Alphabetical Movie – The Karate Kid
I’ve always enjoyed the song “Cruel Summer” by Bananarama.
I would imagine that is the reason that I’ve had fond memories of the Karate Kid soundtrack. With “Cruel Summer” on there, the whole thing must be golden, right?
It’s been a while since I watched the film. I watched it a lot in the 80’s and 90’s and I remember every dramatic beat in the movie. I can recite huge sections of the film from memory and not just the parts about the Crane Technique. I know the film pretty darn well.
At least that was what I thought before I re-watched it for the Alphabetical Movie project. Clearly what I forgot was the fact that every song in the film that isn’t “Cruel Summer” is some of the worst 80’s pop music imaginable.
Let’s take, for example, “The Moment of Truth” by Survivor. Yes, the same Survivor that wrote “Eye of the Tiger,” a song that is the Super Bowl Champion of training montage scenes. If you were making a training montage about writing a training montage song, you’d be playing “Eye of the Tiger” over it.
Ever wonder why you never heard of anything else written by Survivor? Take a listen tl “The Moment of Truth” and you’ll figure it out. The song sounds exactly like what you would expect a band that was famous for the song “Eye of the Tiger” would write if they were trying their damndest to be remembered for another song. They failed.
The songs don’t get any better. “(Bop Bop) On the Beach” is a song that sounds like a bad rip-off of the Beach Boys because the filmmakers probably couldn’t afford to pay the Beach Boys to write a song.
I think I even owned the soundtrack for this movie and yet I’ve completely forgotten every song except “Cruel Summer” and “You’re the Best.” The only one I’ve ever been fond of, though, is “Cruel Summer.”
That begs the question, however, is “Cruel Summer” really better than all those other songs or is it just as crappy as the rest of them? I know what I happen to think but how can I convince anyone else that I’m right?
How about if I ask you to recall the scene where Daniel is getting chased down by the evil Karate jock boys. Do you remember the music that was playing during that chase scene? Probably not. Because it’s horrible. All you remember is Daniel getting the shit kicked out of him and the way Mr. Miyagi beat the crap out of those bullies.
You don’t remember the song “No Shelter,” do you? Of course you don’t. Because it’s awful. If you want to know how awful it is and how it undercuts the drama of the scene, click on the link.
Obviously a crappy soundtrack isn’t going to kill a movie. Look at Ladyhawke for goodness’ sake. The Karate Kid is a memorable movie for all sorts of reasons that have nothing to do with really bad Beach Boys covers and music by Survivor that isn’t “Eye of the Tiger.”
For me, though, I admit I was saddened to discover that the entire soundtrack was not as awesome as “Cruel Summer.”
I wonder if my affection for the song had anything to do with the fact I was seventeen and it was sung by three pretty girls?