6.4/10
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Gunnin' for That #1 Spot (2008)

PG-13 | | Documentary, Sport | 10 October 2008 (UK)
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Eight of the U.S.'s top high school basketball players compete in the first "Elite 24" tournament at Rucker Park.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Jerryd Bayless ...
Himself
Michael Beasley ...
Himself
Tyreke Evans ...
Himself
Bobbito Garcia ...
Unofficial MC / Narrator
Donte Greene ...
Himself
Brandon Jennings ...
Himself
Jason Kidd ...
Himself
Kevin Love ...
Himself
Kyle Singler ...
Himself
Lance Stephenson ...
Himself
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Storyline

In September, 2006, the top 24 high school basketball players in the nation stepped out on this same court that once saw the likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Dr. J to compete in the first annual 'Elite 24' all-star game. GUNNIN' follows eight of these players as they prepare to showcase their skills at the most legendary playground in the world. The film trails these players on the fast track to the NBA, as they are being groomed to be in the spotlight of a multi-million dollar game. Written by Anonymous

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Documentary | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for language
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10 October 2008 (UK)  »

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User Reviews

 
Bull's Eye
22 November 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

When I read New York Magazine's recommendation of Gunnin' as their top pick of the 300+ flicks at TriBeCa Film Festival, I took a couple days off from work just to check it out. It turned out to be a magical trip. The audience at Tribeca talked to the screen the way any good congregation does on a Sunday morning. Neal Usatin, the film's lead editor, got a particularly good reception when his credit floated on a ball across the screen. (Makes me think I should keep my eyes on his work.) I loved it so much I went back to NYC for its theatrical premier, just down the street from the Rucker in Harlem, to see how it had been tweaked. And I'm not even a basketball fan.

This film fits the way I think. It's fast, and like good comedic timing, presents the player's stories in a way that left me wanting more -- if I'm interested, I'll look it up. The imagery goes from Redacted-style website searches, to fisheye trips over and through NYC, VHS- quality home video, to YouTube footage and HD slow-mo. It's like every photographic and film experiment ever discovered, sampled and flashed before my eyes. On that level, it's like the ultimate style collage.

I bought an educational license and showed it to my high school varsity basketball team. They rolled at Bobbito's nicknames (Shampoo!) the way only those who live it know how it sounds. In fact, they loved the soundtrack so much, I'm buying a copy so they can warm-up to it.

The stand-outs in my book are the bird's-eye, fisheye tour of New York to the smooth sounds of "Let's Do it Again" (on loop). The lens makes Manhattan seem like it's half the world. I love chapter 16's fisheye tour at ground-level; especially when the beat hits on the pigeon and taxi moving in opposite directions. Chapters like this in a movie make for perfect party background pieces. I show them to my friends who don't have time to see the whole movie, but know a good visual over a beat.

You could rent it, but this is also a great example of the artistry of packaging. It's a stand- out example of graphic design gone fine art. From the paper and ink choices, to the colors and the trading cards. (Would have been cooler if they'd been actual cards. Maybe an add-on purchase soon?), this is one of those instant classics that deserves to be in any film-lovers permanent collection.


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