Gunnin' for that #1 Spot is a documentary that chronicles the lives of eight high school basketball phenoms while they prepare for the 1st annual Elite 24 game at Rucker Park. Four of the players - Michael Beasley, Jerryd Bayless, Kevin Love, and Donte Greene - were selected in the first round of Thursday's draft (coincidentally one day before the documentary hit theaters) and the other four - Kyle Singler, Brandon Jennings, Tyreke Evans, Lance Stephenson - are not for behind.
By all accounts, the film isn't a deep look at the problems with recruiting, agents, and the like involved in high school athletics, but instead a chance to get to see the personality of these kids before they are corrupted and changed by stardom and money. According to Scott Weinberg at cinematical.com
If you're looking for an insider's indictment of the college recruiting process or some sort of glorified promotional piece of Nike, Reebok or Adidas, you'll be disappointed to learn that Gunnin' for That #1 Spot is content to be a slick, simple, and enthusiastic little documentary. If the movie is celebrating one thing above all else, it's how a little talent and a whole lot of dedication can allow a fresh-faced kid to follow his favorite dream right into stardom. I'm sure someone could do a fantastic "flip-side" documentary on how these young athletes are often bought, sold, and exploited for other folks' profits, but that's not this flick. Here we get about an hour of set-up, introduction, and insight -- and then we get a half-hour of playground basketball magic that had me muttering "wow" on more than one occasion. And I'm not even a big basketball fan!
But there are millions of b-ball freaks who will absolutely devour this refreshingly upbeat and colorful documentary -- plus it's got a few great tunes, a couple of solid laughs, some really excellent basketball, and several beautiful shots of New York City. Best of all, it shows a bunch of great kids doing something they really love. Even my cynical side can't take a shot at that stuff.
I haven't had a chance to see it yet, but I will as soon as possible. If anyone has seen it, leave a comment and let me know what you think.