Welcome to the Weekly Movie Thread, where we catch up on film. Talk about it with your fellow commenters! Have you seen something new? Something classic? Something you loved or something you hated? Thinking of venturing into the theaters to see LeBron James talk to a cartoon rabbit?
This year, we recognize the 25th anniversary of Space Jam as well as celebrating its new legacy.
Michael Jordan — the world’s most famous athlete — had been out of basketball for a couple of years and toiling in minor league baseball for a while. Why did he retire? Was it to go out on top? (Which he didn’t. With the benefit of hindsight, he had some more championships to go.) Was it some accrued gambling debts, and the NBA had to pressure him to lay low for a while until they sorted things out behind the scenes? Or did he really love baseball and he wanted to be a modern day Bo Jackson?
Whatever the reason, Jordan had a pretty unconventional training regimen: starring in Space Jam, a movie based on a popular series of ads by Nike. For the movie, he had a gym built where he could practice for his return to basketball. Whenever he wasn’t on set, he was hitting the gym. Thus it’s a perfect time capsule for this period. We get scenes of his minor league career, his disappearance and return to basketball, his time on the golf course… all that jazz. Minus the gambling debts.
Wait… was this entire film an attempt to reframe the Michael Jordan hagiography? Jordan… writing his own legend? He’d never do that!
The film was far more successful in gearing Jordan back for his return than the goal set out by Warner Brothers: to make the Looney Tunes popular again.
Then again, when your play to court younger audiences is Loonatics Unleashed, maybe there’s no going back.
Will Space Jam: A New Legacy be the kick in the pants the Looney Tunes need? Only time will tell.
But the answer is “no.”
Today’s bonus prompt: what is your favorite appearance of an athlete in film?
Next week: Wes Anderson