By the end of “Thunderstruck,” Kevin Durant gets his talent back and we all learn a valuable lesson.
Oh wait, I did that wrong. Spoiler alert.
The short of it: As the reviews accurately stated, KD’s movie isn’t, in fact, terrible. And I think that’s pretty high praise for a film of this genre.
There’s a scene late in the movie where the coach of the high school team is in the huddle and as they break, they all say “Don’t suck!” I think that’s sort of the approach there was to this movie. Be cheesy, be corny, be stupid. But just don’t be embarrassingly bad. Don’t make people feel sorry for KD that he got roped into this. Not the highest bar to shoot for, but when expectations are low, they’re easier to reach.
While obviously it’s not incredible storytelling, doesn’t have emotional character development or inspiring visuals, it does have a very simple, understandable story, a moral to the story and a few scattered chuckles mixed in.
I’m not trying to sit here and tell you it’s a good movie. But for a Thunder fan that loves Kevin Durant and see Oklahoma City stuff on the big screen, it’s truly a bit of a thrill. The opening few minutes there are a bunch of highlights of KD dunking, dropping jumpers — including this beauty over Shane Battier, one of my all-time favorites –and doing your typical awesome KD things. That stuff was fun.
Then the movie started with you know, acting and stuff.
And you know what? KD didn’t do that bad at all. Actually, considering that his craft is hoops and this was his first crack at acting, I kind of was impressed. He sort of did… good. I genuinely was worried heading in that I was going to feel extremely uncomfortable and awkward throughout the movie from KD painfully saying lines unconvincingly or from being forced into horribly cheesy things. But truthfully the only part that made me actually cringe was when Jim Miller, the Thunder’s old PA announcer, popped up on screen. A pretty uncomfortable cameo.
The thing about this is, you have to remember you’re seeing a movie called “Thunderstruck” that’s about some 5-foot-5 white kid that can magically dunk because he said some words and through a completely unexplained phenomenon, KD’s basketball abilities passed through a ball and into him. It wasn’t written for the Scorsese crowd. If you’re moaning about how corny it was and you’re an adult, that’s like watching an episode of iCarly and griping about scene structure. You have to accept what the movie is and who it’s for. It was for kids and let me tell you, the ones that were in the theater I was in, loved it.
After it ended, I overheard one little boy tell his mom, “It was awesome!” I heard another say, “Kevin Durant was so funny!” Kids came walking out pretending like they were dribbling, shooting and being KD. I think that was kind of the idea. In terms of targeting an audience, I’d say “Thunderstruck” succeeded.
And honestly, I walked out feeling moderately satisfied. (And relieved that it wasn’t embarrassing.) I genuinely laughed out loud at a few parts (KD’s line of, “A guy asked me for an autograph in the bathroom just now — mid-stream” had me rolling). KD’s mom had a fun cameo. The stuff with the Inside the NBA crew was pretty good. There were a few appearances from recognizable folks like Conan O’Brien, the TNT crew, and Rumble. (And me, if you look really closely at one of the zoomed out shots of the court during the Pistons game.)
Again, I can’t stress enough, lest you think less of my movie tastes, it wasn’t good. But it wasn’t bad either. As in brutally, cringeworthy, “The Happening” bad. If you like the Thunder and KD, I’d certainly see it. He does a good job, there are some good Thunder highlights mixed in and if you can get through the annoying kid Brian’s painful overacting and stupid hair, it’s bearable. Which is really all it needed to be.
A few other random thoughts:
- Questions: Why was Candace Parker in Oklahoma City randomly? In the final game, who was the big guy that started dunking out of nowhere? Why weren’t they feeding him more often instead of Connor, or whatever his name was? Why was a Thunder-Pistons game on TNT? Why did KD only practice at a high school gym? Why was his agent the only one that worked with him?
- The assistant coach on the high school team was kind of funny. His “Hoosiers” speech made me chuckle quietly to myself.
- Scott Brooks really should be questioned if KD went through a 3-67 shooting slump and he didn’t do something.
- After Brian gives KD his talent back, it shows Durant lighting up the Hornets for a second and then cuts to Brian waking up to the radio recapping OKC’s win. So you’re telling me he gives KD his talent back and then hustles immediately home and goes to sleep?
- KD talks about firing his annoying agent at one point in the movie which is awkward, because ended up parting ways with his actual real-life agent. Who was the one that put together this whole movie thing for KD.
- Kenny Smith called KD “the best player in basketball” at one point in it. Really now, Kenny?
- Was one of the players on the high school team named Derek Maynard?
- Really looking forward to “Thunderstruck 2” when Brian goes to college and swaps talent with Hasheem Thabeet, and no one notices.