Shooting Stars Review: A Slam Dunk for LeBron James and Friends

It’s not how you start the game. is how you endsaid Coach Dru in the film Shooting Stars a new movie about the NBA’s all-time leading scorer Lebron James and his four best friends. It is usually a wise and impactful reminder. Only, in the case of this movie, actually is a lot about how they started the game, literally. And wow, seeing what it was like for his friends growing up with the guy who basically became the Superman of the NBA is quite the winning story.

Based on the bestselling book by LeBron James and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Buzz Bissinger, Shooting Stars explores the journey of how James and his childhood best friends (Lil Dru, Willie, Sian, and eventually Romeo too) lead the number one high school team in the nation before James became a four-time NBA champion and two-time NBA champion. time olympic gold medalist.


Directed by Emmy Award-nominated director Chris Robinson (beats, Grown up), Shooting Stars It’s a coming-of-age movie about basketball, elegantly paced and rich in style, yes, but the greater the sheer depth of the actual story behind it all. This movie is about friendship, family, benevolence, and the heart of determination.

An inspiring and moving story, Shooting Stars It begins on the basketball courts in Akron, Ohio, and is now poised to capture the hearts of viewers around the world on the Peacock broadcast network.

The advice

Although a four-time National Basketball Association MVP award recipient, a solo recognition, James has often spoken in the media about how it all started with his friends. He was so inspired that he even wrote a book acknowledging what he knows was pivotal in his life, about how he knows he didn’t reach his heights of success on his own. Shooting Stars is the captivating film adaptation of that story.

Set in 1990s Akron, Ohio, while playing AAU basketball, a very young LeBron James (Marquis “Mookie” Cook, in his screen debut) and his three best friends, Lil Dru (Caleb McLaughlin of Strange thingsWillie McGee (Avery S. Wills Jr. of Strut) and Sian Cotton (Khalil Everage of cobra kai), named themselves the “Fab Four” after the famous “Fab Five” of the Michigan Wolverines. Its fifth member, Romeo Travis (Sterling “Scoot” Henderson, an NBA G League player) would eventually reunite and round out the group to “Five” later in high school.

From the first scenes of Shooting Starswe know for a fact that these friends have a lot of fun together, and also that they have a lot of respect for Lil Dru’s father, his “Coach Dru” Joyce (Wood Harris; Creed franchise). Whether it’s playing video games or dribbling on the court, the defensive bond of their friendship is strong and that definitely means playing basketball together.

The friends are about to get into Buchtel High School when their aspiring coach alludes to the reality that Lil Dru, unlike his best friends, will probably be playing on the junior varsity team. Dru’s mindset changes the course of everything for the group, leading them to make a pivotal and historic decision.

What Lil Dru lacks in height, he makes up abundantly in full-court press determination.

With his insistence, the Fab Four decide to collectively commit to St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, a predominantly white Catholic school, instead of Buchtel. Although the home school coach sees this as a sales move and lets his feelings be flagrantly known, the boys nonetheless begin their quest to win national championships against all odds.

Game time

Shooting Stars
universal images

Shooting Stars it was in development for over 10 years before it hit the screen. Produced by Academy Award-nominated producer Rachel Winter (Dallas Buyers Club), the movie does to viewers exactly what the book did to Winter: provide them with inspiration. In the film’s production notes, Winter said: “This story of friendship, loyalty and community made a deep impression on me. I think at the time, I wasn’t even sure who LeBron James was. But then I knew I wanted to make this movie.”

He started a production partnership with James’ SpringHill Productions, and now we have a movie reminiscent of classics like cooley tall, stay by meand Timber. Filmed over the course of three months in Ohio, a move that increases the authenticity of Shooting Stars — the commitment to quality is evident. Everything about this movie feels real. the camaraderie. The emotions. Ties. Any disconnections.

And yes, even though LeBron is the only “famous” among the friends, there’s something so real about his portrayals that they become larger than life for viewers as well. And so, for that, bravos and a standing ovation are deserved by the casting decisions.

star players

Shooting Stars
universal images

To be clear, there are no bench players in this movie. Everyone plays a game-winning position.

It should be noted, however, that Cook does an outstanding and consistent job in his role as LeBron James. There are subtle nuances and punctual recreations that (spoiler-free) fans of the great basketball player will recognize and smile wistfully throughout the film. Cook has a natural approach to his portrayal of James that could be attributed to him being new to acting or simply because he has that talent and knows that keeping it simple and easy attracts attention. There’s nothing great about Cook’s performance and that makes him powerful enough.

While the cast is impressively rounded out with actors who play each scene with precision and ease, there are two young actors whose performances are not to be missed. Khalil Everage, whom we came to love in kobrakai, she’s unforgettable in her portrayal of Sian, and she’s hilariously endearing. If, in fact, you rewind any funny moment while watching Shooting Stars most likely due to some of the quick and witty moments delivered by Everage. He’s charismatically funny and has such a warm presence.

And while James is the only NBA award-winner among the team of friends in real life, it’s Lil Dru, powerfully and relentlessly played by Caleb McLaughlin, who should probably be considered for the Shooting Stars Friendship MVP. Dru’s fierce drive and laser focus on the big picture of her lives was critical to her championship success in high school. Literally, without Dru’s strength, there probably wouldn’t have been a “Fab Four” or “Fab Five” for this group. Tremendous praise is due to McLaughlin for so impressively bringing this particular character to life.

Shooting Stars It’s a refreshing reminder that, for all the accolades aside, the most important win in life really is the relationships you nurture and maintain.

From Universal Pictures and with a script by Frank E. Flowers (Greater Manila), Tony Rettenmaier (Space Jam: A New Legacy), and Juel Taylor (creed II), Shooting Stars will premiere on Peacock on June 2.

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