Exploiting the Archives: Celebrate Space Jam's 21st Birthday with its Forgotbuster entry
I want to let y’all in on a little secret: the parameters for my best-known columns, My World of Flops, and Forgotbusters, have always been fuzzy to the point of meaninglessness. For My World of Flops, for example, I am supposed to limit myself to movies that were financial failures, critically maligned and do not have sizable cult followings.
But if you look through the archives of My World of Flops, something I encourage you to do only with the eleven most recent columns, you will find movies that turned tidy profits, were critically praised for the most part and have sizable, even enormous cults. There are a lot of movies that I have covered for My World of Flops that I would to be able to write about for my Sub-Cult column at Rotten Tomatoes but can’t, because I wouldn’t want to double-dip that way, huge cult phenomenon like Freddy Got Fingered, The Apple, Joe Versus the Volcano and Ishtar.
The idea for Forgotbusters was that I would write about movies that were among the top 25 top-grossing films the year of their release that have gone on to be forgotten, or at least fade significantly in the public imagination. As with My World of Flops, I ended up writing about a whole bunch of movies I quickly discovered had huge cults, and for very good reasons, like the Sylvester Stallone one-two punch Cobra and Tango & Cash.
When I write about movies for Forgotbusters, My World of Flops or Sub-Cult, it’s partially because they meet the parameters of the columns, and partially because I want to write about them, and will take any reasonable excuse to do so.
For the very first entry in Forgotbusters, I chose a movie from my childhood that I genuinely thought people had forgotten about: Space Jam. I foolishly imagined that the Michael Jordan vehicle was a smash at the time of its release but that subsequent generations would reject it as a cynical abomination that both desecrated beloved pop-culture staples and functioned as a 90 minute ad for sneakers and its star’s enormously lucrative personal brand.
Now I am wrong a lot. It’s kind of my thing. I’m wrong much of the time, but I have seldom been more wrong than when I assumed that Space Jam was a half-forgotten piece of embarrassing pop culture detritus. Half of the internet decided it was their solemn duty to inform me just how wrong I was and how Space Jam was to millennials what Easy Rider was to hippies: a film that defined a generation.
So while I was so very wrong about Space Jam being forgotten, I can say with absolute certainty that I was right, however, about it being total garbage. Garbage that defined a generation.
In fact, the snarky, calculating asshole part of me thinks it might be fun (and more importantly, good for the page-views) to introduce a column called Millennial Masterpieces, with Space Jam for the first entry. But I would not do that to y’all. At least unless things get really desperate. So, probably.
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