Thursday, February 23, 2012

Why I still say ‘Space Jam’ is great


It seems that Space Jam – that 1996 movie staring the great Michael Jordan and a bunch of Looney Tunes characters – isn’t exactly held in high regard in some quarters.

That’s a real shame. Well, it might not be a shame and it might be totally understandable. But, here’s the thing – Space Jam is entertaining when viewed under the right circumstances.

Let me explain. Back around Christmas of 1996, my immediate family was all together and spending time at my parents’ house. We decided it would be dandy fun to head to Little Rock for dinner and then take in a movie.

Ah, but what movie? We debated that at length and my brother pointed out that if we paid to see Mars Attacks!, we could watch the following showing of Space Jam for free at one theater. Two movies for the price of one? Why that was too good of a deal for us cheapskates to ignore.

So we headed off to the theater for an evening of fun. Ah, but there was one problem with that plan – Mars Attacks! is a dreadful film. Frankly, I can’t remember a time when I’ve been so angry during a movie and felt so cheated.

SuckAttackMars Attacks!, for those unfamiliar with it, is one of those Tim Burton things that was apparently supposed to be a parody of cheesy, low-budget science fiction flicks from the 1950s and 1960s. It failed on every level. Not only did it lack the low budget charm of the films it was making fun of, it was darned annoying as well. I don’t remember a whole lot about the film, frankly, other than it irritated me and seemed to go on forever. To this day I still think of Mars Attacks! when contemplating the things I absolutely hated about the 1990s. Yes, folks. The film is that bad. Don’t dare watch it. You’ll regret it. It’s absolutely worthless and couldn’t even be made entertaining by the crew at Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Although the film was horrible, we toughed it out. We groaned. We complained. We threatened to give my brother a well-earned beating in the parking lot after the movie had finished. When that dog of a movie finally ended, we tried to decide whether to pack it in and write the evening off as a loss or see is Space Jam was any better.

While some in our party decided they’d been tormented enough and decided to go back to my parents’ house, a few of us remained and decided to give Space Jam a chance.

I’m glad we did. It was rather like the clouds parted, the sun started to shine and we all forgot about how miserable we were while suffering through Mars Attacks! While no one will claim Space Jam is one of the finest movies made, it was pure gold compared to the film we saw before it.

Watching Michael Jordan run through around with a bunch of cartoon characters, seeing basketball players try to act and everything else was legitimately entertaining. The notion that Michael Jordan quit playing baseball and went back to the Bulls because of a game he helped Bugs Bunny and company win is a hoot, too.

Had I seen Space Jam under different circumstances, I might not have enjoyed it so much. However, just about anything would have been an improvement over Mars Attacks! Space Jam was so much better than that awful piece of trash that I still watch it from time to time and enjoy it about as much as I did when I saw it in the theater.

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