Grab Your Squad: Why 'Uncle Drew' Was The Summer Movie We Needed
Call me biased (and also hear me out), but I loved "Uncle Drew.”
Now that “Uncle Drew” has made its rounds in theaters nationwide, I feel comfortable giving my take on the the film. But first, I gotta take it back a little bit, to the day I saw the "Uncle Drew" premiere in New York.
My entire friend group was in the city preparing to take the red carpet and see the movie. We even had a film crew come through to capture the special moment. In the midst of the excitement and the preparation we get a call from a rep from LionsGate.
"Bad news guys," he told us. "Space is really tight, so only one of your camera people will have a place to film (we had three camera people on staff)."
The room got a little more quiet.
"Oh also," he added. "Unfortunately, because of space and time, only one person is allowed to walk the carpet with Kyrie. The rest of you guys will have to go directly in the theater and take your seats."
"But don't worry," the rep said. "We're still going to have a great time! See you guys there."
The rep hung up and silence continued to fill the room.
After looking at each other for about five minutes we burst into laughter.
"Yeah okay," one of us joked.
"We'll see about that," another added.
"If they think for one second we ain't mobbin on that carpet, they obviously don't know how we operate," Kyrie chimed.
We continued to get dressed and proceeded to make our way to the event. And, as prophesied, we mobbed. No issues. No problems. Just a young man surrounded by his closest family and friends on a special day while all three of the camera personnel captured our shenanigans as planned.
It was never our intention to disrespect anyone or their time. Our brother was starring in a major feature film and if anyone thought that we weren't going to be there for him to celebrate the moment, then they are out of their minds. Family is there for each other no matter what.
It’s important that I tell this story before getting to my review as the ordeal before the premier allowed me to truly appreciate many of the themes in Uncle Drew. Yeah, the basketball and pop culture jokes were timely and well written. And Chris Webber completely stole the show as Preacher. But the film's emphasis on family and looking out for your brothers is what made Uncle Drew so much more than just another basketball movie.
It had heart, and wasn't just a hour and half long Pepsi commercial like most people (including myself) were afraid it would be. There was a message. There was class. It took itself seriously enough as a movie that audiences enjoyed themselves while watching it, and came out feeling a little better after seeing it.
Now I doubt too many people were leaving the theater needing tissues and wanting excessive family bonding time. It wasn’t a Disney film and that is okay. Uncle Drew also wasn't like the movies critics compared it to when trailers and other marketing materials were dropped. It’s unlike Space Jam. It’s unlike Like Mike. In Uncle Drew there is a message that the whole family could enjoy and get behind.
"I'm extremely happy with how the movie came out," Kyrie said. "And to have all my family and friends here with me to see it was really special."
The whole day reminded me why I love my people so much. We know how to celebrate! The black community takes family gatherings seriously, and we don't let anything stand in the way of supporting our loved ones. Think about all the graduations you go to. They always say "please hold your applause till the end," and you can just hear every black mom and auntie in the stands suck their teeth at the same time. You'd probably get vertigo if you saw how many of us roll our eyes at that moment. Usually, when the white kids get their name called, it's pretty silent, maybe a few claps here and there. But wait till the Johnson family hears their baby's name. Don't fall asleep before Tanya Jefferson gets called. Or Jamaal Williams. Or Jerome Myles. The applause will scare you out of your sleep worse than if Freddy Krueger was after you.
The hooting. The hollering. The blow horns. The screaming. The "that's my baby" chants. Black folks act like they won the lottery when their kin walk across that stage. And I love every second of it. The black family, like the characters in "Uncle Drew" aren't perfect, but when it comes down to it, we're here for each other. And best believe we will celebrate like its no tomorrow when one of us has success. Like a movie premiere. Or a graduation. Or a game winning basket.
If you haven't seen "Uncle Drew" yet, I suggest you go and bring your family and friends with you. It will make you feel good about the sport of basketball, as well as the company you keep.