Okay, so although I talk all high-falutin' about film as high art and yada yada yada, I (like many others) really grew up on the "classics," and by that I mean the 1980's Hollywood franchise movies. I was born in the 1980's, what do you expect? Needless to say, I am very literate in the ways of the Rocky franchise, the Superman franchise, the Indiana Jones franchise, the Back to the Future series, the Star Wars franchise (if I hadn't been a little bit literate with that, I would most likely have been branded a Communist) and the Karate Kid franchise. And that is what this post is partly about: the Karate Kid franchise. ConFluence Films takes a trip to the so-called "low-brow" — hey, who cares and who's counting? — with this post. Every once in awhile, posts like this and the older one about Weekend at Bernie's is good for the soul.
Throughout the last few days, I have been receiving e-mails from my brother with Internet links to fan-sites about a supporting character from the third installment of the Karate Kid series. For anyone reading this who knows The Karate Kid Part III, I am speaking of Terry Silver, the megalomaniacal, ruthless, self-satisfied, cartoonishly corrupt and often campily flamboyant industrialist, not to mention CEO of the hilarious named Dynatox Industries. My brothers and I grew up quoting the hilariously over-the-top dialogue mouthed by the Terry Silver character, played with bravado and sometimes excessive zeal by Thomas Ian Griffith (who might as well be on the "where are they now?" list). Savor images like Silver soaking, Tony Montana-style, in a large bubble-bath while receiving three young male visitors and other "businessmen," or the character's grease-backed pony-tail...or his mellifluously evil grin. Or having an animated, hot-and-heavy, over-zealous phone-chat with his old Vietnam buddy while being massaged in heavy steam (complete with "Vaseline lens") by a Tahitian beauty, clearly on a sound stage doubling as Tahiti. And savor these classic Terry Silver lines:
"This slope, what's his name, Miyagi, and that punk kid, I'm gonna get them for what they did to you. They made you suffer, so I'm gonna make them suffer...and suffer and suffer and when I think they've suffered enough, then I start with the pain."
"Keep the score at zero-zero. Pulverize him for the full three minutes. Then in sudden death you get the point, we win. I want him to experience pain. First he suffers, then he suffers some more."
"Do what I usually do. Bribe them."
"Ten years ago, nuclear was the preferred waste. You could dump it anywhere! Now everybody's a detective. I'm lucky if I make one deal a year without being indicted!"
"A man can't stand, he can't fight. A man can't breathe, he can't fight. A man can't see, he can't fight."
"I love it when he pounds him!" [sic]
"You don't have to fight. You can just stand there and let him kick your ass!"
A few days ago, my brother e-mailed me, along my other brother, these two links: The Dynatox Institute for Advanced Karate Kid III Studies and Terry Silver's MySpace Page. I was tickled pink by both of them, just in considering how a more or less obscure supporting character in a successful franchise could spawn such websites. You might call it naivete in not truly and fully considering the scope of the Internet and the occasionally off-kilter fixations of the billions of web-users around the globe. It just goes to show you that you can most likely find anything about any number of topics, no matter how much they have seeped into pop-culture esoterica. Where there is one, there is another, and another. How many obscure franchise-movie supporting players have their own cult, one might ask.
It is the performance itself, from Thomas Ian Griffith, that breathes life into this cartoonish, transcendently amoral fictional figure. Whenever I would indulge in a play-fight with my brothers growing up, and whenever they got the best of me in that fight, a line of Terry Silver dialogue would be habitually uttered. Well, it was either a Terry Silver line or a General Zod (from the Superman movies) line...or a Mr. T line from Rocky III. Not only is this post for my brothers, but this is for anyone who grew up in a house flooded with the mouthing of juvenilia-esoterica garnered from incessant viewings of 1980's franchise films. I am sure we were not the only ones because I have spoken to a few who have told me similar stories.
"Thomas Ian Griffith in the best role of the movie! The Karate Kid III is a movie which teaches you that millionaire CEO's have nothing better to do than to torture 19-year-olds who run afoul of their Vietnam buddies."
-Ben Black, BadMovies.org
POST SCRIPTUM: My brother Matt e-mailed the Dynatox Institute for Advanced Karate Kid III Studies. Below was his original message:
Date: Monday, May 18, 2009, 10:15 PM
Do you offer scholarships and/or financial aid to the institute?
PS - How is Mr. Silver?
He then received the following response:
Subject: Re: Tuition
To: matthew kremer
Unfortunately, due to Cobra Kai Incorporated policy, we are not offering financial aid at this time. If you are interested in our Laruso Scholarship, you may start by finding a scrawny Italian kid in your neighborhood and torturing him relentlessly while dressed as a skeleton. After that, you must make racist remarks to any elderly Asian men (“buddhahead” is a good start). To answer your other question, Mr. Terry Silver is doing fine and has just been awarded “Business Man of the Year” by the Waste Disposal Group of Borneo.
Thank you for your interest,
and Dean of The Dynatox Institute for Advanced KKIII Studies