Gunnin’ concerns a phenomenon proliferated by the broadband age: premature national-sports stardom at the high-school level. The destination point of Beastie Boy Adam Yauch’s doc is the Elite 24 invitational game, a stop-off along the way to the NBA for two dozen of America’s top teenage hoops phenoms (among them Michael Beasley and a loping Kevin Love), dropped in Harlem’s Rucker Park to dunk for the New York media. The venerable spinning-headline montage gets its update as the eight highlighted kids are introduced by piled-up browser windows (DraftTracker, ESPN.com) and pixilated YouTube highlight reels. But as each player’s run through the same routine—hometown meet-and-greet, biographical sketch, hasty interview—the burden of the formulaic structure starts to wear. Exacerbating the monotony are the subjects, who meld into an amorphous portrait of a “hard-working” “good kid” trying to “elevate his game” and “keep his nose clean.” They’re more articulate with a ball, leaving Yauch to mythologize his HS Titans in NBA Jams largesse, every pass soundtracked as incoming ordinance, with the wide-angle lenses placed under each hoop creating funhouse distortion and the illusion of an acre-long court.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on June 24, 2008