In this one-man show, Chris recounts how movies have shaped his life,
So what had movies taught me so far. Ghosts are running around Central Park in New York and when you get shot a hundred times – you don’t die.
This bruised eight year old soul needed an antidote. Some spiritual healing. A rebellious teenager called Daniel LaRusso and the eternally wise, Mister Miyagi. The Karate Kid came out when I was very young. I must’ve seen it on video when I was 4, because I mentioned it at kindergarten.
I bumped my head on a horizontal metal bar on some of the play equipment. I came back the next day sporting a bandage around my forehead, a la Karate Kid. I then proceeded to assure all the kids that I am a-ok and that I am Junior Karate Kid. Mainly to avoid the embarrassment of having a silly looking bandage on my head.
Now in the post Robocop world I turned to Karate Kid for salvation.
To me the Karate Kid represented all that was good about life - honour, discipline, focused energy, patience and Elisabeth Shue. It’s actually spelled E-l-i-s-a-b-et-h – like you care ! The whole romantic subplot hooked me in and would reverberate in other key moments in my life. More of that later.
But even TKK – The Karate Kid - had its negative side. Now, the baddies were terrors of a new kind for me. They weren’t ghosts or beasts or baddies with big guns. They were – other kids.
They went to your school, walked down your streets, ate at the same McDonald’s, hung out at the same milk bar you buy your lollies - went to the same movie theatre. They represented a much closer threat. Something a kid growing up in the suburbs can experience all too much.
These kids can catch the same bus as you, be in the same maths class, watch your every move. They can plot to hurt you, because they know of your activities, your movements, your physical weaknesses. They can sabotage personal events – anything from stealing your basketball (because they knew where and when you would frequent the local court), to making you look like a dickhead in front of others (in the case of Daniel, he winds up with spaghetti all over him because he thinks Johnny and Elisabeth Shue are a couple).
I experienced this to a certain degree with my brother – but in the end there was a limit. He’s my brother – he isn’t going to hurt me that bad. But other kids – they were more menacing. There were no limits.
So when my mum asked me, when I was 7, if I’d like to take up karate, I thought, “Wow! Hell yeah!” I started fly-kicking around the house at once! It was like asking a kid if he’d like to become Batman.
Everything I learnt at karate lessons, echoed what I had seen in TKK. With the exception of the Crane Kick, the old Japanese recluse teaching me one-on-one, the laying on of ‘healing hands’, the Hollywood-style tournament that is the climax of the movie – everything else was exactly the same.
I translated, in my head, what I saw on film to what I did nearly everyday. I transformed the American suburbia from the screen, into my daily life. The accent was something I accomplished with aplomb.
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t start talking with an American accent full-time or think I went to Valley High and start wearing Terminator sunnies. I was (and still am) an Australian, but I did begin to think I had supernatural powers.
Which Daniel La Russo doesn’t actually have – he’s just very good at karate - but I wasn’t that good at karate so I needed something more !
I began to think I could make patterns on my bedroom wallpaper move, just by staring at them long enough. And they did! Of course, I would discover much later that it was an illusion from not blinking for 4 minutes straight.
I did the same thing when I stared at the sun for the same amount of time - it began to dance. Probably explains why I wear glasses now…
But there was a universe around me, and I seemed not only apart of it, but could also float through its dimensions and alter its ever-changing and growing states. I would need all these magical powers if I was to survive the combined enemies of movie land who were now gathering in my imagination to attack me.
I would also need help from a certain gentlemen by who lived in a chocolate factory.
More about this monologue