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Space Jam

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The film that finally puts two things together that no one asked for, no previous commonality, no established universe, no real similarities, and no capability of accomplishing something someone might label "good". Cartoons and basketball just don't go together.

Hot off the success of Roger Rabbit, well ok, not hot off. More like many years later....someone decided to mashup our reality with the physics defying world of Bugs Bunny. Now that possibly could have worked, if they had chosen to focus on that. But Space Jam focuses on the life and times of Michael Jordan, which has nothing to do with cartoons. Nothing. So the Looney Tunes take a back seat to MJ. Sure he's the greatest (LeBron?) but he's not what is putting butts in seats here. Otherwise you'd just have a film starring Michael Jordan. Come on...

Beyond the idiocy that is the concept, the film is garbage. The most fatal flaw that Warner Bros. committed here is that they thought people came for Looney Tunes because of Bugs, Daffy, and Yosemite. Little did they understand, those characters were just the delivery vehicle for the shear brilliance that was Chuck Jones and Mel Blanc. THOSE guys are why we came. Proof required? Try watching a Merry Melodies after a Looney Tunes. Without Chuck Jones and Mel Blanc the WB crew is just another bland unmemorable troop of talking critters.

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The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh

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Nothing says "screwball" comedy like professional basketball in the late 70's. So why not have a film about a terrible team that becomes great via the powers of astrology? Toss in Dr. Julius Erwing, Kareem Abdul-Jabar, Meadowlark Lemon and repeat stinker stars like Branscombe Richmond and Julius Carry III and you've got some loonie business that is right up our alley.

On paper this film should be one to steer clear from. Even just watching the trailer is enough to give casual viewers of crummy films the heebie-jeebies. Yet somehow there is a serious level of charm to this film beyond the obvious live-action WB cartoon version that Jonathan Winters was shooting for. There's a seriously well blended volume of comedy of all types that award both fans of basketball and those that loathe all sports.

Everyone loves the Harlem Globetrotters and this film reinforces why that works.

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Steel

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He's a blue-collar Batman, that comes loaded with super-strength and a compassionate, pacifistic outlook. Slap on a bunch of not-bulletproof metal armor and give him a hammer/gun and Oracle (from Batman) and you've got Shaq looking pretty doofy.

So it stinks, sure. But we think this film is abused a little too much. It's currently at a 2.8 on IMDB and a 1.4 on Letterboxd. That puts it below Batman & Robin, and Catwoman. It's not even close to that bad. By your standard movie goer rating scale, this is just a 4. By our standards, it's a little higher than that. We make no claim that it's awesome but in no way is as awful as Catwoman. It's just a shitty movie.

However, it does have it's moments. The action is filled with dumbness. Steel's powers and weapons look terrible on screen. Shaq himself, in Steel Armor, looks like he belongs in Flash Gordon and he's just too damn big to be taken seriously. It appears the film-makers may have realized this and crammed this jobber with loads of camp. 

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Double Team

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Before he was the US Ambassador to Kim-Jong Un, Dennis Rodman had a dream of being a big Hollywood actor. The path to victory? A movie where he fights tigers, exploding babies, references that aren't related to basketball and U.N.C.L.E. Oh yeah, JCVD is there too.

Double Team is silly in the same vein as any Cannon/Chuck Norris joint. There's a reason that major action movies died for almost 20 years (thanks Fast & Furious franchise) and this movie may have been a huge part of that decline. JCVD led the 90's in super awesome punching bad guy films and here in 1997 film-goers were willing to say "I've had enough of that". A plot that doesn't make any sense, horrific editing, and too too too many basketball related jokes just put them over the edge.

The action sequences are about as "over the top" as you can get. There's truck jumping, tiger's packing heat, exploding babies, foot knives, a machine-gun toting, horse-mounted loon, Belloq as head of CONTROL, under-water lasers, combustible swimming pools, human basketballs, and death nannies. It's crammed pack with so much bonkers action that its hard to keep up.

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