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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

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

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Gunnin' for that #1 Spot Movie Review from The Massie Twins
26 June 2008 | by (www.GoneWithTheTwins.com) – See all my reviews

An outstanding soundtrack that seems to magically enhance every single scene resonates throughout Adam Yauch's latest documentary exploration: Gunnin' for That #1 Spot. Following the formula for typical documentaries, Yauch examines eight high school basketballers vying for recognition, college scholarships and attention from the NBA. But while a few unique camera tricks are used to enhance the rudimentary questioning of family and friends, Gunnin's #1 nemesis is the same predicament far too many documentaries face: the subject matter. Highly appealing to those interested in the topic, the film never breaks into total entertainment for those not enmeshed in the frenzy and corrival nature of an elite game at Rucker Park.

Eight high school kids, including Jarryd Bayless, Michael Beasley, Kevin Love, Kyle Singler and Tyreke Evans, are gearing up for an invitation to one of the most prestigious basketball events in the nation. The Elite 24 pits the top talents all around the U.S. against each other in a competitive game of basketball at the famed Rucker Park. Where Reebok, Adidas, and Nike have their own camps to harvest the best young basketball talent, The Elite 24 doesn't separate players based on their shoes. It is an all-out battle between the best of the best in high school basketball.

Adam Yauch from Beastie Boys fame directs Gunnin' for That #1 Spot with a standard documentarist feel for material. From the generic opening title sequence with painfully low-budget graphics, to the commonplace hand-held camera-work, there really isn't anything technically outlandish to witness. Yauch uses a fisheye lens for visual flair in an impressive aerial shot above New York, but then proceeds to overkill the idea by utilizing it for every other subsequent shot.

The most exciting moments, including the shattering of a backboard at a high school game, are home video footage from the bleachers, and are unfortunately incredibly grainy. While more of these exhilarating moments would have been gladly welcomed, the low quality of such archives detracts from truly focusing on the amazing talents of these young men.

The most impressive aspect of Gunnin' for That #1 Spot is the soundtrack. Blazing hip-hop, smooth jazz, break beats and heavy rhythmic clips permeate the documentary and manage to make each skilled maneuver just that much more awe-inspiring. But like so many documentaries, Gunnin' suffers from the fact that its subject matter appeals to a very distinct group, and doesn't have the power to transcend to other demographics. With the inspiring notion that these kids are as young as 15 years old, the hilarious nicknames, the brightly colored shoes, overbearing agents, questionably experienced professional analysts, pressures of the media and an abrupt conclusion, Gunnin' for That #1 Spot is enlightening and entertaining, but tragically too narrow.

  • Mike Massie



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