Saturday, September 18, 2010

Chuck Norris blah blah blah Sidekicks blah blah blah Menstruation

So, I got the best email last week from a complete stranger/aol user/spambot:




I'm not sure why this Don Alexander fellow thought that I'd have Chuck Norris' contact info, but I admire the guy's gumption--there's no doubt in my mind that this sort of indiscriminate emailing will eventually pay off for him. I wish that I did know how to get in touch with C-Nor, though, if only to tell him about the broken link situation over at his web page. Don included his phone number and address at the bottom of the message, so I'm pretty sure that this "desperation" he speaks of is legit.


Also, I wonder if "Don" is this guy's first name or a blatant admission of mob ties. Of course, I like to think it's the latter, that some displeased Total Gym owner put a hit out on Chuck Norris [insert "clever" one-liner about Chuck Norris' beard taking down the entire Cosa Nostra single-beardedly], and that Don Alexander, of the Alexander crime family, has been tasked with finding Mr. Norris.


After reading Don's heartfelt, 3-line inquiry/attempt to give me a computer virus, I started to think about the role that Chuck Norris has played in my life and realized that I've only seen one of his movies. This is kind of embarrassing when you consider that I'm the (self-proclaimed) preeminent movie scholar in my zip code. 


Anyway, the movie I'm talking about is Sidekicks and for anyone who hasn't seen it, let me just start off by saying that it is in no way like the original 1984 Karate Kid. And when I say, "in no way," I mean that it's the same movie. 




You see, there's this outcast...
...who begrudgingly (at first) learns martial arts from an Asian senior-citizen with unconventional methods...


...while the local dojo is operated by an evil sensei who wears a sinister, black karate gi and only teaches soulless pricks...
...i.e., this one a-hole bully who doesn't seem to understand or care that ka-ra-tay is supposed to be used for self-defense and not as a means of enforcing high school social hierarchies...


...eventually, Bully and Outcast compete against each other at some conveniently timed, bafflingly well-attended martial arts tournament...


...where (SPOILER ALERT!) the outcast wins. Not because he's a superior athlete, since, let's face it, he's only been training for a couple of days while the other guy's been training for years, but because karate tournament victory is contingent upon moral fiber and a spindly physique. Having a genuine Asian guy for a teacher also helps. Just like having a black/poor person teach you how to dance will help you win your dance competition or having Edward James Olmos teach you calculus will help you pass your AP exam.


To be fair, there are some differences between the two movies. Like, other than being from New Jersey, Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) is an average kid. In Sidekicks, however, Barry Gabrewski (Jonathan Brandis) has all of these (obviously homoerotic) fantasies about Chuck Norris. Of course I'm no expert on men and their fantasies, so dreaming about Chuck Norris constantly may actually be a male rite of passage. But I do know that there are plenty of men who are studlier than Chuck Norris, and if I were a teenage boy, dreaming about fighting side-by-side with a Republican action star, well, Bruce Willis would be my guy. 


I'd say that the unrealistic Chuck Norris fixation coupled with the fact that Norris executive produced this movie while his brother directed it, make Sidekicks the ultimate vanity project.


I was reading Chuck Norris' wikipedia page and learned (1) He's kind of a bigot and (2) like Barry Gabrewski, he was picked on in school and fantasized about martial arting the hell out of his tormentors. So if you see Barry as a Chuck Norris stand-in, then Sidekicks is really a biopic where Chuck Norris spends 90 minutes dreaming about himself.


The narcissistic undertones weren't apparent to me as a kid, though. I was just really into Jonathan Brandis. 
By repeatedly watching this movie and 3 Ninjas, I tricked myself into wanting to take karate. It was fun, at first, but after two or three years, I started to hate it. I was the only person under the age of 30 in my dojo and had to miss Beverly Hills 90210 every week because of class. 


One evening, when I was 12, my periodical started toward the beginning of class, and left a large red stain on my white karate gi. I'm sure everyone noticed. This should have been mortifying but I loathed karate so much by that point that I was actually happy--it meant that I got to go home early. I ended up quitting karate one promotion away from getting my black belt. That's something that should fill me with regret. But it doesn't.





18 comments:

Jess said...

I've never even thought about the similarities between Sidekicks and Karate Kid. I, too, was a Brandis fan, and thus saw Sidekicks way too many times. My mother was a huge Walker, Texas Ranger fan, so I saw Chuck Norris entirely too much during my childhood.

Great post.

soft nonsense said...

That third picture? Freaking fantastic. Link for you, though you've probably already seen it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFlQNtL8F9s

Originally had another one involving the Karate Kid, but then I remembered that you had already seen it when I posted it awhile ago on my blog...come to think of it, I may have posted this on my blog too...oh wells.

Simon said...

Chuck Norris is the kind of Republican you nod generously at until the next possible chance to leave the room presents itself.

Martial arts without any real goal for using them always suck. I keep in basic training shape just in case the zombie apocalypse comes and I need to delve out some street justice or whatever.

Christina In Wonderland said...

Even if he is a really big douche bag, you've got to admit he has some of the best jokes about his supposed physical prowess. Like how apparently there is no theory of evolution, only a list of animals Chuck Norris has allowed to live. Or that Chuck Norris can kill two stones with one bird.

That one is my all time favorite.

One Blonde Girl said...

I'm pretty sure I've seen Sidekicks and 3 Ninjas as well, and for the very same reason. But I'm not sure I would be comfortable admitting this to people. Except that I just did. Eh.

nova said...

*sigh* Jonathan Brandis is SOOOOOOO dreamy. I used to have all his Teen Beat posters hung up on my bedroom walls.

Pana said...

RIP Jonathan Brandis!

Amiee said...

I loved that movie as a kid too, possibly more so due to the Brandis..never thought much about the similarities though!

soft nonsense said...

Um....holy hell Amber.

Best blog header ever.

Loved the first one, but this one excels it in epicness. You are my hero.

nikki said...

Chuck Norris is always good for a laugh.

Also, best blogger header EVER.

Knitwear M. Groundhog said...

You don't contact Chuck Norris. He finds you.

Megs said...

I love that anyone is desperate to find Chuck Norris. I have been sitting here trying to come up with all the reasons that might be, and my favorite is that Don needs Chuck to kick someone's ass for him or teach him to be a ninja so he can kick his own asses or whatever.

Uh. Yeah, what was up with the Johnathon Brandis thing? I was totally convinced we were going to get married one day. I would have sacrificed my own foot for that chance. Looking back...I have no idea why.

mylittlebecky said...

yes and also, yes!

Sadako said...

I always think of Chuck Norris when I see Karate Kid b/c the head of the evil dojo totally looks like he's trying to be Chuck Norris. And failing.

Another David said...

Don Alexander is my hero

Alison said...

I was just really confused about this whole post. Apparently, I missed the part where you were comparing Sidekicks to Karate Kid. I've never seen Sidekicks, but I really don't feel like I missed out on anything.


And an 11 Points list on 11 Damn Near Identical Movies that Were Released at the Same Time. Which is basically what the URL says.

http://www.11points.com/Movies/11_Damn_Near_Identical_Movies_That_Were_Released_at_the_Same_Time

JoAnne Ferrie said...

Amber - I hope your future includes either stand up comedy +/or some form of journalism - you have a hilariously interesting blog :D
makes me laugh and cry all at the same time :D
Jonathan Brandis was hot! - on par with Corey Haim in his hay day imo.
peace out!

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