Hoop Dreams Reviews

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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.
February 17, 2013
A 2.5 hour documentary? It never dragged. In fact it was so well done it probably could have gone longer. And 98% of critics liked it? That's crazy.
January 18, 2013
A must watch for any sportsman or fan.
½ January 13, 2013
This documentary is about so much more than basketbal, American society (and it's many flaws) is the real story here. Very simple and hugely effective, the near 3 hours running time is deserved.
½ January 7, 2013
A devastatingly real look at life for a young African American and the struggle to chase a dream. Hoop dreams shows the bad neighbourhoods and living conditions these people are given. It seems as though none of these people matter unless they are good at basketball. The system seems to have failed, with a shot at getting a good education and with promises of full paid scholarships they are just thrown back out into the wild if they don't perform on the court.

It also takes a look at how a dream for young men and a shot at a better life can be shut down through injury. William Gates was an incredibly talented player but never recovered fully from his injury, he lost a shot at something that would have brought a lot of joy to his family.

After watching the documentary I looked up both players featured on Wikipedia and both of them had very close family members murdered within 10 years of this documentary. A very sad look at the lives of people with such promise.
½ January 11, 2013
People say, hey, if you make it to the NBA, don't forget about me. Yeah, well, if I don't, don't forget about ME.
January 2, 2013
The issues of race, class, education, living in the projects, sports, and others could have been explored more deeply, but none the less, you will still be touched and fall in love with these kids and all of their family members, no matter how shitty things start to look for them.
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