I grew up in Chicago in the 1990s, so the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan were very much A Thing I Cared About. My memories of the specifics are a bit hazy and largely filled in after the fact but every time I watch highlights or documentaries or whatever I feel the strongest feelings of nostalgia. But yeah even though I wasn’t in my sports fan phase yet, kind of everyone in Chicago was a Bulls fan, it was pretty hard to avoid!
I eventually did have a pretty lengthy and obsessive sports fan phase because, you know, I thought I wanted my dad and all the normies at school to like me. It… didn’t work out too well on either count, but whatever. Today the only sport I still really follow even casually is basketball, even though the height of my obsession with baseball was probably the strongest.
Anyway, yeah, seeing a movie where Michael Jordan plays basketball with the freaking Looney Tunes was an unbelievably big deal to me at the time, and even though I fully get that it hasn’t aged well, it’s a feature length Nike ad (the proof of concept was literally a couple of Nike commercials featuring the same crossover), and Jordan’s performance is kind of wooden, it’s still unbelievably charming to watch today.
Watching it back now there are definitely some weird choices in it. Wayne Knight and Bill Murray are weird pulls for a kids movie but apparently they had trouble getting actors onboard? It also prominently features a reference to… Pulp Fiction? Hey, kids! You… love Pulp Fiction, right? And the part where Michael Jordan, a black man, agrees to put himself in peril of being literally enslaved and then they do a vivid animated montage of that happening is awkward as fuck.
But, like… it’s Michael Jordan playing basketball with Bugs Bunny!! It’s pretty easy to get me to overlook a lot of things. Also this movie gave us Lola Bunny, so no matter what it would be a net win in my book.
Space Jam: A New Legacy
Wait, so. The one with LeBron James is technically probably better but we’re all going to remember the Michael Jordan one more favorably due to nostalgia? Well played, reality.
This was fine but didn’t feel as weird and memorable as the first one. It also didn’t have the ready-made story of MJ leaving and returning to basketball, which isn’t the movie’s fault it’s just circumstance. And as much as the whole algorithm/serververse thing was a good idea to make the concept more timely, I really do wish they just went with something as simple as a capitalist alien invader like the first movie.
I do kind of wonder if everyone dunking on this has seen the first Space Jam. Like, I’m not saying it’s great that both of them are basically commercials but if you’re willing to allow that for the first one I don’t know why you would fault the second one for that? I kind of hated the CGI 3D animated tunes. I know it would’ve been harder and limited the kind of shots you could do, but I still wish they had stuck with traditional animation.
The highlight of the movie for me was the part where they were going around recruiting Looney Tunes from the various other Warner Bros properties. I especially loved Lola as an Amazon, but all of them (aside from the Rick and Morty cameo and the brief stop at Hogwarts because ew) were pretty choice.
And uh yeah obviously I was gay for the spider and snake ladies even though I’m not especially into either of the WNBA players they were based on. Why did they make the lady Goon Squad players so much more horny than the boy players???