Hoop Dreams Reviews

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July 19, 2012
My Favorite Film Is 1941's Citizen Kane.
July 4, 2013
Hoop Dreams was a film I stumbled across while reading about the documentary Crumb, as it was one of the two most critically acclaimed documentaries of 1994 not to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, with Crumb being the other one. But since it had such an interesting story and had Roger Ebert naming it the greatest film of the year as well as campaigning for it to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, I could not miss out on it.

Hoop Dreams is an example of a documentary which follows the lives of two everybodies with big dreams that they are willing to jump for, so it can be determined that since it covers their lives over a period of 5 years and over the course of 170 minutes that it is going to be a long film. And so at times it's a little bit dull and feels a little stretched, but the real heart of the story and the determination of director Steve James to make sure that every detail of the story is told in the most important way. E goes into deatail, chronicling the dreams, lives, directions and families of its two dreamers as they journey forwards through education and basketball. The subject matter is a simple story but complicated territory, and it allows their talents to unfold in front of the screen for everyone to see. If anything, Hoop Dreams also gave its figures determination to reach their dreams because it would be inspirational for the world to see their success on the cinematic screen. And the visual depiction of just how determined and talented William Gates and Arthur Agee are in their NBA ambitions is incredible. There is so much real spirit in the movie, so its easy to get inspired by it.
The thing that makes Hoop Dreams so inspiring is that it has all the heart and passion of a true sports film, but it's actually all a true story. It's a documented case of two young boys, William Gates and Arthur Agee. It shows just what kind of long and difficult path it really is when your dreams are huge and the world around is a difficult place to deal with.Hoop Dreams begins as a story about two young boys with ambitions to play for the most popular basketball association in the western world, and yet gradually it becomes more focused on what is important. The emphasis doesn't stay on playing for the NBA, it becomes about playing Basketball. Hoop Dreams reminds us what sports are all about, and how it's important to have passions and ambitions in life so that we are given direction. And as thee key element of the story in the documentary, William Gates and Arthur Agee are chronicled in their journeys as they shoot for the stars and jump for their dreams, their Hoop Dreams if you will..
Hoop Dreams is deep and meaningful without lacking the heart of a sports film, and its one of the most inspiring sports films and documentaries ever. Audiences that can sit through its length will find themselves with a new appreciation for the inspirational power of films and sports. And the power of the film is undeniable, as it has confirmed to have changed the lives for both William Gates and Arthur Agee who were able to turn the success of the movie and subsequent fame into better lives for themselves.
Really, Hoop Dreams contains the type of inspiration and importance that cannot be written into a film and has to come from the real world, and through exploring every inch of both William Gates and Arthur Agee's real worlds, Steve James makes Hoop Dreams an undeniably success and one hell of fine documentary worth seeing for any fan of the NBA or high school student that has a very big dream to pursue.
½ February 11, 2014
Don't let the lofty 3-hour running time of Hoop Dreams discourage you- this documentary will make you wish it were 5 hours by the end. One of the benchmarks in documentary filmmaking, it's a really gripping look at the struggles of two inner city youths and their personal struggles while balancing out their dreams to becoming basketball superstars. After you watch it, check out the "where are they now" by searching for them on wikipedia, as the documentary is now 20 years old.
January 3, 2014
What was originally intended as a 30-minute special on teenage basketball evolved into a deep, complex, touching, and richly satisfying 3-hour motion picture with basketball serving as an introduction to study racial issues, social issues, and American education issues.
½ December 16, 2013
Heartbreaking. Everyone who's over 20 understands what these kids have gone through when they lose a dream. Certainly worth a watch. Not a masterpiece though. Very depressing.
½ October 27, 2013
Wanted to see for years but could do with editing. Too long but good in any case and two interesting characters are chosen who both seem quite level headed given the expectations placed on them. US high school sport is messed up as is the college system but as a film, not too bad.
September 8, 2012
From its editing to its music choices, Hoop Dreams is one unforgettable viewing experience that is real, humanistic, almost beyond measure. But, it's more than that at the same time. It's a cultural statement. It's an economical statement. It's a political one; a social one. A film worth investing your time and emotion into.
½ October 23, 2013
I heard about this documentary in Roger Ebert's review of the best films of the 90's. It was on Netflix, so I figured I'd give it a shot. I have to say that 15 minutes in I had to force myself not to spoil the ending by looking up what happened to these two kids on Wikipedia. This film was extremely interesting because it was able to make itself about a whole heck of a lot more than just basketball.
July 26, 2013
3 hours of hard knocks
July 30, 2013
A film following the lives of two inner-city Chicago boys who struggle to become college basketball players on the road to going professional.'

'Hoop Dreams' is perhaps the greatest documentary ever made. However, due to it's length and subject matter it can prove a difficult watch for many, especially if you're not interested in or have a basic understanding of Basketball. I actually had to split the film in two halves over two evenings. Despite it's difficult to watch nature 'Hoop Dreams' is an extremely important film, it highlights many major issues within the United States of America including; race, class and education.

When you first start to watch it you see that it's about two inner-city boys who are incredibly talented at playing Basketball, they dream that one day they'll make it into the NBA. As the films carries on you start to notice the struggle these boys are facing and the obstacles they'll have to overcome in order to achieve their dreams. The two boys are ambitious and resilient, it makes the audience root for them, we're spending the entire film (which spans 6 years of each boys life) hoping they'll make it.

Throughout we're shown where these two boys come from, it's a poverty stricken life and can understand how they want to reach for the stars, they want to make a better life for themselves and their families. This isn't a film just about Basketball, but about life itself, I believe no other film has ever shown us the struggles of everyday life this well before.

I'm a big fan of documentaries, I watch them quite regularly, this one definitely needs to be seen by everyone, it's an moving and inspiring movie-going experience.

My Rating: 4/5.
September 24, 2013
Watching this in 2013 the documentary Hoop dreams reflects the aspirations of two talented kids charting their ups and downs in their aspirations to make it to the basketball elite. By focusing on two kids the documentary allows the watcher to engage with both boys and their families as they become adults and realise that talent and hard work does not necessarily equal success. It can be used to educate children and their parents in the truths behind pursuing most top sports no matter what decade you decide to watch this in.
April 12, 2011
When Roger Ebert calls a film the best of a decade (in this case, the 90s), you know the film is worth watching. Of course, it is one of the best documentaries I have ever seen (second only to the "Up" series"), but I did not even think of the word "documentary" so much as I did the word "film". This is a extraordinary film that has you hanging on every shot. Best sports movie.
August 5, 2013
I assume almost everyone has seen this film, but it is worth watching again. It is such an obvious pick that it almost deserves a stand alone ranking. The only reason I didn't rank it as #1 was because I wanted to highlight a few other films that you probably have not seen, that are well worth going to see. So, if you have not seen Hoop Dreams, you should put it at the top of your Netflix rental queue. This extraordinary movie shattered the illusion, once and for all, that factual films can't be as entertaining as fictional ones. When it didn't even get nominated for best documentary in 1995 there was a big uproar because it is such a brilliant film (though it is almost 3-hours long). The movie is a chronicle of the lives and high-school careers of two inner-city youths who both harbor legitimate hopes of playing professional basketball.
½ July 12, 2013
Excellent documentary that deserved to be nominated for Best Picture and Best Documentary. A completely touching film from beginning to end and I enjoyed it very much
May 27, 2013
I said, "Well,you are somebody. No matter where you go,
it's what you have in your heart... that you're gonna go somewhere. '"
½ July 5, 2007
Well done, but didn't grab me by the basket balls.
½ August 23, 2008
One of the best documentaries ever. Not just a depressing and boring collection of footage, but a compelling and real-life American story that all can relate to and enjoy.
½ March 28, 2008
I have no idea what the fuss is about. It was boring and forgettable.
March 20, 2013
A very emotional documentary about two inner city boys trying to reach their dreams of playing for the NBA. Watching it 20 years after it was released, for the first time, I feel that the story is still relevant today. Watching their neighborhood, their schools, and their dreams made me feel how deep the inequities in America was in the 1980's. The movie is a long ride, but something to cheer about in the end.
Super Reviewer
½ February 27, 2013
Hoop Dreams is sprawling, ambitious and surprisingly engaging, managing to endear its central subjects to the viewer in a way that's rare to see in documentary cinema, though its daunting length leads it to occasionally feel over-saturated.
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