In 1996, Leo Benvenuti and Steve Rudnick (Damon, the Santa Clause franchise) wrote a script that riffed on Jordan’s ill-fated retirement to baseball’s minor leagues with a collision that seemed like Mars Attacks! and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? had a cinematic baby. Directed by Joe Pytka (whose real claim to fame is critically-recognized commercials), the film allowed the world to see Jordan and his pals Charles Barkley and Bill Murray in a different sort of light.
It is still my favorite sports movie that’s not really a sports movie. And it has the greatest soundtrack one could possibly imagine for a film from 1996, with Coolio, Steve Miller Band, and many more – including R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” – on the record. (The year the film came out, I was volunteering at a summer camp for homeless children – they demanded I play the song on repeat which meant fast forwarding the ‘B’ side song thanks to those things called cassette tapes!) In fact, the special features of this twenty-year anniversary includes the music videos for Seal’s “Fly Like An Eagle” (seriously, what is Seal up to these days?) and “Hit ‘Em High (The Monstars’ Anthem)” (B-Real, Busta Rhymes, Coolio, LL Cool J & Method Man). For real-io.
Wayne Knight (Seinfeld) provides some laughs as Jordan’s bumbling publicist, and several other real-life NBAers like Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, Muggsy Bogues, Shawn Bradley, and Larry Johnson have cameos – proving Jordan’s star power then. The fact that most people still know who he is, even if they don’t know the majority of the others, still puts Jordan in a level all by himself.
Other special features for those digging the story of how the Nerdlucks get taken down by Bugs, Jordan, and a thing we like to call “heart” include a featurette with Bugs and MJ called “Jammin’ with Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan” (I know, so creative) and commentary on the film that brings Pytka together with the ‘voices’ of Bugs and Daffy Duck.
Seriously though, if you love basketball, Looney Tunes, or just need a good laugh – get the steelbook version of this one. You’ll be glad you added it to your collection.