LeBron James will someday get a docu-saga like Michael Jordan's "The Last Dance" and Earvin "Magic" Johnson's "They Call Me Magic." For now, he'll have to settle for "Shooting Stars."
The rah-rah movie, now streaming on Peacock, isn't as ambitious as those other projects. But greatness isn't what director Chris Robinson is shooting for. This is all about polishing James' image as a likable legend.
The story, based on a book by James and former Pioneer Press reporter Buzz Bissinger, deals primarily with the future Hall of Famer's teenage years when he was a member of the St. Vincent-St. Mary squad, one of the most formidable high school teams in history with three Ohio state championships in four years.
For much of the film, James (newcomer Marquis "Mookie" Cook) is just one of four besties with a seemingly unbreakable bond — and an unbeatable game. They are so dominant that the film teeters on being a bore. But the group eventually faces a more daunting opponent: their own egos.
James comes across like a Tom Cruise character, a cocky maverick who must get a dose of humility before he can continue his climb to the top. He occasionally acts like a jerk, but there's no behavior that will tarnish his good guy reputation or any endorsement deals.
"The Luckiest Guy in the World," sets out to immortalize another basketball great, Bill Walton. For a while, the four-part docuseries, premiering at 7 p.m. Tuesday on ESPN, coasts on the UCLA standout's optimistic attitude and music from his favorite band, the Grateful Dead.
But the mood sours every time director Steve James ("Hoop Dreams") brings up Walton's spotty broadcasting career and the foot injuries that derailed his career. Walton gets so defensive that his constant claims that he's the luckiest man in the world start to feel more like a threat than a mantra. In the end, viewers are left wondering how real Walton is being with them — and himself.
The award-winning series from Twin Cities Public Television returns for a new season, one that focuses on young explorers conducting experiments in parks across the country. In an upcoming episode, four local teenagers learn about pollution by picking up trash near Hidden Falls in St. Paul. That may sound like a punishment, but the young scientists appear to be having a better time collecting plastic than they would be scrolling through TikTok. 12:30 p.m. Fridays, TPT; 11:30 a.m. Sundays, TPT Life
Former National Security Agency translator Reality Leigh Winner ended up serving time in federal prison for leaking an intelligence report about Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. Director Tina Satter isn't interested in passing judgment on her. Instead, the film, adapted from her play, "Is This a Room," focuses on how FBI agents (Josh Hamilton and Marchant Davis) conducted themselves in their initial interrogation of Winner, played with just the right amount of naivete and nerves by Sydney Sweeney. You can practically feel the walls close in around her. What makes the drama all the more effective is that all the dialogue in the film is lifted verbatim from FBI transcripts. Max