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Recommended age 8-17
101 minutes
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SHOOTING STARS cover image Click to play video trailer
I love the new movie, Shooting Stars. You don't need to be a basketball lover to enjoy this one! This movie is so motivational, relatable and hilarious. It is a must-see, and definitely a "slam-dunk."

The film highlights the inspirational story of the ultra-famous NBA player, LeBron James and his high school friends. It takes place in 1994 through 2003, during his childhood and high school years, and focuses on the "Fab Four" - young LeBron James (Marquis Cook) and his best friends Lil Dru Joyce (Caleb McLaughlin), Willie McGee (Avery Wills) and Sian Cotton (Khalil Everage).

I've never been an avid basketball follower or fan, but that didn't make Shooting Stars any less of an enjoyable movie for me. Even though I never played basketball seriously, I can relate to this movie as a high school athlete. It was so interesting to learn things I never knew about LeBron James and his life. And what's great is that if you want to learn even more about LeBron, you can read the book by LeBron James and Buzz Bissinger, Shooting Stars, which the film is based on. Since the film was produced by LeBron himself, it provides an accurate representation of his early years. In a voiceover in the first-look teaser trailer James says, "People think they know my story, but this is our story." The sets, locations and props all reflect the time period and give us a bit of nostalgia. Additionally, the actors look so much like the people they play. Speaking of which, Marquis Cook, Caleb McLaughlin, Avery Wills, Khalil Everage, and Sterling Henderson work so well together and have a lot of chemistry. Additionally, they all are fabulous basketball players. Shooting Stars marks the acting debut of Marquis "Mookie" Cook as young LeBron James. Although he is a rookie actor, Cook has a substantial basketball background. He is not only a top-ranked high school athlete but has also participated in the 2023 All-American games. Throughout the movie, be on the lookout for some cameos!

The message of this movie is to follow your passions and work hard for them. Additional themes are that your family isn't just blood and that teamwork is important when you're trying to achieve your goals. Be aware that there is some profanity and language that people may find offensive.

I give Shooting Stars 5 of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. Athletes and LeBron fans will particularly enjoy this movie. It releases exclusively on Peacock June 2, 2023.

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

I really like Shooting Stars -- it has a perfect balance between brotherhood, basketball, family and friends and dramedy. Lil Dru is my favorite in the film.

Shooting Stars is based on the book by LeBron James and Buzz Bissinger. It starts in the year 1994 as we watch 10-year-old Lebron James (Marquis "Mookie" Cook) and childhood friends Lil Dru (Caleb McLaughlin), Sian Cotton (Khalil Everage) and Willie McGee (Avery S. Wills Jr.) play together and bring a story of friendship to their senior year in 2003 and their high school team becomes #1 in the country.

I love this storyline and learning how Lebron's career got a jump start when he played with these childhood friends. That's what makes the film so good, with its multiple sources of first and second hand stories. The pace feels really fast. Watching this film makes me realize what well-deserved credits go to the camera team. Shooting Stars was filmed in Cleveland and Akron, Ohio. Marquis "Mookie" Cook's performance as young Lebron is outstanding. This is Cook's acting debut and he gives a great performance, especially portraying both the humor and anger of Lebron. Plus, he has a great deal of expertise laying basketball is a top-ranked high school athlete. Caleb McLaughlin's portrayal of Lil Dru gives truth to the idea that size really doesn't matter. Avery Willis Jr. as Willie Mc Gee, the second-best basketball player of the Fab 4 is also noteworthy. And finally, Khalil Everage is the funniest playing Sian Cotton -- when he is on screen the movie just gets better. The movie ends with the Fab 4 enjoying their lives.

The film's message is that friends are your family. Be aware that there is a lot of profanity in this movie.

I give Shooting Stars 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults.. Shooting Stars can be found on Peacock beginning June 2, 2023.

By David E, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

see youth comments
Based on the book by LeBron James and the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Friday Night Lights, Buzz Bissinger, Shooting Stars is the inspiring origin story of a basketball superhero, revealing how LeBron James and his childhood friends become the #1 high school team in the country, launching James's breathtaking career as a four-time NBA Champion, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, and the NBA's all-time leading scorer.
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