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Movie Review: Gunnin' for That #1 Spot

Any kid obsessed with basketball has dreams of making it to the NBA. And who’s to say he or she can’t do it? All a tot needs is heart...oh yeah, and a personal trainer, sneaker sponsorship, media coverage, coaches, fans and a little bit of skill. Okay, a whole lot of skill.

Meet the elite 24—the group of high-school basketball players ranked highest in the country who are the focus of Beastie Boy Adam Yauch’s documentary, Gunnin’ for That #1 Spot. The film follows eight players, four from the West Coast and four from the East Coast, as they prepare for a game—the first of its kind—between two teams made up of the nation’s top 24 high-school basketball players to be held at the world-famous Rucker Park in Manhattan. If you’re thinking, “Not another story about overcoming obstacles to make it in the big leagues,” think again. While the film does go into a bit of each player’s background, the focus is more on the present and the pressures the teenagers face from college coaches and sneaker companies who want them, and their families, who want them to succeed.

In the end, though, it’s all about the game and how much these kids love playing it—a sentiment that shines through the film’s exquisite footage of the final match. The documentary format might draw yawns from younger kids, but rest assured, if you have one or more middle-school-aged future athletes on your hands, they must see this film, if not for the insight into what the world of sports has in store, then definitely for the awesomeness of how good these young players are. And the soundtrack (a slew of hip-hop tracks by rappers like Jay-Z, Nas and, of course, the Beastie Boys) is off the hook.

Gunnin' for That #1 Spot opens Jun 27. Get theater information and book your tickets here.

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