Gunnin' for That #1 Spot (2008)


Critic Consensus: 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.


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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 compete in the first annual "Elite 24" all-star game. "Gunnin' for That #1 Spot" follows eight of these players as they prepare to showcase their skills at the most legendary playground in the world.

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Critic Reviews for Gunnin' for That #1 Spot

All Critics (42) | Top Critics (16)

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

Oct 10, 2008 | Rating: 4/6 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top 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.

Jul 11, 2008 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

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.

Jul 11, 2008 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

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.

Jul 3, 2008 | Rating: B | Full Review…

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

Jun 27, 2008 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

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

Jun 27, 2008 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

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.

Walter M.
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.

matt sigur
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.

James Bond, Jr.
James Bond, Jr.

Super Reviewer

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