Review: Mudbound
Review: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Mainstream Chick with Greta Gerwig @Middleburg

Thunderstruck

Well, one thing is for sure. Basketball star Kevin Durant won’t be adding Oscar gold to Olympic gold anytime soon. His portrayal of himself in this Freaky Friday wanna-be is so bad it’s almost comical. But it’s not really Durant’s fault. The guy was obviously talked into doing this movie for the sake of his ‘brand’. As if a guy who’s 6’9 needs to raise his profile. Actually, I’ve got to admit I didn’t know who Durant was before prepping to see this movie. So I guess his handlers had a point. Just please spare us a Thunderstruck 2.

That said, I’m not the target audience. Kids may actually like this movie well enough. Especially basketball fans between the ages of 8 and 15… and kids who are into Disney Channel movies or very special episodes of Nickelodeon’s [fill in the blank]. Thunderstruck would have been fine – possibly even immensely popular – as a made-for-tv movie or straight-to-video project. But as a feature film??? Did anyone watch the dailies???

Here’s the gist: Taylor Gray (of Nickelodeon’s Bucket and Skinner’s Epic Adventures) plays Brian, a good-hearted teenager who loves basketball but can’t sink a shot if his life depends on it. He’s determined to move up from ‘towel boy’ to starter on his high school basketball team. But it’s not looking good – until a chance encounter with superstar Kevin Durant at an Oklahoma Thunder game. Brian tells Durant he wishes he had his talent – and voila! – the next morning, he does. Meanwhile, Durant suddenly has Brian’s talent, or lack thereof. And as Brian takes his high school team on the road to the state championships, Durant is left floundering, unable to make a basket, just as his team is making a run for the play-offs. Oh no!!

The acting in this movie isn’t all bad. Actor-comedian Brandon T. Jackson makes the highlight reel as Durant’s agent, Alan. And James Belushi and his son Robert score high marks as the coaches of Brian’s high school team. The Belushis play off each other extremely well and deliver the movie’s rare comedic swishes (usually involving references to the basketball classic, Hoosiers).

I’m gonna leave it at that, cuz Kevin Durant is twice my size, seems like a genuinely nice guy, and he hails from the DC area – my neck of the woods. I had a chance to see him in person at a Thunderstruck press junket (my last junket after this review?) and I wondered (aloud) if he had a newfound respect for drama geeks. Turns out, he doesn’t have very fond memories of his high school drama teacher. But that’s okay. Kevin gets the last laugh. He’s got Olympic gold, endorsements out the wazoo, a stellar career with the NBA, and… he’s starring in a major (albeit majorly bad) motion picture. And he’s only 23. See kids, it’s okay to dream big…

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