Memories of the movie Space Jam generally fall into one of two categories: those who saw the movie as a child in 1996, and those who have re-watched it since then (or otherwise saw it as an adult). Those who only saw it as a child will instantly break out singing one of the songs from the hit soundtrack (best twenty-two bucks I spent that year). They'll paint a rosy, syrupy-sweet, dripping-in-nostalgia picture of the time their two heroes -- Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan -- joined forces to defeat the evil Monstars, resulting in real-life MJ's triumphant return to the NBA that season. They'll also show you pictures of the cool grey Space Jam 11s as if they're a first born child...or at least a favorite child.
Everyone else will tell you about how the movie was a disjointed mess with crap-tacular "special effects" and even worse writing. And even worse acting. And an even worse plot. Hell, it was all bad.
Any-hoo, the long-rumored Space Jam sequel is officially in the works after a twenty year hiatus, and guess who has been in talks to play the lead role? LeBron James, the mega-star turned actor, will officially take over for his Airness, Michael Jordan. This is great news in that LeBron James has a clean image off the court, he's easily marketable, and as far as acting goes, he dominates MJ. He was solid in Amy Shumer's Trainwreck last summer, and his commercials are consistently high quality.
Plot details haven't been revealed, but the original flick revolved around an alien amusement park's owner hoping to enslave the Looney Tunes characters (Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, etc.) to perform at the park as an attraction. The owner, Swackhammer, sends his five dim-witted minions to capture the Tunes 'toons.
Upon seeing the aliens' diminutive stature, Bugs Bunny challenges them to a basketball game, assuming the bad guys will stink out loud. But then the villains magically steal the talent of the world's "best" basketball players (Patrick Ewing, Shaun Bradley, Mugsy Bogues, Charles Barkley and Larry Johnson), transforming them into all-star monsters (Mon-stars -- clever!). Without advanced analytics, however, their scouting abilities were subpar at best. Pretty sure Gary Payton, Grant Hill, Karl Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon and Jared Stearne could tear that lineup limb-from-limb. All of whom were presumably available.
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Fortunately for us, the aliens neglected to steal Michael Jordan's talent, as he had retired a year earlier to play baseball. So as the world's best remaining basketball player, the Tunes recruit Jordan to play for their freedom, and beat the Monstars squad. Jordan's Tune Squad predictably wins after an epic comeback, and everyone (except Swackhammer) lives happily ever after.
How ironic is it that, two decades later, the Monstars may once again ignore the world's very best player (and most obvious star attraction): Stephen Curry. I mean, he's only the two-time reigning MVP, and unquestionably more popular among the younger viewers who make up Space Jam's target demo. And unlike James, there are no hushed rumors circulating that he's actually a coach-killer and a diva.
I'm very reluctant to use the term ‘real-life' when referring to Space Jam but here goes: the real life Space Jam probably would overlook Stephen Curry. You could even say that in a league full of gigantic mutant super-athletes (I'm talking about the NBA now, not Space Jam), it would be reasonable if Stephen Curry is occasionally overlooked. Basketball has been dominated by overgrown freaks for the better part of a century, and this whole three-point thing is a relatively new phenomenon (and traditionally an unimpressive one).
If you used a Google search to find out the rules of the game when building a super team, you might target a prototypical player for every position: a pure point guard like Chris Paul, and a traditional rim protector center like DeAndre Jordan. You probably wouldn't get the shooting specialist point guard to start...or the pear-shaped 6'5" center who doesn't score, for that matter.
Maybe that's just what makes the Warriors so fun this year. Despite looking like a bunch of misfits on the surface, and consistently drawing the ire of former basketball stars, they're dominating the league like never before. But soul-crushing dominance doesn't make for a feel-good story, and seeing the 2015-2016 Golden State Warriors throttle a group of all-stars (again) in their own movie wouldn't make fans of the other 29 teams in the Association very happy.
So let's just put the Space Jam series aside for now. We're already watching and loving what happens when the super team meets the good guys. And the results have been all kinds of awesome, so far.
Haven't they? What more could we ask for?
Nagging question of the day
How could the Monstars/writers justify leaving Stephen Curry out of the game?
1. Only Nike or Jumpman athletes need apply. So get ready for the Monstars, starring Dwyane Wade, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis. Russ will still take all of the shots, by the way. Still really hard to understand how they could build that team and not consider Curry (or LeBron for that matter). Maybe it has something to do with a nefarious shoe collection.
2. Stephen Curry sucks at acting. I base this on his perpetually mild demeanor, as well as his lack of free throw attempts (get it?). His commercials aren't exactly brimming with charisma, either (now DeAndre Jordan and Damian Lillard, on the other hand?).
3. Riley Curry hates Bugs Bunny. She's more of a Disney type of girl.
4. Gravity is much stronger on the Monstars homeworld, hence their small stature. When Danny DeVito is cast to voice the biggest person on the planet, it's going to be a smaller group of aliens. Anyway, Monstars team doctors fail Curry's physical due to recent knee and ankle injuries.
5. A LeBron James team beating Stephen Curry in a big game? Now who's being unrealistic...? (anti-jinx!)
One bold prediction: Don't plan on Stephen Curry being involved in this project. He's a much bigger star than LeBron James by the time this movie gets released, and it makes no sense to bury your lead with a more popular co-star. It'd be like going to see a Dane Cook comedy co-starring Will Ferrell or Kevin Hart.