By Ryan Bukowiecki (@ryanbski)
In case you didn’t know, LeBron James is in Los Angeles now and you can say for good.
You can attribute the phrase “for good” in at least two ways in regards to King James ruling in Hollywood — not only will he likely maintain his permanent residence there indefinitely, but James, who produced or worked in such quality fare as “Survivor’s Remorse” and “Trainwreck” while he was in Miami and Cleveland is definitely going for broke now that he’s in Southern California’s industry town.
News broke this week of James officially getting off the ground the long awaited “Space Jam 2,” not necessarily a sequel but a continuation of the beloved 1996 mashup of then NBA-ruler Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes universe.
As things change, things tend to stay the same and Bron knew before he even thought of going to L.A. that his pairing with Bugs Bunny and the Monstars would be another momentous pop culture occasion and the official entrance of his into box office stardom, a place he could visit again with regularity as he gives up the game to Bronny Jr. and his contemporaries.
(And this is the point of the post where we remind you how far ahead of the curve our guy in New York, and WARR alumni, Brandon Robinson was of this story. Watch out for Kevin Durant at the Space Jam 2 premiere, also.)
As announced by LeBron and his Springhill Entertainment production company via the Hollywood Reporter, James is not only shooting for the rare air of the previous Jam, but the kind of culturally specific yet universal jackpot achieved by the likes of “Black Panther,” you can tell that much by James enlisting BP director Ryan Coogler as a producer and the Afrocentrically avant-garde Terence Nance as director.
In Coogler, James is making a relatively sure bet by having a successful filmmaker, as hot as any in Hollywood, who knows how to work with previously established beloved characters involved. Coogler has added new depth to Rocky Balboa and established the Panther as the most righteous hero of the Marvel Universe, it’ll be interesting to see how he relates Daffy and Porky Pig to the current day culture.
As far as Nance goes, he has a brilliant and challenging show on HBO now called “Random Acts of Flyness,” that on its surface would seem a polar opposite from what we should see in Space Jam, but maybe that would only be the case for the previous one.
The ’90s Jam was a byproduct of a more innocuous time culturally, where Jordan’s ubiquity was mostly intended for commercial gain or inclusion, it was an obvious idea born out of previous collaborations Jordan’s Nike line had with Bugs and Warner Bros.’ beloved iconography.
The director of the previous movie was maybe the most lauded commercial director of his time and Mike’s sidekick was the beloved Bill Murray who was already working on his second generation of broadly entertaining actual young guys and the young at heart.
This next Jam will likely be a more personal statement for James, an extension of his previous efforts to instill more pride and break down imaginative bounds for most children who come from the same limiting backgrounds he did.
As James told the Hollywood Reporter, “I’d just love for kids to understand how empowered they can feel and how empowered they can be if they don’t just give up on their dreams.”
We’ll likely get some broad comedy as well (especially if Kevin Hart is in the mix), but either sub-textually or cleanly typed in the script should be some elements of expression made to resonate with children and families of color above all and in the post-Panther era its been proven that the masses can get with that kind of entertainment as long as its done well and indeed does bridge gaps in representation that have long existed in mainstream Hollywood.
Why not have as many people believe they can fly as possible?
Oh Captain, My Captain
If it wasn’t part of the unfadable Marvel Cinematic Universe,
it would be understandable if the makers of Captain Marvel felt a little salty about Space Jam 2 possibly stealing a little bit of the spotlight from its successful reveal of the first trailer for its future-blockbuster.
But Captain Marvel will be a blockbuster, no doubt. No one will be speaking much about the next Jam or any other movie when the Captain premieres this coming March and the first extended footage showed a lot of reasons why.
Oscar-winner Brie Larson was perfect casting as Carol Danvers and though she may not have spoke enough in the trailer for some’s taste (Really? We’re counting words now? How about the first two words after the title, which aren’t “Sam Jackson”…) she looks like she’s going to live up to the pathos and power of the character perfectly.
Captain Marvel’s Triumphant First Trailer Shoots for the Stars (iO9)
As “Infinity War” so brilliantly set up in its very final scene, Captain Marvel is the character we’ve all been waiting for, the one who will possibly restore a new balance and direction to the most successful film franchise going now. As the set-up to the most anticipated movie maybe of all time, “Avengers 4,” the Captain stands to make an awful lot of money too, maybe even outdoing the Panther if you ask a certain chocolate co-star of The D & Davis Show.
Mr. Spruiel’s excitement for the movie may be buoyed by anticipation of taking his daughter to see the first headlining woman in the MCU. I’m not sure what the Captain will make in comparison to its other standalone Marvel extravaganzas, but it can be assumed that this movie, like the Panther will help open more doors and expand more minds in seeing a new kind of hero kick ass and help save the universe.
As the brilliant poster for Captain Marvel states — “Higher, Further, Faster” — its all about doing a little bit more, and to see that more come in the package this movie presents means something, it means you can not only see what’s super in a woman at first glance but that you should realize what’s possible when you get out her way and let her fly.
Ryan Bukowiecki covers the Chicago Bears and professional football for WARR