Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Space Jam

As the first poster tacked upon our childhood walls, Space Jam was gold to a 10-year-old. But can it still carry its weight to the sophisticated technicians at The PCS? Michael Jordan takes a break from his life-altering switch from basketball to baseball and agrees to help the Looney Tunes win a game of hoops against the alien minions of Moron Mountain who are looking to enslave some ‘toons. Sounds like gold to us.
  • Opening shot on moon: excellent cinematic foreshadowing. = +3pts
  • R. Kelly inspirational song played over a child enjoying the innocence of youth! = -5pts (Pre-pedophile-charges, +5pts, Post-pedophile-charges. = -10pts)
  • Kick-ass opening theme song that, like most ‘90s rap, we can all still sing/rap along with. = +10pts
  • Bugs doesn’t get top billing?! = -5pts
  • Danny DeVito voicing what is believed to be the precise equivalent of his alien self. = +5pts (Otherwise known as the first documented appearance of Frank Reynolds.) 
  • Classic cigar-smoking villain. = +1pt
  • Brain-fried hippie alien minion. = +2pts
  • Bugs has mad respect due to his extensive vocabulary. He uses “diminutive” in his first scene. How great is this bunny? = +3pts
  • Jordan’s acting. = -20pts (Before his years of theatrical study at the Hanes School of Commercial Acting.) 
  • Ray Romano’s TV wife as annoyed patron sitting next to aliens in classic “raincoat” disguise at a Suns game. = +1pt
  • Ray Romano’s TV wife making suggestively pervy comment about what is happening in said raincoat. = +2pts (In a kid’s movie. -5pts, In general. = +7pts)
  • Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing losing their talent leads to some very impressive physicality in their acting. = +3pts
  • Shameless McDonald’s product placement. = -5pts
  • Hanes, Nike, Wheaties, Gatorade, and more McDonald’s product placement!  = -25pts
  • Jordan being put up in a shithole motel, eating shithole fast food right before a game? We believe aliens and Looney Tunes, but a person can only be asked to suspend belief so far. . . = -2pts
  • Daffy Duck fashion show. = +1pt
  • MonSTARS? Looney Tune punning at its finest, friends. = +1pt
  • Bugs can always stay cool under pressure. Respect. = +2pts
  • Bill Murray. = +10pts
  • Bill Murray back on a golf course. = +3pts
  • Bill Murray’s umbrella hat. = +3pts
  • Bill Murray’s shirt. = -5pts
  • Jordan’s annoyance toward Wayne Knight’s character in  the high point of his acting performance.  = +1pt (Only 1-point good.)
  • Everyone reacts quite coolly at Jordan being lassoed down the 9th hole of a suburban Chicago golf course. = -2pts (At this point in his "retirement" friend's would have probably resorted to anything to keep his gambling out of the paper. Intergalactic basketball match had to had been at the top of their list of dream distractions.)
  • Birds circling Jordan’s (mostly likely concussed) head is a classic. BONUS: There are no concussions in Looney Tune Land! = +2pts  BONUS = +4pts
  • Bugs and Jordan lip action. What we imagine was severely controversial at the time, we are happy to now consider more of a stance toward same sex/interracial/interspecies romance and less of a ploy for a cheap laugh. Looney Tunes: always at the frontier of society’s greatest struggles. But also, so funny to watch a cartoon kiss a real person. = +10pts
  • Daffy Duck as a physician is terrifying. = -5pts
  • We find it completely acceptable that Jordan remains calm and casually believes everything Bugs Bunny is telling him as he sits, unconcussed, in the middle of a cartoon world. And the only thing he appears to have an issue with is being asked to help in a basketball game when, hasn’t Bug heard? He’s a ballplayer now. = -10pts
  • The magic of a Looney Tunes spit-shine. = +3pts
  • Jordan, still stoic even when facing space monsters, finally shows a little emotion when he is reshaped into the form of a square-ish basketball and thrown around the court. At last, pathos! = +3pts
  • Barkley getting schooled at basketball by a group of girls is supposed to be an ultimate burn. Rude. = -15pts (In 1996, +10pts, In 2013, -25pts) 
  • Barkley getting schooled at basketball to the slow jam of Basketball Jones. Awesome. = +10pts
  • Montage of players trying to figure out what happened to their talent is probably the best part of this entire film. MONTAGE HIGHLIGHT: Barkley, trying to make a deal with God, offers to never go out with Madonna again. = +10pts
  • Yosemite Sam trying to play basketball by shooting his guns. ‘Cause it’s the only way he knows. = +2pts 
  • Jordan’s complete lack of concern for his family’s possible concern over his disappearance. = -10pts
  • Daffy Duck calling Earth “3D Land.” = +2pts
  • No, no. we stand corrected. Bugs and Daffy breaking into Jordan’s house may be the best part of this film. = +10pts
  • Bugs bad mouths Mickey Mouse. Poor sportsmanship, Bunny. = -1pt
  • At last! Wayne Knight acknowledges that they are surrounded by cartoons! = +5pts
  • I’m just so thankful that everyone had the time and resources to get team jerseys. Looney Tunes can clearly prioritize. = +2pts
  • Disappointed, though, that they couldn’t think of a better name than Toon Squad. Especially with the MonSTARS to compete with. = -3pts
  • No one cheered for Daffy. And it was hilarious. = +4pts
  • Jordan tells the team to “just go out and have fun.” Go out and have fun, Jordan? Go out and have fun?? Were you not listening as you sat all chill-like after falling down the Looney hole, when Bugs explained the situation here? This is no time to “just” do anything but keep from becoming joke slaves at an alien amusement park for eternity. Because Toons don’t die, Jordan. If they lose this game, that’s eternal slavery. There’s no fun to have here. So how about you “just” go out and secure their freedom, eh?  = -10pts
  • No, no. Maybe it’s actually the soundtrack that makes this movie great. = +15pts
  • Alarming plug for steroids in the bottle of “Michael’s Secret Stuff.” Paired with some pretty severe peer pressure. = -10pts 
  • Yosemite Sam and Elmer’s Pulp Fiction reference. = +10pts 
  • The only time Jordan ever laughs, in this entire film, is at an alien getting pantsed. Come on, Michael. The world has more joy than this. = -5pts
  • What I really do appreciate about this ball game is that the Toon Squad wins with their cleverness (of which they have plenty) and not their physical skill (of which they have none). Oh boy, can we relate! = +10pts
  • A flattened Wayne Knight. You can never unsee that. = -5pts
  • Bill Murray wearing a t-shirt under his jersey. = +5pts
  • DeVito’s villain mistaking Bill Murray for Dan Akroyd. = +3pts
  • Bill Murray seems to act with animated characters so much more strongly than Jordan. = No score, just an observation.
  • After all that, Wayne Knight is still stressing about a baseball game. Whatever happened to perspective? = -5pts
  • Jordan stepping off a spaceship to “I Believe I Can Fly.” Juuuuuust terrible. = -15pts
  • No, I was right. The players who lost their talent are the best thing in this film. = +15pts
Total Score = +13pts
Available On: DVD, Amazon, and the $4 bin at Best Buy.

All in all, we could still dig it. Sure, Bugs had to carry the dead-weight that was Michael’s Jordan’s acting, but he carried it with the uninhibited ease of a professional cartoon who can’t feel strain. And on top of all that, the soundtrack rocked, the cameos were satisfying, and we’d be lying if we said it wasn’t kind of nice to see some good ol’ fashion violence back in my cartoons again. And of course we can’t forget the joyful nostalgia of a classic catchphrase!
  • Bugs Bunny said “wabbit,” “Doc,” and/or ate a carrot ten times.  = +10pts
  • Daffy Duck said his classic “Oh brother” three times.  = +3pts
  • “Suffering succotash” by Sylvester twice.  = +2pts
  • Tweety taught he taw something once. = +1pt
  • Porky Pig stuttered so much on a word that he changed words completely a total of three times.  = +3pts
  • But not a single “That’s All, Folks!.”  = -10pts
Revised Total Score: +22pts

Score Technician: Kalah Mazac

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