BOOTLEG FILES 656: “Hare-Breadth Hurry” (1963 animated short with Bugs Bunny and Wile E. Coyote).
LAST SEEN: On DailyMotion.com.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It seems to have fallen through the cracks.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It’s not a priority.
I wasn’t expecting to do another Bugs Bunny-related column after covering “Rabbit Every Monday” a few weeks ago, but I stumbled over the 1963 “Hare-Breadth Hurry” by accident and felt that this deserves a second look. Continue reading →
BOOTLEG FILES 651: “Rabbit Every Monday” (1951 animated short with Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam).
LAST SEEN: On DailyMotion.com.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On VHS and LaserDisc only.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It was never released on DVD or Blu-ray.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It could happen.
Believe it or not, a surprisingly substantial number of classic Bugs Bunny cartoons were never released on DVD or Blu-ray. We’re not talking about the politically incorrect shorts that have been kept of circulation for very obvious reasons, but the knockabout cartoons that were a staple of kiddie television for decades and were part of the initial VHS and LaserDisc release of the old-time Warner Bros. output.
One of Bugs Bunny works not on DVD or Blu-ray is the 1951 “Rabbit Every Monday.” It may not be a classic of the genre, but it has enough goofy charm to generate smiles and light chuckles.
It’s Halloween and Daffy Duck’s Nephew encounters Witch Hazel while trick or treating. Terrified he runs away screaming and insisting to Daffy that he saw a witch. Determined to prove him wrong he takes him to her house. Meanwhile Bugs turns up in the same costume Daffy’s nephew is wearing and has his own adventure with Witch Hazel. As always with these Looney Tunes “movies,” they’re really just bare boned one page premises serving as frames for craftily edited montages that count as big movies. If you hadn’t seen these Looney Tunes shorts a million times like yours truly, you’d never really be able to tell much a difference.
Your enjoyment of “Space Jam” may depend on your nostalgia factor and your love for Michael Jordan. Ultimately, “Space Jam” is a serviceable kids and family animation hybrid that teams up one of the most iconic sports heroes of the nineties with one of the most iconic animated characters of all time. Michael Jordan’s popularity was somewhat waning in 1996 thanks to his stint playing baseball, and “Space Jam” is something of an image boost that also happened to be a pretty huge marketing success during the mid-nineties. With toys, music, VHS tapes, and everything else, “Space Jam” was a pretty big pop culture storm that built a larger and loyal audience.
IN SELECT THEATERS — If you haven’t had a massive amount of nostalgia to frame the memories for “Space Jam,” then odds are you won’t really enjoy the mix of Michael Jordan, The Looney Tunes, and Bill Murray, for some reason. Without the nostalgia, “Space Jam” is just a mediocre animated comedy that is made by a committee, and used to boast the waning popularity of Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes. There’s also Bill Murray for some reason. Back in the mid nineties, Michael Jordan was sports royalty and was playing baseball professionally; someone had the bright idea to give him a movie co-starring timeless cartoon characters because that’s how stuff works. For all its faults (and there are a lot of them) “Space Jam” is a perfect storm of urban appeal, and family appeal that managed to make it a veritable marketing juggernaut in 1996.
Growing up in the nineties, I would watch cartoons all day long during the weekdays; hell I pulled seven hours at school and was a grade A TV junkie, so I watched a ton of television. During the cartoons, between the toy and candy commercials, there were about thirty anti-drug and alcohol PSA’s played between the hours of three and six. Hey, mock me all you want, but those PSA’s worked and worked well on me. It’s not enough that I always found the idea of drug use disgusting, but the PSA’s that would air on television scared me straight, just as they intended.
Prepare to be schooled in classic music as “Looney Tunes Musical Masterpieces” is an eighteen toon class in some of the finest music. Beyond that it’s also a very fun compilation of the some of the best musical mash ups Termite Terrace has to offer, and you’d be a fool to pass this one up. “A Corny Concerto” garner various short segments including the battle of Bugs, Porky, and his hunting dog, as they outwit one another, and a mother Swan’s attempts to outmatch Beaky Buzzard.
I am very surprised that “Space Jam” continues to garner such a cult following, even to this day. I remember watching it for the first time back in 1996 and leaving it thinking “That kind of sucked.” Even years later, I remember it as a movie that did nothing but pander to audiences, push massive merchandise, and worked as a PR tool for Michael Jordan who’d garnered some poor fan fare after his foray in to baseball. “Space Jam” is not that good a movie.
Even in my current love for nineties nostalgia, you’d have to argue very hard for me to buy the movie on DVD or Blu-Ray. And I almost bought a bag of old pogs on online, a few days ago. In either case, Warner is hoping to cash in on fans of the first movie by creating a sequel tentatively titled “Space Jam 2.” This installment will apparently star Lebron James, in place of Michael Jordan.
1996’s “Space Jam” was a goofy movie, with a paper thin plot, and lackluster comedy obviously constructed by a committee of corporate suits, Jordan’s PR team, and some writers who built the perfect publicity machine for Air Jordan, all the while selling off some Looney Tunes crap with McDonald’s.
That said, we have our fond nostalgia for the movie, however minuscule, so here are 5 Things We Love, and 5 Things We Hate About “Space Jam.”