There’s been a lot of Space Jam talk around these parts lately. Although if you reach out to some people, (okay, yes, I am one of them) there’s been a lot of Space Jam talk at all times, always, since the movie first came out in 1996.
The backlash is understandable. It’s not exactly a good movie, the plot is insanely flawed, it was a definite cash grab (and it worked), and it hasn’t held up all that well. Matt Moore of CBS covered a lot of this last week, so I’m not going to tread on his ground.
I’m sure putting LeBron in the Space Jam reboot might worry some people because this is the era of making everything again and sometimes making things not that great. And the originals are just that for a reason: They were something, and you have a general sense of who you were when you saw them for the first time, what mindset you were in, where you lived, and more. For me, Space Jam hit me right in the middle of my developmental period between pop culture and sports, and seeing these two things I already grew up loving – the NBA and the Looney Tunes – smashed together along with a random appearance by Newman from Seinfeld and Bill Murray was like speaking directly to me. I was the target audience. I still am the target audience.
And that’s where this new movie starts to get a little bit tricky. Are the filmmakers going to cater this to those of us who caught Space Jam the first time around? Give us hat tips, head nods, references to the ’90s? Or is this going to be a fresh start entirely and a way to bring Space Jam to a new generation, which would therein alienate all of the people who liked the first movie for what it was (and didn’t try to make it into something it’s not), and have all of us angry and rushing to our keyboards?
Chances are it will lie somewhere in the middle. It will be a totally fine kids movie that knows what it is, LeBron will do well, it will make a lot of money, and 20 years from now Uproxx will write an involved and comprehensive oral history about it. Nobody will die. Nobody’s feelings will really be that hurt. Kids will smile. And life will be okay.
But where does that leave the original? For one thing, it only gives us more time to appreciate the ridiculousness of it and analyze it from multiple angles. One of which is the on-court action itself, which has never really stood up to the test of time.
The TuneSquad has no fewer than 18 members on its team, not including people who aren’t actively dressed. I don’t know what the basketball rules are in Tune Land, but compared to the Monstars, who don’t even have a sixth man, it’s clear the Looney Tunes have a definite depth advantage, and that plays a role, especially if somehow this were to go to a seven-game series.
This is an attempt to give a brief scouting report on all of the TuneSquad members. The NBA’s TV deal is going to play a huge role, especially with the cap going up, and I see Tune Land having a hard time keeping this championship team together, so they’re going to have to make some really difficult decisions down the road.
Michael Jordan is good at basketball. He doesn’t really have any flaws, especially not in Looney Tune land, where he can apparently stretch himself out to dunk from anywhere on the court. I don’t think it’s all that hyperbolic to say Jordan is the best player on this team, and the most important player the TuneSquad has. They probably can’t beat the Monstars without him.
I am sorry for using such forceful and opinionated language here.
Murray actually is pretty dang coordinated. At this time, he’s in really good shape for 46. He’s got height over the rest of the Tunes, and he has a wealth of self-confidence, at one point actually suggesting (in the real world) that he would have a shot to make the NBA when all the players are worried about the mysterious illness (or otherwise) that’s started to take away players’ talent.
While Bill doesn’t have a go-to move, he’s extremely resourceful. Lest we forget how he got to Tune Land in the first place:
Daffy Duck: Just how did you get here, anyway?
Bill Murray: Producer’s a friend of mine. He sent a Teamster to drop me off.
Daffy Duck: Aha. Well, that’s the way it goes.
Every team needs a guy like this. Murray is the TuneSquad’s Charles Oakley.
As publicists go, Stan is pretty tremendous. He gets a bad rap for being overbearing and a little bit hovery, but it comes in handy seeing as he single-handedly finds Michael in Tune Land on his own while everyone else is looking around for answers. Plus Stan understands the importance of #BRANDS. And he goes to any distance to get intel – participating in his very own Spygate situation at halftime.
But as basketball players go, yeah, Stan’s not great. He almost gets passed over for the buzzard who is dressed entirely in bandages. He gets flattened and then blown back up like a balloon, his uniform doesn’t really fit all that great, and he sweats profusely. But he’s passionate, and fiercely loyal. And if the going got tough, he’d scrap with the best of them. His instant offense (despite the pancaking) helps bring the TuneSquad back after the Monstars start bruising.
Every team needs a No. 2, and Lola is a fully capable Robin to Jordan’s Batman. She’s a terrific ballhandler, she’s fearless, she has so much moxie she’s got the rest of the team falling all over themselves to impress her, and she has a knack for getting everyone involved. Although her uniform is a little bit too small, but I’m going to blame the equipment guys for that one.
Jordan can’t do it all alone, and he can’t do it with a random cast of 20-or-so Looney Tunes. Just ask LeBron about his first tour of duty with the Cavs if you disagree. Jordan needs another scorer and someone who can make things go. Lola is that player. Just don’t ever call her Doll.
While Bugs is never really lacking for confidence, he does have some skill. He’s a regular Dion Waiters out there, and when he stays within himself, he can really help out. Also, he has a mail scooter for some reason, which comes in handy as the TuneSquad is making its run.
Bugs is a clear starter on this team, but he’s not a guy you want to overpay in free agency.
I’m a huge fan of Taz on this team. So much so, he’s the guy I went with when I bought my very own TuneSquad jersey. No, really. His number is an exclamation point.
Taz is an absolute bulldog of a player. He’s tenacious, he never quits, he never gives up, and even though he sometimes plays out of control, when he has structure around him with guys like Jordan, Babs and Bugs, he is an undeniable x-factor. Taz can play for me any day, as long as I have a good insurance and liability plan in place.
A lot of smoke, not that much sizzle. But that’s okay. Every team needs a goat (not to be confused with G.O.A.T., although the TuneSquad has one of those too). Someone to blame when things go wrong. Daffy isn’t perfectly capable of getting minutes, although it’s not immediately clear what his strengths are. He is pretty fashionable, though.
Marvin The Martian
I’m confused about this one, but I think I finally have it figured out. Marvin is the ref in this game, and I always wondered why he didn’t just play. You can find a ref anywhere. If Stan could make it down to Tune Land, I am sure they could’ve gotten Joey Crawford there too. And lord knows if there’s a game that’s highly publicized, even in another dimension, Crawford will be there to make his presence felt.
So why let Marvin do it? Well here’s my theory. Marvin is an alien, just like the Monstars. And he’s a Looney Tune. He’s conflicted, much like Abradolf Lincler was in Rick And Morty. So rather than pick a side, he became a neutral arbiter. This takes guts and a strong sense of self to not remove yourself from the situation entirely and instead play a very important role (and play it well). So while Marvin doesn’t get a typical scouting report, he deserves every word that’s just been written about him.
He also calls Michael Jordan “Sir Altitude.”
Look at the anger, the fierce determination in those eyes. Perhaps no player had a greater transformation once the team was introduced to Michael’s “Secret Stuff” than Tweety. When Tweety starts believing, Tweety is unstoppable.
Now here’s a bird who is just looking for a chance to show its stuff. You talk about a bird, that’s a bird right there. I call Tweety “The Gulfstream” because this bird flies around, knows its self worth and can land in any private airport it chooses.
I’m not too sure the TuneSquad needs Sylvester. He doesn’t exactly pull his own weight. Something tells me he’s far too overpaid for his production. There are younger and hungrier players on this team who are a lot more motivated to help out. I know he’s a fan favorite, and he had some good moments in the earlier years, but I have to see a trade coming soon. A change of scenery will do both the team and him some good. He doesn’t get along with the refs either. Marvin takes an opportunity to shoot Sylvester with a space gun at halftime.
Also, there’s this weird thing where Sylvester tries to eat Tweety during the game. That’s not really all that good for team morale. Looks like we’ve got a regular Sprewell over here.
Sniffles The Mouse
Sniffles is a great talker. Despite his size, I’m pretty sure Sniffles will find some way to stick around in the league for like 15 years. Sniffles is Earl Boykins.
I say, I say, I don’t know if Foghorn has the constitution for an 82-game season. He’s injury prone and extremely flammable. Wasted draft pick when there were other more talented players still on the board.
Granny doesn’t actually play, as she’s the teams’ No. 1 cheerleader (literally, this is what she tells Stan when he gets excited and lets her know that if anyone gets injured, they’re in for some big minutes). But she does log a minute – she’s passed the ball and promptly decleated by the Monstars.
It’s hard to overstate how important Granny is to the overall makeup of this team. Something tells me we have a The Replacements situation here, although I’m not sure who her Shane Falco is. My guess is it’s Stan. The tension between them was palpable.
Fastest end-to-end speed among the prospects. Incredible in the cone drill at the combine. Just needs a chance to thrive. Might be two or three years away from really contributing at a high level, but with development could be a starter down the road. Terrific motor.
Is a pig. (Does get a dunk though when standing on two other TuneSquad members’ shoulders.)
I mean, Fudd has a gun. So he’s Gilbert Arenas I guess? I can’t see this being such a good thing in the locker room. Come to think of it, so does Yosemite Sam.
The commissioner is just going to let this go on unchecked, huh? Bunch of Tarantino wannabes running around making for a hostile work environment. But this is Tune Land, and maybe the league has a different sort of standards than the NBA did under David Stern. Or maybe the union really has all the control. And speaking of…
Wile E. Coyote
Wile E. literally blows up somebody with explosives at the hoop. There is no way this is not a foul. I take back everything I said about Marvin earlier. He is letting too much go. This is Bad Boys Pistons-era tomfoolery from both sides. If he doesn’t get control of this game, somebody is going to get seriously injured. It is nice to see one of Wile E.’s inventions work as they were intended. The dude was a hell of an scientist, but he had that Edison complex far too often. He deserves some little victories. Someday he’s going to invent the next iPhone.
Pepe Le Pew
The French Connection! Pepe brings that Euroball flare that the team desperately needs. He’s calm, cool and collected. And he’s a lover. Don’t underestimate what Pepe can do, especially if he’s coached by a guy who can bring out the best in him. I’m telling you, get him under Pop and let him play for the Spurs and somehow he’ll be a fringe All-Star. He’s being improperly used on this team.
I really have no idea why Barnyard Dawg is on this team. He should be in the D-League.