Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures
The remake of The Karate Kid -- which may be the first Jackie Chan movie I saw under my own volition -- is only one of several family movies to feature an adult mentoring a troubled youngster. Here's a look back at some favorite -- and some forgettable -- family films in which mentor-mentee relationships take center stage:
The Karate Kid
The 1984 original is worth another look, especially because it's more fun to see American bullies getting whooped than Chinese bullies. For those of you keeping score at home, Karate Kid, Part II takes place in Japan and features a memorable Peter Cetera song, while The Next Karate Kid is the movie Hilary Swank would prefer you just forgot.
Take your pick of mentoring relationships here: Quai-Gon Jinn to Obi Wan, Obi-Wan to Anakin, Obi-Wan to Luke, and Yoda to just about every-wan.
In forming "Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters," Patrick Stewart's Charles Xavier makes it his mission to help guide troubled mutant youth. Put like that, he could probably be the principal of any high school in America.
Matthew Modine's ambitious high school wrestler gets solid wisdom from a short order cook named Elmo, who himself is inspired by soccer star Pele. Neither solicits advice from Madonna, who makes her first major motion picture appearance in this 1985 film.
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
You may remember this 1989 flick as one of Keanu Reeve's first movies, but his Ted would not have gone far without the wise tutelage of George Carlin's cosmic guide Rufus. Perhaps Rufus also advised him, "If asked, take the red pill."
Searching for Bobby Fischer
In one of my personal favorite films, young chess prodigy Max is mentored formally by Ben Kingsley and unconventionally by Laurence Fishburne. Joe Mantegna and Joan Allen round out this brilliant cast in this 1993 overlooked masterpiece. Don't miss it.
Over five years the boy wizard gets mentored by Albus Dumbledore, Hagrid, Remus Lupin, Sirius Black, Mad-Eye Moody... all that good advice and yet not a single decent haircut.
The Lion King
No doubt you remember -- especially after repeated viewings -- how part-baboon Rafiki, voiced by Robert Guillaume, helps Simba get back to his pride, in more ways than one.
The School of Rock
Jack Black plus kids. You'd think nothing good could come from that combo, but of course this is Hollywood, wherein all kids succeed when they follow the sage advice of a lovable local screw-up.
In this 2006 PG-13 film, Nick Nolte's "Socrates" mentors college student and fallen gymnast Dan Millman to live his life to the fullest... and probably to comb his hair if ever he gets arrested for DUI.
Do you ever see Chuck Norris on a Republican political stage and think you're in the midst of a hallucination? Well, that's sort of like the plot of this 1992 Karate Kid rip-off in which a bullied kid who idolizes Chuck Norris gets trained to defeat bullies in a climactic tournament... all without the help of the Total Gym!