Beach
    Repo Man
    Something Wild
    Heat of Desire (Fr 1981)
    Fast Times
    Rock & Roll High School
    Breakfast Club
    Apocalypse Now
    Year of Living Dangerously
    Some Kind of Wonderful
    Ordinary People
    Volunteers

    Of all of them, Heat of Desire, is most relavent for this blog. Hottie sets out to destroy a beta male’s life in order to get the attention of her alpha lover.

    Curle

    May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

  25. Macchio is one gorgeous guido guy!

    maryk

    May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

  26. I saw The Karate Kid years ago on TV, and all I can remember is how unrealistic the big tournament at the end obviously was. The hero and his rival certainly would have been in different weight classes and never would have faced each other.

    Peter

    ironrailsironweights

    May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

  27. Notice how this movie is about a dark haired swarthy protagonist fighting blond bad guys and winning the blonde girl. It’s like every movie and piece of advertising follows some variation of this template.

    Tom

    May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

    • My dad still has one of his old drivers licenses from the 50s and it had a category for complexion. His was listed as swarthy.

      Curle

      May 13, 2018 at EDT am

      • “My dad still has one of his old drivers licenses from the 50s and it had a category for complexion. His was listed as swarthy.” -Curle

        Really?? That’s fantastic.

        rivelino

        May 14, 2018 at EDT pm

    • “Revenge of the Nerds” has a blatant template of the outsiders taking down the white jocks and stealing their blonde girlfriends. With an army of black Lambdas as enforcers!

      fakeemail

      May 13, 2018 at EDT pm

  28. Lion you should watch Wing Commander and review it. It is a sci-fi movie made by cult leader Chris Roberts of Star Citizen fame. I think you will like it.

    Gigachad

    May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

  29. The original Ghostbusters (1984) is one of the classic comedies of all time. Also 80s was a good decade for action movies – Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Aliens (1986) and Blade Runner (1982) is a sci-fi classic

    Alex

    May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

  30. and one more…

    The Blues Brothers 1980

    mustard gas

    May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

  31. the decade’s best after Wall Street are…

    American Gigolo schrader, moroder, bruckheimer, gere, on S&E’s top 10 for the year.
    The Thin Blue Line 1988 documentary
    Brideshead Revisited 11 hour 1981 BBC adaptation of the novel

    of course the best film of the 90s is Goodfellas./

    mustard gas

    May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

    • I just rewatched Casino last night. Man, Scorsese was on a tear during that period.

      Two in the Bush

      May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

  32. The Right Stuff

    mustard gas

    May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

  33. You should widen your perspective and watch also old Soviet Union movies.
    You can find them subtitled here:
    https://sovietmoviesonline.com

    Some good ones are “Moscow doesn’t believe in tears” and “Interdevochka”.

    tmmm

    May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

  34. Lion, OT but may I run a legal problem by you and your readers? Here’s the situation:

    In 1982 wife/hubby sold their house for $220k and took back a second for about $90k. Hubby died in ’84 and wife, now in her ’90s and in ill health, has no memory of the transaction or whether the 2d was ever paid. The recorded deed of trust, never extinguished, now constitutes a cloud on title for the current owners, the buyers’ children, who want to sell for about a million. The kids have no evidence, in the form of canceled checks or otherwise, that their parents ever paid off the note. A lawyer for the kids is threatening a quiet title action if wife does not execute a reconveyance, but by statute in California, unless the DOT states a maturity date (this one doesn’t), the security interest remains in force for 60 years (irrespective of the limitations period applicable to the underlying debt itself) and a QT action is unavailable. So wife would appear to be in a position to negotiate a price for her reconveyance. What would your readers do?

    mel belli

    May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

    • This answer is obvious. You should hire a lawyer.

      • Like a Michael Cohen mobbed up sleazeball fixer Cooley graduate lawyer or a real lawyer? Apparently it’s not as obvious to everyone as you would think

        Magnavox

        May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

      • “Ankle biting gamma, reporting for duty!”

        driveallnight

        May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

    • Before you spend a fortune on a lawyer, go online and type what you typed in here on one of those “ask a lawyer” websites. I did this once and it cost $35 to get a question answered. And these people don’t have an incentive to sell you pricey legal services. I assume you will need to actually hire a lawyer, but it’s good to get as much knowledge about your case as you can so that your lawyer won’t be able to take advantage of you. I’ve had bad experienced with lawyers and find them to be generally a bad lot.

      maryk

      May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

  35. The Outsiders. (With Ralph Macchio, Matt Dillon, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Tom Cruise, Leif Garrett, Tom Waits, and a few others.)

    Anthony

    May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

  36. Here’s the beautiful Clio Goldsmith, seductress in Heat of Desire/Plein Sud (1981), in a clip from another movie if that era.

    Curle

    May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

    • A typical MARTA ride.

      E. Rekshun

      May 13, 2018 at EDT am

  37. NO NO NO

    You all have it wrong.

    The greatest eighties movie is Streets of Fire.

    The second is Flash Gordon.

    map

    May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

  38. Has anyone mentioned Stand by Me? A haunting, classic story with any cast, but considering what happened to most of that cast…

    Bill

    May 12, 2018 at EDT pm

  39. you MUST watch cobra kai…right yo ur alley

    RS

    May 13, 2018 at EDT am

  40. Karate Kid is a classic, and no doubt cheesy. It should’ve be viewed from a purely literalist/adult mindset. It’s a fairytale set in the 80s movie high school.

    The relationship between Daniel/Miyagi is well developed and truly touching in the scene where Daniel stumbles upon a drunk Miyagi mourning his wife who died with child. Also, the lessons imparted by Miyagi of calmness, balance, focus are illustrated. It’s a very appealing friendship and father/son relationsihp

    And the sequel set in Okinawa is also quite good and underrated. (Kumiko in this movie may have started modern yellow fever in America). John Avildsen (director of Rocky) was a very fine storyteller.

    Other 80s flights of fancy that are worth a look:

    -THE BOY WHO COULD FLY

    -SUPERMAN II: interesting seeing how different superhero movies were back in the day and how truly f’n excellent Christopher Reeve was.

    fakeemail

    May 13, 2018 at EDT pm

    • “shouldn’t” not “should’ve” in first sentence.

      fakeemail

      May 13, 2018 at EDT pm

  41. Oh yeah, COBRA KAI is truly excellent. I binged watched it without regret.

    It beautifully subverts expectations and roles. Really explores the Yin/Yang theory of balance so crucial to the original movies. It has no right to be this good!

    fakeemail

    May 13, 2018 at EDT pm


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