Friday the new film Boogie opens in theaters across the country. The film, from writer/director Eddie Huang, focuses on a young man, Alfred “Boogie” Chin (Taylor Takahashi) with plenty of talent on the court who is caught between several paths. What will he choose? What is the right path to take? That’s the focus of this strong new drama.
Huang’s autobiographical book served as the inspiration for the ABC sitcom Fresh Off the Boat. For his directorial feature film debut, he tackles another story of a young man caught between cultures, caught between his parents, and trying to find his place in the world. This has a more dramatic tone but is nonetheless engaging.
Boogie is a senior who transferred to a new high school to have a chance to play against the best and earn a scholarship to play college basketball. His skill on the court is undeniable, but his attitude issues hold him back and lead him to clash with his coach (Domenick Lombardozzi). He’s also caught between his mother (Pamelyn Chee) and father (Perry Yung), each of whom have a different plan for Boogie’s future.
His world becomes further complicated by a new romance (Taylour Paige) and a new agent (Mike Moh) who each have their own pitch for how Boogie should move forward. All the while he has to balance being a good son, representing his culture, and finding a way to achieve his dream.
There is plenty of pressure and expectation applied to Boogie, and the film does a nice job of showing the impact all that has on a young man who feels torn between desire and obligation. All of it pushes him to become a better player and a better man, with Huang guiding this journey to a satisfying, if not perfect, final resolution.
Huang has a good feel for the material and the pacing, delivering a film that’s a crisp 90 minutes and explores a wide range of topics. It has a mix of drama and humor, and I particularly enjoyed the climatic basketball sequence that serves as one of the high points of the film. He’s also blessed with a strong lead performance from Takahashi, making his feature film debut. He had strong screen presence and charisma, and I’m excited to see what he might do in the future.
Boogie is an engaging and interesting film, and a strong exploration of culture and the pull it has on your journey growing up. I enjoyed the presentation here and look forward to seeing more from Huang in the future.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a proud member of the Drive-In Podcast Network.