After my Power Rangers post two weeks ago, I’ve received accusations of bias. While I think this is a preposterous allegation, I’m also a person on the internet. If I see you say something I disagree with, we’re going to fight about it. I’ve written negatively slanted blogs about plenty of things I love. Recently we’ve discussed Mighty Ducks, the Lion King, AND Three Musketeers. I’ve also said positive things about properties I hate, like Titanic. I believe I’ve been the very spirit of neutrality. But clearly that isn’t enough, so now I have to do something drastic. I assure you, dear reader, this hurts me FAR more than it hurts you.
There is no reason the Monstars should have lost that game. From recruitment to gameplay, they outshone the Tune Squad at every step, and the plot of Loony Tunes: Back In Action should have been Jenna Elfman and Brendan Fraser breaking into Moron Mountain to free them. Actually, that would have been a great movie, far better than what we actually got out of Back In Action. But instead, the Tune Squad inexplicably beat a team with taller, more athletic players with a better understanding of the game. The Monstars weren’t very smart, but neither are many of the Tunes. The specialty of the Loony Tunes is in trickery, and even then it’s really only Tweety, Road Runner, and Bugs. The job of most of the Loony Tunes is really to just get hurt in humorous ways.
First off, when it comes to planning for the game, it’s considered a major coup that the Loony Tunes trick the alien invaders into playing a basketball game for their freedom. This is great, but as the movie advances, we quickly learn that almost none of the Loony Tunes actually know how to play basketball. Bugs is alright, but none of the rest know anything about the game. Later, Lola joins the team, bringing the number of Loony Tunes with an understanding of basketball all the way up to just under half of a starting lineup. So naturally when the aliens steal talent from 5 NBA players, 3 of whom played in that year’s NBA All Star Game, the Tunes need to bring in some outside talent of their own. So who do they get? Any number of the other 22 All Star players that year?
I don’t know if you’ve seen Space Jam or not (if you haven’t, stop reading this and go watch it now. Like, right now), but if you have, you know that Bugs Bunny did not get any of the other 22 All Star players that year. In a moment of gross recruiting incompetence, Bugs Bunny chose to grab a former basketball player while he was playing golf with his friends. Michael Jordan was a man who had not played basketball in nearly two years. Sure, he turned out to be incredible on his return, but there was no reason to believe that would happen. At the same time, Jordan was playing golf with Larry Bird, another retired legendary basketball player. If you’re not going to recruit active players, maybe at least grab the two men in the area who were both on the legendary “Dream Team” from the Olympics just three years earlier.
So what do you do when you just agreed to play a basketball game for your freedom, and you have three players who even understand the game, one of whom hasn’t played in two years? You clearly give yourself some time to practice. It’s been proven these aliens aren’t very smart, you convinced them to give you a chance to defend yourself by taping a piece of notebook paper in a book that says “give them a chance to defend themselves.” You could easily tell them the next part of that rule is “and we get a month to practice so our retired star player can get back in the groove.” Instead, they got in one partial practice, and one of their three players didn’t even stick around. She proved she could drive the lane past one other player, scored a basket, then bailed. There were no passing drills, no suicides, no layup drills. We saw literally zero actual practice. Michael proved he can make a layup, Lola did a slam dunk, and then Wayne Knight showed up. They didn’t even have tryouts, so somehow Tweety Bird and a tiny mouse got on the team, while the giant bull with speed and power was in the stands.
When game time rolled around, the Monstars demonstrated they were significantly more qualified to be there than the Loony Tunes. The Monstars were taller, had greater reach, and were insanely better players. But the real meat of the game comes in form of fouls. The Monstars definitely did their share of fouling, but the Tune Squad made it into an art form. They used guns on the court, for crying out loud. Wile E. Coyote loaded the Monstars goal with explosives that actually worked for the first time in his life. Tweety Bird punched and kicked Monstars in the face. How did Marvin not call a SINGLE technical foul? What about goal tending for the explosives? What about the illegal roster change at the end of the game when Bill Murray joins the team?
The most egregious moment in the entire movie that should have ruined the Tune Squad’s chances AND credibility as a sports team happened at halftime. Stan Podelac sneaks into the Monstar locker room and hides in a locker to spy on the team. In 2007, the New England Patriots were fined $50,000 for various acts of espionage including sending employees to steal play sheets and for filming opposing coaches signalling their players. Being caught in the act, however, would likely have ended in the team immediately forfeiting the game, especially if they were already down 60 points. All Stan got was roughed up a little bit, and crucial information as to why the Monstars suddenly had so much talent.
Obviously I love Space Jam. One of my earliest posts for this blog was a detailed explanation of why it should be inducted into the National Film Registry. But like many things I love, it is not without flaw. There is no reason the Tune Squad should have won that game, Loony Tune antics notwithstanding. I hate that I had to write this, but at least now I have tangible evidence of my lack of bias. After this thing, I should be a citizen of Switzerland. That’s all for now, love and kisses!
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