Coming to theatres from writer/director Eddie Huang and Focus Features is the story of generational culture and the potential of basketball for BOOGIE.
Alfred ‘Boogie’ Chin (Taylor Takahashi) is a young man living in Queens, New York with his squabbling parents Mom (Pamelyn Chee) and Dad (Perry Yung). Even his Uncle Jackie (Eddie Huang) tries to tell him how to make a living which is a little tense since Boogie’s father spent time in jail. When his father transferred his son to another school to play basketball, it is in hopes that basketball scouts would see and give him a full scholarship.
The biggest problem is that Boogie has a chip on his shoulder and takes it out on those around him. Not taking it is the Coach who makes it clear that its not acceptable as Boogie’s father makes him apologize and keep his mouth shut. While in class, he makes it clear he has eyes for Eleanor (Taylour Paige) but she also is not happy with what comes out of his mouth. So, he spends time watching Mung (Bashar Jackson), another basketball phenomenon who has the same mouthy issues as Boogie.
When scholarships are not forthcoming, Boogie’s mother turns to Melvin (Mike Moh) and he suggests that perhaps it would be best to look to China for a team. When he decides that is not what he wants, the family is in trouble, the game he needs is in trouble and his relationship with Eleanor exposes what he feels is a secret.
He must choose if he is to succeed.
Takahashi as Boogie portrays a young man that has a chip on his shoulder. Listening to the squabbling of his parents and keeping his hope of a life in professional basketball buried, he turns to being a very confused teenager. Paige as Eleanor has her own story to tell but slowly warms up to Boogie and makes it clear she wants him to succeed. The first problem that arises, they both go into hyper guarded mode that hurt them both.
Jackson as Mung is another young man who can certainly play the game of basketball and knows that Boogie has been watching him. There comes a time when they face off and one will lose focus and the other will be shocked. Parents Yung and Chee started out their life together squabbling, and Boogie has been spending his entire young life dealing with his. Closer to his father who believes in his basketball ability, it is the problems with a domineering mother that could ruin everything.
Shout out to Huang as Uncle Jackie who is trying to make money and keeps Boogie’s father employed.
Other cast include Domenick Lombardozzi, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Steve Coulter, Perry Yung, Dave East, Pamelyn Chee, Ben Davis, Daymien Valentino, Margaret Odette, John Orantes and Sam Jules.
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BOOGIE is a story of a young man who lives in his culture and it shows when he pours tea and says, “I will do it, I am the youngest”. He has moments where disrespect flies out of his mouth, but his parents are quick to make it clear that they were not about the nonsense. I actually enjoyed the scene between Takahashi and the fortune teller, the same fortune teller that had spoken to his parents before he was born.
It is harsh that this young man has a dream of the NBA that he has to pretend does not matter in the grand scheme of things. Yet, every argument between his parents is one of Dad thinking he knew what was best and his Mother believing she did. It is hard to have a dream when everyone else is deciding what is possible and what is not.
In the end – shoot your shot!