Studio: Oscilloscope Laboratories
Release Date: June 27, 2008
In the classic 1994 documentary, Hoop Dreams, we had the privilege of following two young basketball
hopefuls throughout their adolescence. Basketball was at the forefront of their
lives, as well as the motivation for the film and its characters, but seeing
them off the basketball court was the most compelling part.
In Gunnin For That #1
Spot we are also taken inside the lives of kids with big basketball dreams,
as Adam Yauch (a.k.a. MCA of the Beastie Boys) gives us an inside look at
2006s inaugural Elite 24 basketball game.
Gunnin For That #1
Spot certainly does have traces of Hoop
Dreams in it, but more than anything it is its own movie. The biggest
difference is that it profiles eight of the top high school players in the
country, all of whom have gone on to become household names or are well on
The players chosen to be profiled were not filmed until
after their selection to the Elite 24 game, therefore we are assured of star
power. The Elite 24 All-Star Game brings the 24 best high school players,
regardless of grade to New York City for a
showcase game to be played at legendary Rucker
Park in Harlem.
Michael Beasley, Kevin Love, Jerryd Bayless, Donte Green and
Kyle Singler are a few of the players we get to know, who have since burst onto
the college basketball scene, and soon to the NBA for four of the five
mentioned, as Beasley, Love and Bayless look to be sure fire lottery picks in
this weeks NBA draft.
The highlight of the movie is in the player profiles and
seeing the different walks of life that these highly touted talents come from. We
see Kevin Love, whose father was an NBA player and the comfortable life that he
has grown up in, or Jerryd Bayless who attends yoga classes as part of his
training, and then Kyle Singler who has an extremely supportive family that has
been there for him every step of the way.
At the same time we also witness the lives and struggles of guys
like Donte Green, who was raised in Baltimore by his grandparents after his
mother died when he was young, or Michael Beasley who was continually getting
in trouble at a young age, or Lance Stephenson, Elite 24s youngest player, who
is walking through the streets of Coney Island as everyone puts their hopes on
They are superstar players who exist seamlessly when on the
court together at Rucker Park, or volunteering in New York City as part of
their Elite 24 selection, but their backgrounds are drastically different.
After each of the eight players is profiled, discussed and
analyzed by various scouts, trainers and coaches, the climax of the movie is
the actual game played at Rucker
Park. With the unique camera angles and creative
editing, the highlights are presented in manner that really hasnt been seen
before, and grasps your attention the entire time. Whether it is a Michael Beasley dunk or a
Kevin Love full court chest pass, the numerous angles and intermittent rewind
and slow motion bring you inside each play.
Throw in a strong soundtrack you knew the co-founder of
the Beastie Boys wasnt going to come weak on the music and Bobbito Garcia on
the microphone with some hilarious lines Mike Beasley, I love your game but
your sneakers are foolish and you are left with pure entertainment.
As entertaining as the basketball footage is, the strongest
point of Gunnin For That #1 Spot, as
Ive mentioned throughout, is getting to know these players. We see them at a
time when they are between 15 and 17 years old; extremely talented and
extremely vulnerable. More than anything we are reminded that they are real
people, children at that, dealing with distractions and uncertainties.
Two thumbs up to Adam Yauch (MCA) for successfully adding a
fresh and creative twist to the high school basketball documentary. The
combination of personal content, highlights, music and innovation make sure
theres a little something for everyone.