Welcome to the Jam, Drinkers!
I know it’s been awhile but we’re back and we’re drinking! It’s Beer Week here in Los Angeles, which means that there are tons of cool events to be going to throughout the area for the next ten days. And while none of them are movie-related (as far as I know), we’re sticking to tradition and pairing Sam Adams’ Dunkelweizen (from their Fall mixer) with the 1996 “classic” Space Jam. If you’re not in LA, settle in and enjoy tonight’s review. If you live in LA, turn off your computer, go to your favorite bar and drink something local. Game on.
Man oh man have I not seen this movie in a loooong time. The 1996 Ivan Reitman-produced, Michael Jordan-starring, semi-animated film Space Jam brings up some old memories and some conflicted emotions. I think most people my generation saw this movie when they were young. It was one of those gimmicky movies that really captures its time. A time when you could slap Michael Jordan’s name to something and it was an instant success. A time when the Chicago Bulls were relavent (zing!). A time when a film’s plot was ancillary to the amount of fun it could provide. Because really, there’s almost no plot. For a two hour movie, there’s maybe 15 minutes of story. The rest is either hijinks or a basketball montage. To be fair though, I didn’t really expect much other than those two things, but if that’s all you’re going to do, at least do it well. Specifically, I feel a bit cheated by the Looney Toons. I love the Looney Toons. I still find the original cartoons hilarious. But maybe due to an updating in the writing staff or just because they’ve aged poorly, our favorite Looney Toons aren’t very funny. They feel like parodies of themselves. Bugs doesn’t even sound the same. All the cartoons say and do what they’re supposed to, but it all just feels stiff. It doesn’t have that fresh, insane energy of the original cartoons. Bugs doesn’t even dress up as a woman bunny! He has a girlfriend instead. YAWN. Atleast Taz and Wile E. Coyote are still pretty hilarious but that’s because they don’t talk. And why don’t they put Road Runner on the court? (S)He’s so fast!
But I’ll ignore most of my gripes with this film simply because it’s not trying to be anything more than entertaining to kids. So we can just look past Michael Jordan’s odd willingness to sacrifice his freedom for some cartoons he’s just met (cartoons that forcibly remove him from reality and demand training), the mushy rules of cartoon basketball or how almost none of this film takes place in space. Ignoring those, and many other complaints, I just want to point out a few weird thing. One: the strange frequency of references to the film industry (union contracts, agents, likeness fees, Teamsters, etc.). I don’t think I got that when I was younger. Two: the oddly stoned alien (“I’m ready for another trip!”). It’s just a bit blunt…see what I did there? And three: Bill Murray. Did you remember that Bill Murray was in this? As himself? Zombieland premonition! But seriously, it’s hard to take this movie seriously. It’s meant for kids in the simplest of interpretations. It does little to be treat its audience intelligently and does not age well with the audience that saw it when they were seven. And, sadly, I have the suspicion that today’s youth would be too fond of this one. Sorry, Mike!
And was tonight’s Dunkzelweizen a slam dunk (now you’re getting it)? I’d say it was a decent two-pointer (sports knowledge!). It was nothing special but it’s solid beer for an average night. This Sam Adams beer, fresh out of their Harvest Collection, is a darkish wheat brewed with Belgian yeast. The end result is kind of what you’d expect from that description: a medium-bodied wheat beer with some classic banany yeast flavor. There’s some fruity sweetness in there that’s balanced against the darker malts, making this beer fall right in the middle of the road in almost every regard. So while it doesn’t do anything special, it’s still a pretty good beer for when the evenings start to chill. But since I’m in LA, that won’t be for awhile.
So that’s the game breakdown, folks. We had a once-funny, now-frustrating film with a solid but ordinary beer. Not the best way to get back into BAAM but it’s hard to complain when you have a beer in your hand, a movie on your screen and Michael Jordan crushing Bill Murray’s hoop dreams. Very hard.
Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
Samuel Adams’ Dunkelweizen:
-Pours hazy, medium brown
-Classic Belgian-yeast flavor
-Solid but unremarkable
-Childhood classic, but the shine has faded
-Michael Jordan+Bugs Bunny=hijinks
-All kinds of Hollywood & NBA cameos. Charles Barkley anyone?