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Gunnin' for That #1 Spot (2008)



Average Rating: 6.3/10
Reviews Counted: 42
Fresh: 32 | Rotten: 10

Beastie Boy Adam Yauch proves his worth as a director with Gunnin' for That #1 Spot, a fun-filled chronicle of the top high school hoopsters of 2006.


Average Rating: 6.9/10
Critic Reviews: 17
Fresh: 16 | Rotten: 1

Beastie Boy Adam Yauch proves his worth as a director with Gunnin' for That #1 Spot, a fun-filled chronicle of the top high school hoopsters of 2006.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 402

My Rating

Movie Info

On the corner of 155th and Frederick Douglas Boulevard in Harlem lies Rucker Park. By appearances, the concrete pavement, anchored on one side by its run down slab bleachers, is no different than any other basketball court in the city, but this is the place where nicknames are indelibly branded, and legends are born. On Sept. 1, 2006, the top 24 high school basketball players in the nation stepped out on this court, that once saw the likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Dr. J to


Documentary, Sports & Fitness

Oct 21, 2008

Oscilloscope Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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June 30, 2008:
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All Critics (42) | Top Critics (17) | Fresh (32) | Rotten (10) | DVD (2)

A spunky, impassioned and resourceful doc on the cutthroat world of US college basketball made for a pittance by Adam Yauch.

October 10, 2008 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In the opening section of the film, we get to know them through interviews, game footage and scenes of family life. It's here where the film shines, giving us a glimpse into what it's like for young athletes being groomed for the NBA.

July 11, 2008 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a fly-on-the-wall look at eight prodigiously talented kids hooking up to play ball in the big city, and as such, it's a great deal of fun.

July 11, 2008 Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A funkier, shallower version of 1994's Hoop Dreams, Beastie Boy Adam Yauch's doc follows eight high school basketball phenoms as they head to Harlem's asphalt mecca, Rucker Park, to take part in 2006's Elite 24 tournament.

July 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film is well shot and edited, backed with a bouncy hip-hop soundtrack and full of pep.

June 27, 2008 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A cool look at superstars-to-be paying respect to Harlem's Rucker Park on their path to hoops greatness.

June 27, 2008 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The extraordinary athleticism and skills of these teenagers, all prime prospects for eventual NBA stardom, makes this a game you really want to see.

June 27, 2009 Full Review Source:

Spot provides the basics with foot-tapping, head-bobbing flamboyance, providing the viewer with a serious helping of heart, soul, and scorching basketball action blended up into a taut, explosive documentary.

October 28, 2008 Full Review Source:

Although this is never less than watchable, you can't help feeling that it would have been a better film if they'd waited a year or so and actually included details of the players' futures.

October 10, 2008 Full Review Source: ViewLondon | Comment (1)

To concentrate on the film you have to be a basketball fan, or just a basket case.

October 10, 2008 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

Unlike the 1994 basketball doc Hoop Dreams, which investigated collateral issues of education, race and money, this merely sets a twitchy hip-hop soundtrack to an unenlightening parade of eager sporting wannabes.

October 10, 2008 Full Review Source: Independent | Comment (1)

OK, so it's not quite as searching as Hoop Dreams, but it's hugely enjoyable all the same and boasts - as you'd expect - a terrific soundtrack.

October 10, 2008 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Beastie Boy Adam Yauch's basketball diary is of limited general appeal.

October 10, 2008 Full Review Source: Sky Movies
Sky Movies

A ho-hum basketball documentary.

October 10, 2008 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

This is just a dull promotional video.

October 10, 2008 Full Review Source: Guardian

The slow-motion footage of these athletes showing off their macho skills is generously underpinned by rumbling hip-hop. Great nightclub wallpaper.

October 10, 2008 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

At the heart of everything there's Yauch, directing with remarkable authority for someone who's pretty new to the director's chair.

October 10, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

As a tribute to the game and its accessibility to all, Gunnin' is hard to beat.

October 10, 2008 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Gunnin' is everything the fatuous, condescending Hoop Dreams was not.

July 2, 2008 Full Review Source: New York Press
New York Press

Shining a light on eight of the brightest stars in American high school basketball, Gunnin' for That #1 Spot is a refreshing and thrilling reminder of why we watch and why they play.

June 30, 2008 Full Review Source:

I daresay the results would inspire Eisenstein himself to proffer an affirming nod from the great beyond.

June 28, 2008 Full Review Source: UGO

Gunnin' for That #1 Spot is a basketball documentary where the climactic game looks like a Hong Kong wire-fu epic.

June 27, 2008 Full Review Source: Oregonian

Audience Reviews for Gunnin' for That #1 Spot

"Gunnin' for That #1 Spot" is a haphazardly constructed documentary centering on the Elite 24 game in 2006, a glorified all-star game featuring the best high school basketball players in the country, held in Rucker Park in Harlem, site of many legendary amateur games in the past. Occasionally, there is a bit of insight from talking heads about the state of high school basketball and what these athletes can expect to experience in upcoming years as they hope to eventually play in the NBA.(For example, Tyreke Evans was drafted by the Sacramento Kings as the fourth pick in the most recent NBA draft.) The dream has not changed in decades, even if agents and shoe companies have become involved with the basketball players when they are much younger. Sadly, there is nothing here about basketball players no longer being able to make the jump directly from high school to the pros.

Almost half the documentary is spent on the personal histories of eight of the basketball players, nothing of which is memorable(In other words, there is nothing along the lines of a double amputee supporting her twelve children by working three jobs.), despite their diverse backgrounds. And remember when filming sporting events, keep it simple. Let the athletes do the talking with their play.
August 12, 2009
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Having just seen Hoop Dreams, this film doesn't compare. I mean it's Hoop Dreams - ultra light, with 10 kids, instead of 2. And the thing is, this film could've been captivating, focusing on how those guys are trying to FIFTH graders to choose a school and a brand of sneakers. But it's in the hands of Adam Yauch, the Beastie Boy, who makes a commendable effort, but doesn't realize the fast-forward and slow-motion camera tricks are really fucking outdated. It's frustrating. Watch the movie expecting it to be about the rucker park game, you'll be all right. Watch the movie expecting anything else, you might ask yourself why you didn't just settle cozying up for another hour and enjoying a good film like Hoop Dreams.
December 19, 2008
matt sigur

Super Reviewer

Pretty cool documentary about some young basketball players trying to show their worth before going into college. Directed by Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys.
December 11, 2008

Super Reviewer

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