Space Jam (USA, 1996)

space-jam-poster1Directed by: Joe Pytka. When this came out, I was 10 years old, but for some reason I turned my nose up at this. It felt too corny and little-kiddy to me, even then. Strange, I remember really loving Batman Forever, which was totally corny and little-kiddy, so I guess I was full of shit when I was a kid. But as soon as this started coming back into my consciousness as an adult, it just rung a huge bell for some reason—oh right, Michael Jordan was in a movie with the Looney Tunes playing basketball against a bunch of cartoon aliens, the movie with the famous R. Kelly song. Why wouldn’t you go see that? That’s the weirdest shit I’ve ever heard of. Turns out that the movie itself isn’t that weird, per se, it’s a pretty safe, middle-of-the-road little-kids movie, and the humour is at the level of a little-kid movie humour. But then again, as an adult, there’s the possibility of opening up weird meta-levels of cultural critique and adult neurosis on this bizarre cultural artifact which was, after all, a commercial enterprise made by adults to make money for adults. If anything, it’s a really sad message the movie gives—do what you’re good at because it defines you, even if it’s really unfulfilling and you want to try something new. And then, because I know nothing about sports, when you learn afterwards that Michael Jordan actually did quit basketball to pursue a short career in baseball only to rejoin the NBA afterwards, there’s a whole other layer of weirdness. And then you consider the fact that this life decision of Michael Jordan, one of the all-time great athletes ever, was articulated in a movie, and that it’s this movie…that’s amazing. At the risk overstating things, this movie is one of the most interesting movies in the film canon, not because the actual content is interesting—it isn’t—but because this movie exists. Is there a word for that, probably in French or something? Anyway, this is a pretty okay way to burn 80 minutes, and you know what? Michael Jordan is actually not a bad actor, at least when he’s playing himself surrounded by a bunch of cartoons. Maybe he can look into some Muppet work?

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One response to “Space Jam (USA, 1996)

  1. Pingback: List of Judgements, Anno Domini 2016 | Offhand Reviews·

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