Hello reddit. I'm not here to pimp anything in particular, although I may revive a crowdfunding page for a short film I'd like to direct, which isn't a comedy (www.lastwishesfilm.com but don't click donate). And I'm also hoping to direct a feature later this year which is a comedy. If both of those materialize, I'll let you know. Otherwise, I'm honored to be here, so AMA!

My proof, since I don't use social media, includes photos of me with Arnold Schwarzenegger and DeVito on the set of "Twins" and me with Eddie Murphy on the set of "Trading Places" and a recent selfie.


Comments: 160 • Responses: 53  • Date: 

bigjerm14 karma

if you could recommend one comedy to someone who is brand new to the entire idea of cinema, what would it be?

HerschelWeingrod22 karma

Cinema comedy has a long and glorious history, but if I'm surfing channels and Groundhog Day appears, I have to watch it to the very end. That's a tribute to Mr. Ramis, who just passed away. I always like to rerun the "screwball" comedies like His Girl Friday, Sullivan's Travels, anything by Billy Wilder. And for non-PC laughs: Bad Santa!

ChuckEye13 karma

Thank you for introducing the phrase "It's not a tumor" to my collection of oft-used movie quotes.

HerschelWeingrod15 karma

You're very welcome, and it's not...a tumor.

JuvenL12 karma


HerschelWeingrod15 karma

Trading Places would never be made today; neither would Airplane or The Jerk or anything else that challenges and comedically takes on race, social class, gender, sexuality, or economic inequality.

gingermidget112 karma

Loved Trading Places. I was on the Chicago floors for many years and used to tell people I trade Pork Bellies for the Duke Brothers when I didn't want to explain what I really did.

Do you have any trading experience? How did you come up with the idea for trading places?

HerschelWeingrod18 karma

I was reading a novel about cornering the wheat market in the 1980's, and my partner came up with the idea of the bet, heredity vs. environment, switching the 2 guys, so we put the two things together. I did meet some whack commodities traders, though.

HerschelWeingrod10 karma

Many thanks, redditors, I've really enjoyed doing this.

thebiglibrarian9 karma

What's your favorite book and why?

HerschelWeingrod7 karma

I won't bore you with a long list of books that have had a profound influence on me, but I will tell you about my current favorite: "Giraffe" by J.M. Ledgard. I haven't been able to get it out of my head, so much so that I managed to contact the author, flew several thousand miles to meet with him, and convinced him to let me try to adapt it into a film...which he most gratefully did.

I_Fuck_Giraffes5 karma

hanbanjo8 karma

I'm sure you think so, I_Fuck_Giraffes

I_Fuck_Giraffes7 karma

No, no, common misconception. I actually infiltrate their activism groups to dismantle it from the inside, effectively stopping any real social change. I also listen to their cell phone conversations without a warrant and store recordings indefinitely in the desert.

HerschelWeingrod6 karma

You're very good, man. Did you see that story last week about the Scandinavian zoo that slaughters perfectly healthy giraffes and then feeds them to their lions so that they'll feel more like they're "in the wild" rather than in captivity? Pretty horrifying...maybe you should hack into their cell phone conversations.


Hello Herschel Weingrod, I'd just like to start off by thanking you for your amazing work, I loved Falling Down, Twins, Kindergarden Cop and Space Jam, I don't have any questions I just wanted to commend you on behalf of this AMA on your amazing talent and wish you luck on your current and future projects

HerschelWeingrod5 karma

Many thanks - appreciate it!

Kknowsbest7 karma

What is the best advice given to you on your career?

HerschelWeingrod14 karma

"Nobody works without a script, but almost everyone in Hollywood knows the alphabet". Translation: your words are the only fair game around for everyone else involved in the project to fool around with, so you'd better be prepared to defend them.

Conspirologist7 karma

Hello dear Mr. Weingrod. Your Trading Places is one of the best intelligent comedies from the 80's. Please help me understand what happened to you and all the rest of the writers, who created amazing comedies in the 70's and 80's and soon after disappeared. We are all starving, there are no more comedies now, that are real satire like before.

What happened to all of you writers, and actors from the original SNL? Are the studios not interested anymore in intelligent humour? Why are they allowing low grade comedies being made instead of asking you to continue your legacy? There is nobody in Hollywood? Are they all replicants now, who are making low grade comedies based only on slapstick?

Please call all your old colleagues, we need intelligent comedies now than ever. Please do something, make a return to the old good comedies. The new writers are unwatchabe. Just tell me something, we are all in pain man. We demand intelligent writers back in action.

HerschelWeingrod10 karma

The comedies from that era, even the John Hughes ones, were about real social issues that were (sometimes subversively) portrayed in comedic terms. They don't make those kinds of movies anymore because they allegedly don't "travel" well in the global market, which constitutes more than 50% of worldwide box-office. Thus, films need to be dumbed-down to attract a broad internationakl audience.

More depressingly is that in the 1970's the STUDIOS made the following films that would never be made today: ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST, DOG DAY AFTERNOON, SERPICO, BEING THERE, FIVE EASY PIECES, THE CONVERSATION, HAROLD & MAUDE, THE LAST DETAIL...I could go on and on, but the world has changed so we have to adjust.

ragingduck7 karma

Thank you Mr. Weingrod for being such a part of my childhood with Twins and Kindergarten Cop!

One question: Are there any plans for a sequel to Twins?

HerschelWeingrod9 karma

There's apparently a script in development entitled "Triplets" in which Eddie Murphy becomes the third twin...but nobody asked me to be involved...yet.


Why a reluctant producer? What sort of projects do you try to produce?

Also, in "Space Jam" you should have had the crowd start chanting D-FENS... D-FENS... D-FENS and then Michael Douglas walks out in place of Bill Murray.

HerschelWeingrod8 karma

My producing experience involves cases of too many cooks in the kitchen. When I read Falling Down, I thought "Damn, I wish I'd written that!" so I decided to try to get it made. Great script. But generally, I only want to produce - and write - films that I'd actually pay to see. That's not always possible because there's always bills to pay, so sometimes one just has to work for a living.

LaVoixSpeaks5 karma

Do you have any personal scripts that you love but know will never see the light of day because it's a hard sell? What do you do with them?

HerschelWeingrod7 karma

I've got several. One is a samurai film involving a young Dutch boy who survives a shipwreck, washes up in Japan, becomes a samurai, but can never overcome the fact that he's not Japanese - that Tom Cruise movie killed that then - then the recent Keanu Reeves one didn't help, either. You just have to put them aside and wait until the time's right.

shellshock3d4 karma

DO you know anything about the rumors of Space Jam 2?

HerschelWeingrod14 karma

I love the 30 for 30 parody, and I've seen the Lebron rumor but I do't give it much credence....yet.

shellshock3d3 karma

Thanks for answering and doing the AmA. Love your work!

HerschelWeingrod5 karma

Thanks and I've enjoyed doing it!

ASleepingSloth4 karma

Hey Herschel! I just wanted to say loved Falling Down.

HerschelWeingrod5 karma

I did, too - wished that I'd written it - which is why I needed to get it made.

ThatSteeve3 karma

From memory so excuse any errors: umbala umbala umbala. Beef jerky time!

HerschelWeingrod4 karma

No errors, my friend, you've brought a smile to my face.

ThatSteeve3 karma

And you have made my day! Which to this point has been crappy.

It may be a given that I shall, at appropriate moments, declare that you refer to me as 'your friend'. ;)

For example if a lovely young woman of uncertain citizenship requests I help with her rucksack.

HerschelWeingrod2 karma

I went to the racetrack one day a couple of years ago and, glancing at the program, realized that there was a horse named "Clarence Beeks" running in one race and a filly named "Inga From Sweden" running in another. I bet on both of them and made a little money, too!

goldnuke3 karma

Firstly I want to thank you for writing Space Jam which was a huge part of my childhood. My question is when you were writing your screenplays, did you envision certain actors playing certain characters in your work or did you leave that process to the casting team?

HerschelWeingrod4 karma

We wrote Trading Places with Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder in mind, they'd already succeeded as a black/white comedy team. We pitched it to the head of production of one studio who said, "If I can't get Richard Pryor, how can I make this movie?" We said there's this guy on SNL, Eddie Murphy, and he said: "I don't think he'll be a movie star".

Generally, I think that it's sometimes helpful to have your main characters be in the age range of a wide swath of "bankable" actors who might portray them.

We originally wrote BREWSTERS MILLIONS with Bill Murray in mind as an out-of-work astronaut selling counterfeit jeans on the streets of New York. When director Walter Hill came onboard, he wanted Brewster to be a minor-league baseball player - that was fine with us. And then Richard Pryor decided to play him - without a hint of race being involved in the slightest.

Spydrone113 karma

What's it like screenwriting movies?

HerschelWeingrod10 karma

Wanting to be a screenwriter is like wanting to be a co-pilot. It can be gratifying but ultimately it's a director's medium.

Spydrone113 karma

What helped you become a successful screenwriter?

HerschelWeingrod9 karma

First, film school - The London Film School - you had to learn how to do everything, which shows you how films get made. Second, seeing hundeds of films and trying to figure out what made them work. Third, being a reader/story analyst and understanding that your script has to get past the reader in order to move up the food chain - so you need to write a great READING EXPERIENCE, an act of seduction, an invitation to make a movie.

And, last but not least, the only way to really learn how to write scripts is by writing them and learning the craft.

lordbizness3 karma

I'm a big fan of your movies. I have a bunch of questions:
1.) What was your worst script development experience like?
2.) Are you on set while the movie is being made?
3.) What is your writing routine like?
4.) Do you rely heavily on outlining?

HerschelWeingrod3 karma

I've been fortunate to have been on the sets of some the films - Trading Places, Brewsters Millions, Twins, Space Jam, Falling Down - it's a function of establishing a relationship with the director which is collaborative and realizing that the director is the captain of the ship.

Bat_turd3 karma

Did you ever consider being a novelist? Why?

Is it harder to break in to screenwriting in 2014 than in previous years?


HerschelWeingrod3 karma

I wasn't an English major, although I was and am a voracious reader of novels. I went to film school in order to become a director, but there was no way to break into the business then except as a screenwriter, so I devoted myself to learning the craft. My writing partner at the time, Tim Harris, was a published novelist, so between the two of us, we found a way to combine his great prose writing and my knowledge of the craft of screenwriting.

I think that it's much more difficult to break in now than ever - the competition is fierce, the software is available to everyone, fewer films are being made, original material is suspect - and yet, really good scripts still somehow overcome the odds and get made - don't lose hope.

uberlad3 karma


HerschelWeingrod3 karma

Best life advice: skate fast, the ice is thin!

MrPrestige2 karma

Hi Herschel, what's your favourite film?

HerschelWeingrod3 karma

Tough question...it depends on how I'm feeling at any given moment...but among them are: VERTIGO, HIS GIRL FRIDAY, THE SEARCHERS, SECONDS, SUNSET BLVD., GOODFELLAS, SECONDS, SHOCK CORRIDOR, PIERROT LE FOU, AMARCORD, SEVEN SAMURAI...I could go on and on...

LaVoixSpeaks2 karma

When do you know that you're writing something bad or sloppy vs. something that could really resonate with your audience. Do you have your own personal litmus test for writing quality?

HerschelWeingrod4 karma

You never really know whether or not what you're writing is going to have any resonance with other people - it's a leap of faith. Ray Bradbury said, "Find out what your hero wants and follow him". He didn't say LEAD him, he said follow him (or her). If you create characters and situations that work, those characters will lead the writer to what THEY would do, and that makes writing a lot easier, it becomes like channeling, like what athletes characterize as being "in the zone". Other than that, my litmus test is usually about whether I've created an appetizer or an entire meal - that is, whether the story is worth 90-120 minutes of anyone's time.

xpcreaper2 karma

When writing any of those films, were there any particular lines you created specifically for one of the actors; for example if it hadn't been Arnold Schwarzenegger, would the lines all have been the same or did you feel they would only have worked if it was Arnie saying them?

HerschelWeingrod3 karma

We knew that the script was going to Arnold and Danny, so we tried to tailor their dialogue to their strengths and, in Arnold's case, to words that his Austrian accent would kind of mangle in a comedic way. Hence, "tumor" comes out funny, or him singing "Yakety-yak don't talk back".

xpcreaper2 karma

Wow, thanks very much for the answer :)

Best of luck in your future endeavours!

HerschelWeingrod2 karma


Your_Favorite_Poster2 karma

At this point in your career, would you be perfectly willing to work with a director whose vision you not only didn't share, but disagreed with?

As a writer, are you delicate and careful with each word, or do you write like a madman and then edit later?

EDIT: Wow, you wrote Brewster's Millions. I always thought that movie was incredibly underrated right alongside The Toy. By the way, Trading Places is so classic and every time I hear the word "ball" I throw out "...and she stepped on the ball". Just so classic so thank you for that.

HerschelWeingrod3 karma

Many thanks! As to your previous questions: I don't normally get to choose the director, so once you sell your script, you're at the mercy of the buyers. My process is generally that I write carefully AND like a madman, but ultimately writing is about RE-WRITING.

laughingstoc2 karma

No question just wanted to to let you know that Twins was one of the last films I watched with my grandmother. She loved it and it was probably one of the last times we as a family heard her laugh. Thanks

HerschelWeingrod3 karma

I'm very gratified and appreciative that I played some small part in that for your family. Just so you know - TWINS was our rewrite of an earlier script that we felt had one very important narrative and emotional thread missing - that the twins had to search for and find their mother. Without that, I don't think it would have had the impact that it ultimately did.

stpeter202 karma

When you wrote Space Jam was there a confirmation already in place that Michael would participate or did you write it in hopes that both Warner Brothers and the NBA would love it enough to become involved?

HerschelWeingrod3 karma

Michael Jordan was playing minor league baseball when we first started, and ours was a rewrite, so he was already committed. Fortunately for us, he decided to return to the NBA while we were writing it, so we had our ending.

vaclavhavelsmustache1 karma

I just want to say that Kindergarten Cop is one of my favorite movies and I really admire your work on that and other films.

HerschelWeingrod1 karma

Many thanks and I really appreciate it!

deebosbike1 karma

Do you agree with the statement that "Falling Down has been described as a definitive exploration of the notion of the "angry white male".

HerschelWeingrod4 karma

I don't know about "definitive" but it did come out of that era. I saw it more as a kind of Western - a man journeys to the end of the American landscape and has a showdown with the sheriff - that's why Michael Douglas says, "I'm the bad guy?"

t4ctics1011 karma

What were Arnold and Danny like when you were working on twins? Is the rumor of triplets real?

HerschelWeingrod2 karma

They were both very engaging, friendly, professional, and in Arnold's case very generous as an actor - by which I mean that he had no problem making fun of himself and his image. Twins was his first comedy, after all, and it was a risk for him.

yetanotherscreenwrit1 karma

I loved I Falling Down, Twins, Kindergarden Cop. Don't think I have seen Space Jam.

Do people bombard you with scripts for advise or to find a producer for them?

Idea for collecting funds for your project(s): Charge $... to read 3-5 pages about someone's script. If you like it so far ask for the full script and you might pass it on. You could charge as well for reading the script. There are script coverages services but from you it will be more valuable even if more expensive.

Win-Win situation!

HerschelWeingrod2 karma

I actually do script analysis/consultation: www.scriptmaven.com. I decided to do so a few years ago since so few of the consultants online had actually ever written anything. I find it gratifying and occasionally mentor aspiring writers who have great talent, which doesn't grow on trees, like oranges, which one of the Duke brothers said.

mashingLumpkins1 karma

Did you remember Gustavo Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) as being an extra on the set of Trading Places?

HerschelWeingrod3 karma

Man, I didn't even realize that he was in that jail cell scene until my cousin pointed it out to recently.

LaVoixSpeaks1 karma

What do you write with/on? Do you feel tech helps you or gets in the way when it comes to writing.

HerschelWeingrod2 karma

Final Draft. When I started, we used typewriters, so having software that actually formats everything is a huge asset.

LaVoixSpeaks1 karma

What are some personal pros and cons of writing collaboratively with other writers?

HerschelWeingrod2 karma

Pros - you can share the blame with someone else. Pros - for a comedy, if you're both laughing at the same things, maybe other people might as well. Cons - a story that's very personal to one writer might not resonate with his/her partner.

SmurfetteHasBluebies1 karma

Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing those two scenes from Trading Places where Ms. Curtis shows off her absolutely amazing acting chops (as it were).

Was that your idea? The director's? And what was her response?

HerschelWeingrod2 karma

Ms. Curtis' physical attributes could not have possibly have been envisioned in the writing phase, so we can all be grateful for the casting...Previously, she'd only been in horror films so this was a major opportunity for her to show that she was truly an actress, which she is...you can check out her comments on the Business Insider blog re Trading Places...she's a sweetheart.

LaVoixSpeaks1 karma

In what ways would 'Trading Places' be different if it were written today?

HerschelWeingrod4 karma

They would insist that Eddie Murphy's character is only pretending to be a legless veteran because he's trying to raise money for his mother's operation, or some such nonsense.

MurrayPhilbman1 karma

Do you consider a hamburger to be a type of sandwich, or an entity of its own?

HerschelWeingrod4 karma

In the old days it was just a sandwich and never appeared on foodie blogs, which never even existed in the old days...However, "animal style" off the menu at In-And-Out Burger here in L.A., wrapped in iceberg lettuce, might well constitute an "entity"...whereas burgers priced at over $20, no matter the artisinal sourcing of its beef, goes beyond "entity" into "insult".

oliver_babish1 karma

Two Trading Places questions:

  1. Do you kinda wish you hadn't put Dan Aykroyd in blackface? Does it make you cringe a little now?

  2. Were you worried about how much voiceover you had to put in to explain the scheme at the commodities exchange? Because that's some really complicated information you had to get in front of viewers. (And are we supposed to have a little ambivalence over Winthorpe and Valentine doing the exact thing the Dukes wanted to -- profit off inside information?)

HerschelWeingrod3 karma

  1. No, I just thought it looked like pretty obvious and cheesey makeup. Btw, we won the NAACP award for Best Picture that year, so African-Americans clearly weren't offended.
  2. The voice-over wasn't in the script, it was added to "explain" the trading process to the audience. More confusing was that we had Murphy & Ackroyd sell-high-and-then-buy-low, which we needed for the sake of the narrative. You can check this out on NPR's Planet Money blog and subsequent radio broadcast entitled "What actually happened at the end of Trading Places?"

ImNotVenom1 karma

Advice for upcoming screenwriters and filmmakers ?

Opinions on film school ?

Thanks for the ama !

HerschelWeingrod3 karma

Film school helped me immensely, and since it was in Europe (London Film School), it was even more helpful. My instructors included Mike Leigh, Charles Crichton (FISH CALLED WANDA, amazing Ealing comedies), directors of Bond films, amazing people. Plus, learning how to do everybody's job on a film is crucial to understanding the entire process.

Advice for aspiring writers/filmmakers: Don't be bound by the so-called rules that dominate seminars/workshops and other "how to" venues. Structure needs to service your story, not the other way around - every story should find the best way for it to be told. You don't need "X" to occur on page 8, "Y" to occur on page 22, etc. - those are the "rules" for writing a Bourne sequel or an Iron Man sequel, none of which you nor I will ever be assigned to write, and none of which has people walking out of the theatre saying, "What a great script!" Write a FRANCES HA, a JUNO, a FROZEN RIVER, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, LARS & THE REAL GIRL, BRICK...get yourself noticed as someone with an original "voice".

ImNotVenom2 karma

Wow. Thank you so much for this !

I want to seize the oportunity. I hope is not too much. But i'm having problem with the pre-production of my script. How do YOU outline ?

Thanks again.

HerschelWeingrod2 karma

I've been doing this for so long that I don't "outline" - I try to work out the story, the characters, where they begin, where they might end...as William Goldman said, "Writing is easy - thinking is hard." That's my mantra.

bdsmash1 karma

Can you say "Hi Krystyna I'm glad "Trading Places" is your favorite movie EVER! I have seen it with her about 300 times. Love your work thank you! I'm not her but she would cry if you said hello.

HerschelWeingrod2 karma

Hi Krystyna! And hello to you as well! 300 times??? I'm humbled beyond belief.

Rhana1 karma

When writing for some of the comedic greats (Murray, akroyd, Murphy) do you take into account their own personal style of comedy or stick with your own? Do they suggest jokes to you for use in the scripts?

HerschelWeingrod2 karma

If you've written a good screenplay, great actors only make you look better because they bring their unique talents to the set or to rehearsals. Bill Murray improvised the line re Larry Bird in Space Jam: "Larry's not white - Larry's clear." Eddie Murphy improvised the line: " Billy Ray Valentine - Capricorn." The scripts established their characters and put them into those scenes, but they found ways to enhance those moments, which is why actors are amazing.

Ryan_Bingham1 karma

Space jam is the greatest movie ever. Do you agree or yes?

HerschelWeingrod1 karma

Probably not, but my nieces, nephews, godson, and a few cousins certainly think so, which makes my heart go pitter-patter.

daredevilclown1 karma

Of all the great stories out there, how come hollywood consistently picks the worst ones to make films of? (I'm not saying yours are bad, I just wonder how it all works?) Often they pick good stories but make terrible pictures of them.

HerschelWeingrod1 karma

The studio films these days - not the indies - are mostly geared to appeal to a young international audience that responds to superheroes, comic books, graphic novels, and sequels/prequels/remakes of them - franchises & "tentpoles". Fortunately for the industry, those aren't the nominees for Best Picture; just look at this year's list. That's where the hope is - that good stories find audiences even if they don't cost $200 million to make.

Bender_Donaghy1 karma

Hi there! I have two questions, but first some flattery. I was going to say thanks for making my childhood awesome by writing Space Jam, but after scanning your wiki page my jaw dropped when I found out you wrote Pure Luck, one of the funniest and most underrated movies I’ve ever seen.

  1. As a fledgeling TV screenplay writer in the midwest do you have any tips or advice for getting pitches, what’s the best way to get in front of someone who can make decisions?

  2. If you had to pick a line from one of your scripts to be chiseled onto your headstone, what would it be?


HerschelWeingrod2 karma

  1. It's very difficult for an unproduced writer to pitch anything; better to write the script and get it submitted.
  2. "Karate man bruise on the inside"

caltrask551 karma

I was 14 years old when Brewster's Millions came out. I loooved it. It holds up really well after all these years. Any fond memories of the late great John Candy?

HerschelWeingrod1 karma

John Candy was a lovely guy who I met with a few times before the film was shot, including once in a facility where he was losing weight and getting in shape so that he could be fit when playing the catcher. Ironically, I also did some uncredited work on "Wagons East", his last film. I think that the world misses him - Planes Trains And Automobiles!

AcidSlickaa1 karma

Hey Mr. Weingrod. Big fan of your work especially Space Jam (first movie I ever saw in theaters as a kid). I was wondering, on trading places, that scene where Eddie Murphy breaks the fourth wall and looks at thr camera for a second. Was that improvised or did you write that in? Either way that scene was genius.

HerschelWeingrod1 karma

The credit for that goes to director John Landis, who had Eddie turn and briefly look at the camera two or maybe three times - a very effective comic touch.

PeBeFri-6 karma

Hello, Mr. Weingrod. I don't really have a question for you, but I did have something I have been meaning to say to you for quite a while, and I believe it would be best to just put it out there as is with no sugar coating, so here you go:

Space Jam is the worst movie I have ever seen.

It is a position I have not wavered from since I saw it. It is my go-to answer if anyone asks about it. I have mentioned this to many people, including someone who later turned out to be your nephew.

And yes, I have seen such films as Plan 9 From Outer Space and Battlefield Earth. But at least those were watchable in their entertaining incompetence. Space Jam has no redeeming aspects whatsoever.

The conception, pitch, writing, and pre-production of Space Jam must have been less pleasant to watch than the manufacture of sausage and laws combined. It was the end result of corporate culture, an orgy of executives maximizing the potential for profit with nary a care for entertainment value or artistic merit. It's difficult to imagine a movie more transparently shameless (though Hollywood seems to have tried and succeeded with Foodfight!).

'But wait,' you say. 'A cursory glance at your user history reveals you to be a brony!' True, but that is different in ways that are hardly insignificant. First, the My Little Pony franchise employs characters that were specifically designed to advertise a product, so no nostalgia is hijacked. By contrast, outside of Calvin and Hobbes, I can hardly think of any fictional characters to better represent my childhood than those of the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons. I felt sick watching those characters being resurrected only to be pawns in a feature-length commercial. The likes of the Toy Story franchise and The Lego Movie also get a pass, as their primary characters are original and not piggybacking on characters who had a personality to tarnish.

And, of course, all those entertainments are, well, entertaining, and Space Jam fails in that regard as well. Its most glaring error is that its premise makes no sense, given its characters. How often do they play basketball in the original cartoons? What happened to them being from places like Brooklyn, Paris, and a vast unnamed desert, instead of some sort of alternate universe that can be accessed by an underground portal? (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, which also presented cartoon characters as actors in the cartoons they appear in, at least logically placed them in Hollywood.)

And good god, is it lazy. The plot is insultingly simple as well: Someone's fate depends on whether they win a game. (Bergman did it first, and it's pretty safe to say he did it a HELL of a lot better.) They seek to hire someone exceptionally skilled to help them fight the villains. (Kurosawa did it first, and... well, you know.) If the character of Lola Bunny was any flatter, she could be graphed without a Z-axis. (A love interest for one of the main characters who proves to be a strong and independent woman! That's nice dear, get in back of the line with all the others.) The bulk of the movie seems to be a basketball game with supposedly wacky hijinks, hackneyed greeting-card level inspirational gibberish (The special elixir that turned them into exceptional athletes was just water all along, and they just needed to believe in themselves! That's a new one!), and a showcase of what a great person Michael Jordan is.

I hate Space Jam. I hate its concept, I hate its plot, I hate how it bastardized my childhood, I hate how it keeps receiving undeserved accolades due do a combination of childhood nostalgia and rosy retrospection, I hate how it's probably now the means by which a portion of the new generation is introduced to these characters, I just hate the mere fact that it exists. If I want to see Warner Brothers cartoons updated with a hip '90s sensibility, I'll watch an episode of Tiny Toon Adventures.

On a side note, however, I must say that I found Trading Places pretty funny. Kudos.

HerschelWeingrod14 karma

Honestly, Space Jam was an assignment which took quite a long time to write and, while some of it is indeed cringe-worthy, I'm proud of quite a few moments, although I don't quite understand its cult status. However, I did get to watch 30 years of Looney Tunes cartoons in order to write dialogue for those characters.

Artvandelay16 karma

On behalf of reddit I am so sorry that someone said that about the 1996 masterpiece that is Space Jam. So it's not Toy Story 3, but who cares? Everyone knows from the outset exactly how the movie is going to end. We all knew by that point that Michael Jordan was already back playing basketball and we all knew that the Monstars weren't going to win and enslave all the Looney Toons. And none of the NBA players in the movie were particularly good actors, but Jordan in particular had to spend a lot of time acting against a green screen.

So what do you do with a 90 minute Michael Jordan vehicle about Looney Tunes aimed at children? This is not a movie that could've have been anything different than what it was. I feel like blaming it for lack of complexity in the plot is like blaming Downton Abbey for its lack of CG explosions. Space Jam was a goofy escapade with some great cameos and inside jokes with a completely ridiculous plot that made no sense. I see no problem with that. I think it's completely reasonable to watch it today and not like it because it doesn't have a nostalgic quality for you. But if you really think it's a terrible movie it's probably because of your expectations rather than the outcome of the film.

HerschelWeingrod3 karma

I happen to agree with you; my assignment was to write a movie aimed primarily at children and families featuring the Looney Tunes and some NBA players. It's not a masterpiece but I think it's entertaining and it did what it set out to do.