film reel image

film reel image

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Shooting Stars 2023 * * Stars


I'm not a huge fan of the NBA but I do painstakingly admire LeBron James. Drafted number one in the league right out of high school, 4 pro championships, a quadruple MVP, the National Basketball Association's all-time leading scorer. Whew, what a resume! In 2023's Shooting Stars, the young life of James via his HS years (with his other dunking buds) is chronicled. Is it a sort of cash grab for the never-ending LeBron James brand (acting, endorsements, likeness, etc.)? Perhaps. Hey, this "King" can never not rule.

At a running time of 115 minutes, I initially thought Shooting Stars was a documentary. I was wrong in the first frame. "Stars" is an actual film where some no-name troupers and Dermot Mulroney play James, his girlfriend, his friends, and his first coach. Their acting is not the greatest, a kind of spin on the whole TV movie shtick that Sir Laurence Olivier would balk at. Hey at least these dudes know how to screen and score in the paint (that's basketball slang for hitting buckets inside the free-throw lane).

Anyhow, Shooting Stars is directed by Maryland native Chris Robinson. Robinson plays it safe with "Stars" as he fashions something that feels straight from the LeBron James wiki page. Gone is anything with dramatic heft. Gone is any real struggle concerning LeBron's path to b-ball stardom (he missed one game after accepting a jersey from a fan, boohoo). Present are some decent fast break clips where you blatantly know the outcomes. I mean is Shooting Stars watchable? It is but it'll evaporate right after you see it. And does LeBron still come off as an inward-looking superstar producing this thing? In a way yes. After Space Jam: A New Legacy and House Party, he still feels the need to "shoot" his shot. Natch.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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