10 Movies to Watch to Get Excited for Space Jam 2
Over 20 years in the making, the beloved ’90s classic Space Jam is finally getting its long-awaited sequel in Space Jam: A New Legacy. The film features the glorious return of the Looney Tunes, with the current era’s basketball G.O.A.T. LeBron James leading the way. Along with swapping out its basketball protagonist, the sequel is also jumping to the virtual world, incorporating a slew of wacky and wild modern twists, as well as a new roster of NBA and WNBA stars.
But with the film’s release still more than two months away, excited fans should look to these movie titles to both hold them over and get them excited for what the core actors, filmmakers, and cartoon characters are going to bring to Space Jam: A New Legacy.
10 Space Jam
There isn’t a more obvious place to start than the original that first brought together the decade’s biggest sports star and the timeless characters of Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, and the rest of the classic Looney Tunes gang.
Made on the heels of basketball icon Michael Jordan’s return to the sport (and released during the Bulls second three-peat championship run) the film tracks the events of Jordan’s temporary retirement from basketball, which included battling a squad of aliens for the talent of his fellow NBA all-stars (with the help of the legendary Bill Murray, of course).
9 Ready Player One
From the look of the Space Jam: A New Legacy trailer, there will be some strong visual similarities between the film and Stephen Spielberg’s 2018 adaptation of Ready Player One. And since both films a partially set in a virtual world that’s not too surprising.
Ready Player One follows Wade Watts as he goes on an epic treasure hunt through 80’s nostalgia and classic video games where the winner is granted full control of the digital paradise known as The Oasis. The action-packed film will certainly prepare viewers for the wild and imaginative things that can come from a virtual environment.
8 The Sixth Man
Another basketball movie with a wacky twist is the cult classic, The Sixth Man. Coming out in 1997 on the heels of the smash hit Space Jam, the film stars Marlon Wayans (Scary Movie and White Chicks) as Kenny, a college basketball player left to lead his team after the sudden death of his star brother, Antoine.
But Antoine (played by A Different World star, Kadeem Hardison) mysteriously returns as a ghost, helping Kenny and their team go for the NCAA national title. This film undoubtedly brings the same funny hijinks and heartwarming story fans can expect from the upcoming Space Jam sequel.
Beyond his talent on the court, LeBron James is also bringing some real acting and comedic chops to the latest Space Jam film, and the comedy hit Trainwreck is more than enough proof of his onscreen abilities.
The film follows Amy (Amy Schumer), a career-focused magazine writer who is forced to deal with her fears concerning committed relationships when she meets a good guy in sports doctor Aaron Conners (Bill Hader). However, it’s LeBron who steals the show, acting as Aaron’s cheapskate friend, confidant, and relationship coach.
6 Undercover Brother
Malcolm D. Lee, director of Space Jam: A New Legacy, has a long and impressive resume, responsible for commercial hits like Girls Trip and The Best Man films (with another on the way), but the film in his catalog that best matches the wacky tone of Space Jam is easily the comedy hit Undercover Brother.
The film follows the title character as he springs into action when “The Man” interferes with the presidential campaign of a high-profile Black candidate. The hilariously clever and absurd film fully displays the comedic and creative chops Malcolm D. Lee will bring to the Space Jam sequel.
5 Teen Wolf
One of the earliest examples of a basketball movie with a ridiculous premise, Teen Wolf certainly brings a bizarre concept to the court. Not to be confused with the dark, angsty, teen drama from MTV, the 1985 movie stars Michael J. Fox as Scott Howard, an average high school basketball player who discovers he can turn into a werewolf.
While he tries to keep his transformation a secret, it’s revealed in the heat of a game, surprisingly working to his advantage. He becomes a star player, shouldering the hopes of his school while being cautioned by his father to be careful with his newfound ability.
Despite having very little to do with basketball, Smallfoot has some important things in common with Space Jam: A New Legacy. The animated movie tells the story of Migo, a yeti who sets out on a quest to prove the existence of the mythical “small foot” (AKA human) after stumbling upon one in the mountains.
Though his village is full of skeptics, he is supported by a tiny group of believers, including Gwangi (voiced by LeBron) and the leader Meechee (voiced by Zendaya). Smallfoot will give fans more proof of LeBron’s acting abilities, but more importantly, it will showcase the level of voice work that Zendaya will be bringing to the beloved Lola Bunny.
3 Rebound: The Legend of Earl ‘The Goat’ Manigault
While fans don’t yet know what Don Cheadle’s character Al-G Rythym will be bringing to Space Jam: A New Legacy, they can rest assured that this isn’t his first time tackling basketball onscreen.
Back in 1996, Cheadle starred in the HBO movie Rebound: The Legend of Earl ‘The Goat’ Manigault as the titular character, a man who returns to his community in Harlem to devote his time and resources to the children. The film is based on the real-life streetball legend, coming out the same year as the 25th anniversary of Manigault’s first namesake basketball tournament (and two years before his death in 1998).
2 Looney Tunes: Back In Action
Nothing will prepare fans for the zaniness that is sure to come in the Space Jam sequel than another Looney Tunes movie.
Looney Tunes: Back In Action stars Brendan Fraser, of The Mummy fame (not the Tom Cruise one), as a down on his luck stuntman who sets off on a globe-trotting mission for his missing movie-star father and the mysterious Blue Monkey Diamond, all while tangling with the notorious Mr. Acme (comedy legend Steve Martin). Accompanied by Daffy Duck, Warner Bros. Exec Kate Houghton (Jenna Elfman), and of course, Bugs Bunny, the movie easily scratches the ‘Looney Tunes mixed with live-action’ itch.
1 More Than A Game
Few things will drum up more excitement for the next Space Jam, than a look back at the beginnings of LeBron James’s storied journey to the top of the basketball world. The 2008 documentary More Than A Game, recounts the quest for a national championship by high school basketball powerhouse St. Vincent & St. Mary’s.
The film keys in on LeBron and his four teammates (Dru Joyce, Sian Cotton, Romeo Travis, and Willie McGee), recalling their early years together in tandem with LeBron’s quickly rising profile. Seeing the beginning of his story will surely have fans primed for LeBron’s next chapter in Space Jam: A New Legacy.
NEXT: Space Jam 2: 5 Things From The Original Movie That Need To Return (& 5 That Can Be Left Behind)
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