I’m typically a pretty big fan of sports movies. It can be a mediocre movie in its own right, but throw in the fact that it’s about basketball or baseball, and my ultimate rating will probably go up by at least half a star just because I love sports. In fact, I didn’t even consider seeing Boogie until I realized that it was a basketball movie. I didn’t get that from quick glances at the poster, but once I stumbled upon the synopsis, I concluded it would probably be something I’d be interested in.
Boogie does deliver on the basketball front. It follows Alfred “Boogie” Chin (Taylor Takahashi), a second-generation Taiwanese-American high schooler, as he tries to earn a full ride Division I basketball scholarship.
This movie, much like Boogie himself, has a lot going on for its brisk 89 minute runtime. Boogie is trying to earn a scholarship because his family’s bills are piling up, but his parents don’t get along and that’s having an effect on his demeanor. He’s also just transferred to a new school to get in front of better scouts with better competition where he encounters Monk (Pop Smoke), a player from the rival school who is essentially a mustache-twirling villain. Plus, Boogie’s in a budding relationship with the girl he likes. All of this is while his mother hired a manager to try to get him the best opportunity possible. So, yeah. It’s a lot.
While I was watching the movie I was having some trouble connecting. Much of what Boogie goes through has to do with being a second-generation student whose parents have sacrificed so much so he could have the best possible opportunities. When it comes to culturally-specific stories like this, I almost feel like it’s wrong for me to comment on it. But even though I wasn’t necessarily connecting, I was still learning, and I think that’s where my commentary is justified.
This film doesn’t pull any punches. Its depiction of a non-loving home life is raw and helpful in getting inside Boogie’s psyche. At the beginning of the movie the character really isn’t likable. But I don’t think it wanted you to like him — it was just showing its truth.
As mentioned earlier, there is a lot going on in this movie that causes it to feel pretty jumbled. It feels like it was too all-over-the-place to really be working and my head was spinning through much of it. Yet somehow, once the climax happens and the credits begin rolling, it’s apparent that the two main themes are wrapped up quite nicely. Culture and generational traits play a big part in the film and it has legitimate things to say about each of them by the end.
Boogie stumbles to the finish line, but it crosses that line nonetheless. While it’s not close to being one of the best movies I’ve seen this year, I still respect what it was attempting as well as the end result.