Matthew Lickona 4 p.m., Dec. 2
The Karate Kid
- Rated PG | 2 hours, 6 minutes
Or: I Was a Teenage Rocky. John G. Avildsen, the director of the original Rocky, tries to whip up some of the same emotions, and again enlists Bill Conti to supply the music, in the story of a nice, gentle, olive-skinned kid from New Jersey who has sand kicked in his face by rich, blond, black-belted California bullies (or more accurately, has sand kicked in his face by their motorcycle wheels). The bullying continues, until the Japanese handyman at the victim's apartment starts to instruct him in the ancient martial arts. As in Rocky, the training period is both enjoyable and educational; and the relationship between old man and boy, between wise old East and wiseguy West, is sweet, though scanty. It all comes down to a citywide karate tournament at which the moviemaker, to incite the audience, plays as dirty as the students of the bloodthirsty ex-Green Beret. With Ralph Macchio, Noriyuki "Pat" Morita, and Elizabeth Shue. 1984.