I’m in Chicago and I want to fulfill my destiny at Landmark Century Cinemas on Clark Street across from where the Borders used to be before hard copies of books died. I want to be there at midnight on Dec. 6, 2012, because the powers that be decided they wanted to be the best and have a midnight showing of the most important piece of art of the last century. That’s right. They’re showing Space Jam. I know. I can’t believe it either.
The Easter Bunny visited Casa de Parker every year. He’d put some turquoise let’s just call them ribbon fuzzy things in baskets by the front door. On top of the ribbon fuzzy things would be gifts. In 1997 the Easter bunny brought the heat. Sitting in the basket was Space Jam on VHS. Space Jam on VHS. Space Jam on VHS. Oh happy day, it’s Space Jam on VHS.
Accompanying the VHS is a pog slammer. On one side is Bugs Bunny. On the other side is Michael Jordan. I jumped 30 feet in the air when I saw that gift. Easter Bunny killed it that year.
He also ate all the carrots we sat out by the door because we take care of the Easter Bunny where we stay.
Look at that picture.
My littlest sister hasn’t ever been that happy. Ever. That’s the happiest anyone has ever been in human history. Incredible smile on her part. Also, what’s going on with that big toe? It’s going rogue.
My middle sister, the one with the arms crossed, is really sassing it up here. Saucy. You’re not getting a full smile from me because I’m too tired, type of stuff.
Just great poses on both of their parts.
I still own a version of that tank top. That cowlick in the back of my hair still exists. Preciate the gap in the teeth there, God.
I am not sure who the second smartest person on earth is. There are a lot of scientists and mathematicians and philosophers and Tex Winter and Nate Silver that could vie for that spot. The smartest person alive, however, that’s been decided. We can go ahead and put it in the books and sign the check and lock it in and other phrases like that. That person is whoever works for Landmark who decided a midnight Space Jam showing needed to happen. Genius, Will Hunting, type stuff.
As a child that inhaled 90’s sports and pop culture, this movie is my everything. I am in love with this movie. I will love it and be there for it, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.
An aside that I don’t actually believe but it’s fun to act like I do: The fact that it wasn’t nominated for Best Picture in 1997 is still one the greatest tragedies in American cinema history. Trash films like As Good As It Gets, and that year’s indie darling, Titanic, both got nods over Space Jam. Perhaps the greatest snub in Oscar history came when I Believe I Can Fly, R. Kelly’s iconic uplifting ballad that is played as the space ship lands on the pitcher’s mound at the Birmingham Baron’s stadium, wasn’t even nominated for Best Original Song. Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On took home the golden man that year. 1997 was a dark, political time in the Academy’s history.
I am full on digressing, though, and this is a happy time, so I’m gonna move on. The energy in the theater is bound to be turned up to rabid. People DESIRE this movie experience. They lust after it. Like, a lot.
If you’re reading this, you know the movie. Michael Jordan has retired from basketball and moved on to strike out several times a game for the Birmingham Barons. While there, he meets up with Newman, the Barons new publicist. One day Jordan, Newman, Sir Larry Joe Bird, and the King of This Galaxy and All the Others aka Bill Murray all go to play golf together. Jordan tees off and sticks one that could only be described by Bill Murray as a “golf shot”. It lands on the green and then everyone’s great friend Bugs Bunny grabs a magnet and goes to work, leading the ball into the hole. Cue madness on the tee box. They get to the green and Jordan reaches in as Newman takes a picture. That’s when he’s kidnapped and taken to Loony Toon Land. The Loony Toons are being held hostage by some Monstars from Moron Mountain whose slaves they’ll have to become if they don’t beat them in a game of basketball. That’d be fine, cept for the fact that these Monstars are some cheating dicks. They stole talent from Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson, Mugsy Bogues, and some tall, white dentist named Shawn Bradley, so they’re real good. Because of this, the Loony Toons enlist the help of the greatest basketball player to ever walk the face of both our real earth and their cartoon one.
If you haven’t seen it, I truly don’t know what you’ve been doing with yourself and I feel really bad that you think you’re alive because you’re super dead inside.
I’m planning on wearing a pair of Jordans to the movie because I will be standing on holy ground. I want to relive my childhood for an hour and a half.
Bill Murray is some type of God. The man is a force of relaxed, chill nature. He’s in this movie because he’s from Chicago and he’s a Bulls fan and him and Jordan were semi-boys. He steals EVERY SINGLE SCENE THAT HE IS IN.
At different times throughout the movie he says these things:
– “Larry I’m gonna give us both twos back there. We were in no emotional state to putt.”
– “Producer’s a friend of mine. Teamster dropped me off.”
– “Larry’s not white. Larry’s clear.”
– “You the duck.”
That’s just a sampler, though. So many good lines from Murray, who wants you to know that he DOES NOT play defense. Watch it, man. Just watch it.
Thing is, though. I don’t get to go. I’m wrapped up in an improv show at the iO Theater that doesn’t end till 12:20. No dice on Space Jam. No dice at all.
It wasn’t meant to be. Course, I’ve seen it several hundred times. It’s not entirely necessary I watch it in theaters.
The Monstars handle the Toon Squad in a “Kind of one sided, isn’t it?” fashion. Then Bugs shows the Toon Squad “Mike’s Secret Stuff” and they’re all about it. They come out in the second half and play above themselves. They make a run late, and MJ dunks a game winner from half court. The Toon Squad is safe and Danny DeVito is back in space.
The Monstars give their talent back and MJ keeps it in a basketball. Then Jordan gives the basketball players their talent back in a gym while Newman watches. Shawn Bradley dunks to demonstrate he has his skills back.
The movie ends with Jordan dunking against the Magic. Bill Murray and Larry Bird are in the stands and Bill says that could have been him out there. Larry tells him to give it up. Then Bill says, “Let’s go Bulls”, and his voice breaks and it’s super funny.
I was friends with a kid in elementary school who had the type of parents that let him watch Rated R movies and had really adult conversations around him. He felt himself really enlightened because of this. Apparently his father had told him at one point that Titanic was the greatest film ever. It won the most Oscars, the kid says. So, after I saw Space Jam and came to school saying it was the best of all the things to ever be, the kid felt it necessary to tell me I was wrong. We argued about it, came to a stalemate, and needed help settling it. Enter in our mutual friend Brian. Brian has seen neither of these movies. The enlightened kid says that Titanic is a story about a ship sinking and a couple that falls in love. The guy dies in the end, he says. I then tell Brian that Space Jam has Michael Jordan and Larry Bird and Charles Barkley and all the Loony Toons and that Jordan has to play basketball to save the Loony Toons from being taken away forever.
Brian looks at the both of us. First at the enlightened kid, then at me, then back at the enlightened kid.
“You’re stupid,” Brian says to the enlightened kid, “Michael Jordan’s awesome.”
Yes he is, Brian. Yes he is.