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Monday, November 28, 2005
Pat Morita was a mofo among mofos
Am I the only one that missed this sad news over the holiday weekend?
Movie-going was a very big deal for me as a kid because it provided an opportunity to embarrass my parents by acting like hell-spawn. I drove an audience nuts when I demanded my father translate Jabba's subtitles at a screening of "Return of the Jedi." During "Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend" I started screaming at the screen and running around the theater when the title character's mother was captured by a gang of greedy dino-pouchers. There really was no excuse for my behavior. It wasn't like I was having a war flashback or anything like that.
I'd learned to read and how to keep quiet in theaters by the time "Karate Kid 2" crane-kicked its way into theaters. I remember seeing the later at the long-gone Washington Square Cinemas and the place was packed. Maybe Ralph Macchio had a huge cult following in Portland at the time. Or maybe they were all there for Pat, who received an Oscar nomination for his role in part one.
The sequel was huge deal for my third grade colleagues and I. I'd probably spent the year prior imitating "Daniel-san'"s crane kick from the original in my parent's living room. But the kick was easily defeated by his nemesis in part two so I redirected my attention to begging them for one of those spin drums. I never did get one because they weren't the sort of thing that could be found at your local Portland Jafco. And because I was a little shit.
Anybody else remember Jafco? Or even BEST? Probably not.
Pat Morita taught a generation of young Americans how to wax a car, kick stuff, beat up teenagers in parking lots, catch flies with chopsticks, rescue hot chicks from monsoons, trick evil dojo senseis into breaking the windows of their own cars, mack on Uma Thurman, tolerate Hilary Swank, bowl with monks and make Halloween costumes out of bathroom fixtures.
Ok, which of those doesn't belong? First reader to name the out-of-place Pat Morita movie reference gets a nickel.
Mr. Miyagi is dead. Long live Mr. Miyagi!