St. Bonaventure University senior Kyle Zappia recalls he first saw the film Space Jam when he was six years old and immediately loved it. He says to him there was nothing better than National Basketball Association players and Looney Tunes characters coming together on screen.
“It seemed unreal to me,” remembers Zappia, a journalism and mass communication major. “That’s why I loved it.”
He compares the film to two musical artists of different genres uniting to make great entertainment.
“Something about these combinations doesn’t feel right, but when they combine forces, they make magic,” says Zappia. “That’s exactly what Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny did in Space Jam.”
Space Jam, released in 1996, remains a popular film with people who grew up in the 1990s. Eight college students say the movie effectively brings together different pop culture elements, allows them to remember the past and is one of the decade’s definitive childhood films.
In Space Jam, the Looney Tunes challenge five small aliens to a basketball game, risking becoming enslaved employees at an outer space theme park if they lose. The aliens steal the talents of five NBA players, becoming “the Monstars,” skilled gigantic basketball-playing creatures. Bugs Bunny then recruits retired basketball superstar Michael Jordan to help the Looney Tunes win the game.
St. Bonaventure senior Tyler Diedrich remembers his excitement when he received a VHS copy of the film as an Easter present.
“I’m pretty sure I watched it immediately and repeatedly,” says Diedrich, a journalism and mass communication major. “It certainly lived up to the hype. It was the ’90s.”
Patrick Hosken, a St. Bonaventure senior, also remembers seeing Space Jam at a young age.
“I just loved it,” says Hosken, a journalism and mass communication major. “It was a great children’s movie that had everything kids loved: cartoons, sports and Bill Murray. It was all just wonderfully put together.”
Ben Yelin praises the film’s plot.
“Looking back on it, it had a very well written script and a brilliant storyline,” says Yelin, a University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law student. “It was pretty genius to write the alternative history as to why Michael Jordan returned to the NBA after his disastrous baseball career.”
Nicole Nye, a St. Bonaventure English major, remembers her fascination with the film’s mixture of live-action and animation.
“I’m still amazed with the collaboration of a real-time movie and animation,” says Nye, a senior. “I can’t remember watching anything like Space Jam at the time.”
Waheed Ameen fondly remembers first seeing Space Jam in first grade.
“I thought it was a great movie because of my favorite cartoon character, Bugs Bunny,” says Ameen, a St. Bonaventure junior journalism and mass communication major.
He says he’s gained a new appreciation for the film.
“I really enjoy Space Jam now because I actually know the sport of basketball and I know more about arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan,” Ameen says.
Joseph Pechie, a St. Bonaventure senior, says the film inspires him.
“Some movies just have that ‘it’ factor and Space Jam has just that,” says Pechie, a history major. “It always motivates me to be the best person I can be and has taught life lessons that rival those in the Bible.”
St. Bonaventure junior Maddie Gionet says the film provides an escpae.
“Sometimes it’s nice to escape reality and immerse yourself in something you enjoyed back in your childhood,” says Gionet, a journalism and mass communication major.
Space Jam fans have different views on the film’s legacy. Diedrich says he feels it is absolutely the definitive childhood film of the ‘90s.
“Space Jam stands out because ’90s kids will understand and appreciate far more than kids from other generations,” says Diedrich.
Yelin says the film has two definitive qualities.
“For a movie to be definitive it has to be quotable and it must be re-watchable,” he explains. “Space Jam has both going for it.”
Pechie says two other ’90 films affected him more.
“I would say that it is most definitely the sports movie of the ’90s, but not the movie,” he says. “Toy Story and The Lion King both had large impacts on my life.”
Hosken says the film still ties his friends to childhood.
“I could probably walk into a room full of my current friends my age and say ‘Space Jam!’ or play one of its original songs by Quad City DJ’s and people would enjoy reminiscing,” he says.
Zappia agrees nostalgia plays a role into Space Jam remaining relevant.
“I still love the Looney Tunes gang and watching silly nonsensical cartoons always reminds me how awesome being a kid really is” says Zappia.
Nye says Space Jam will always be one of her favorite movies.
“It would be hard to say it’s anything but an epic movie,” says Nye. “Space Jam would honestly be one of the popular ’90s movies that I’d most likely be able to re-watch and fall in love with all over again.”
Bonus: R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” music video from the Space Jam soundtrack.
Space Jam soundtrack promo-Malcham7
Space Jam trailer-michaelsalgado1988
R. Kelly-“I Believe I Can Fly”-AuricSmith