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Why 'Space Jam' is worth watching right now

It's a popular choice on Netflix.
/ Source: TODAY

With so many comfort TV shows and movies to choose from while staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic, one popular option is a wacky live-action/animated flick from 1996.

“Space Jam” currently ranks among the top 10 movies on Netflix. It’s a story of good vs. evil, Tune Squad vs. Monstars, Michael Jordan vs. Danny DeVito.

Why are so many people clicking on “Space Jam”? Based on some of the reaction on Twitter, it’s a reminder of their childhood.

But “Space Jam” is more than a nostalgic trip down memory lane. Here are a few more reasons why it’s worth a watch:

It’s fun for kids

All of their favorite Looney Tunes characters are here. Bugs Bunny. Daffy Duck. Porky Pig. Lola Bunny, a love interest for Bugs who has serious basketball skills. The list goes on and on.

Children will get a kick out of the slapstick comedy that Looney Tunes cartoons are known for. Pretty much every character gets trampled on, manhandled or otherwise tortured at one point or another.

Of course, there’s also Jordan, the human star of the film. If your children don’t recognize him from his Hall of Fame basketball career, they may recognize him as the man behind the internet’s favorite crying meme.

It’s fun for adults, too

“Space Jam” is a genuinely funny movie, with lots of real-world references that will fly over kids’ heads but adults will enjoy. Bill Murray has several laugh-out-loud lines.

As one example: After spending the entire film begging anyone who would listen to give him a shot as a basketball player, he finally gets his chance late in the Tune Squad-Monstars game. But when Jordan explains to him that their team is on defense, he replies, “Whoa … I don’t play defense.” Classic Murray.

Bill Murray, Bugs Bunny, Michael Jordan in "Space Jam"
Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny defeat the Monstars with an assist from Bill Murray.Everett Collection

Wayne Knight of “Seinfeld” fame is a highlight, too, as a publicist/Jordan’s lackey. In one memorable line, he teases Jordan before a minor league baseball game over Jordan’s many endorsement deals: “C'mon, Michael, it's game time. Get your Hanes on, lace up your Nikes, grab your Wheaties and your Gatorade, and we'll pick up a Big Mac on the way to the ballpark.”

There are many other things adults can look out for during the film, including a quick “Pulp Fiction” tribute and cameos from Patricia Heaton and “Simpsons” actor Dan Castellaneta.

It helps fill the void for sports fans

The NBA season has been suspended. So have the seasons for other major sports. So why not revisit one of the greatest performances of all time by one of the greatest athletes of all time? (Sure, Jordan won six NBA titles, but none of those Finals were a one-game winner-take-all against enormous Monstars.)

Admittedly, sports fans will need to suspend their disbelief while watching the game. The officiating is poor; where are the foul calls?

And the comeback is a stretch. Literally, it is a stretch. Jordan stretches his arm 15 feet or more to score the final basket.

Of course, the whole idea of Jordan being sucked into the Looney Tunes world and having to defend Bugs and his friends in a basketball game against aliens might require suspension of disbelief, too.

It’s an uplifting movie

Viewers can take away some inspiring lessons from “Space Jam.” Take, for example, Jordan’s speech to his teammates in the second half, after Bugs tricked them into believing they could play better by drinking “Michael’s Secret Stuff,” which was really just tap water.

The Looney Tunes ask Jordan for more of the “Secret Stuff” to give them another boost, but he assures them it’s not necessary: “It didn't wear off. It was just water. You guys had the special stuff inside of you all along.”

Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny in "Space Jam"
Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny make quite a pair.Everett Collection

The theme throughout the movie is that you can do anything you put your mind to. Anyone can benefit from a positive message like that one — though, apparently, it did not apply to Jordan’s baseball career, which is frequently mocked in the film.

Not that it matters. Jordan saves the day for the Looney Tunes. They triumph in the face of adversity. We could use more stories like that right now.

“Space Jam” is available for streaming on Netflix through the end of April.