Classics: Space Jam (1996)

Does anyone remember buying Space Jam on VHS and it coming with that special coin? I lost my coin sometime in my teens and it still haunts me.

The reason I give this new Space Jam so much slander is mainly because this movie is apart of my childhood, and much like Reggie Warrington set in The Nutty Professor, I still laugh at all the jokes. I walk around reciting the lines in my every day life. That is a rare feat! Let’s talk about the legacy of this movie.

Michael Jordan was a global phenomenon. I finally watched The Last Dance (12 years later because I wanted to watch it in my own time) and as a child, I knew Mike was huge but I just didn’t know how huge. I remember watching a documentary about the iconic Michael Jackson and discovering that people actually learned English by listening to his songs–something I will never understand because Americans are just learning the exact lyrics to the songs. Either way, Jordan was the star player with the Chicago Bulls and on Team USA, he had his own shoe that people to this day wait hours in line for and he’s the first person, I can remember, who inspired a generation of kids to “Be like Mike.” There was a whole commercial that had a song and everything. Michael Jordan was unstoppable and someone I watched in a recent video made a valid point–Mike was simply a player. He was never really outwardly political which added to his universal appeal. He also spend 12 years with the Bulls, and alongside Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and headed by Phil Jackson, he won SIX championships with the same team. (No shade…)

Moving on to the Looney Tunes. People from all walks of life and all ages can remember at least a dozen Looney Tune characters and segments. That’s all I have. Mix classic characters with a legendary basketball player and stir.

You know what else makes the movie special? In present time, Michael went through a phase in his life where he thought baseball was the move. I don’t know who told him to do this but I blame Deion Sanders for some reason. I enjoy the fact that the movie used that as the basis of the plot. It made for an epic ending–I’m also a huge basketball fan and so there’s bias there.

The plot of this movie is really simple. Aliens come to enslave the Looney Tunes in an attempt to make their theme park more popular amongst the alien population. The Tunes counter by saying that they should have a chance to defend themselves, and so they challenge the diminutive aliens to a basketball game. They were small and couldn’t jump high. Seems as if the Tune Squad never heard of Spud Webb and Muggsy Bogues but guess who had? The aliens. So who could the Tune Squad get to help them beat the Monstars (Let’s be clear, the red one could not spell)? I don’t know but maybe the greatest basketball player in the NBA. Only problem–he’s a baseball player now. Magic and shenanigans ensue.

The whole point of this movie is you can do all things through Christ. No, but it does reinforce the idea that you can whatever you think you can’t if you put the right effort into it. Remember the girl who crossed Charles Barkley up in the middle of the film? She believed she couldn’t because…well…that’s Charles Barkley but she did because she tried. Jordan thought he was done with basketball until that spark was lit after playing with the Tune Squad. Jordan also loves to gamble, so we’re told, so there’s that, too.

Although I can’t find it, my favorite scene from this movie is when Muggsy Bogues, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson and Shawn Bradley go through that sequence of doctors’ visits. Don’t ask me why I laugh so hard. I just do.

Space Jam is a classic and it is a TALL order to try and even hint at a remake, a continuation or anything around that is not the greatest idea. Space Jam had the right ingredients that fell at the right time in order to make this film the child classic that it is. I stand firm in my belief that you cannot interchange the player and the cartoon characters and make the same magic. Fight me!

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