Hoop Dreams Reviews
The film simply follows two Chicago boys following a common pursuit of making the pros. This could have been done for a couple of Canadian kids following their NHL dreams, Brazilian kids following their soccer heroes or kids in Nebraska dreaming to play baseball in the Majors. There is very little narration and guidance leaving the viewer to watch the story unfold over the years. Neither kid makes it. So what? I did not feel empathy towards either boy, because the producers did nothing to build that in the story. Yes, I feel bad about poverty, but I've seen much better documentaries about that subject that really hit home...and no, they are not from Michael Moore.
i would never recommend this documentary to anyone.
It is fascinating and really interesting to see what both boys go through.
How each of them are different but somewhat connected.
At each turn you are interested to see what happens with the boys next, and you find yourself rooting hard for them. That's hard to do with a 3 hour documentary but it is accomplished nicely.
I asked myself why I cared about these boys so much...maybe it was due to the fact they were great kids from bad areas. You desperately wanted them to make it and to be with them for their journey was very awesome.
Hoop Dreams es el documental por excelencia. Es una historia que sigue a dos jóvenes durante años de logros, fracasos, pobreza y violencia. William Gates and Arthur Agee son los protagonistas. Ambos tienen sueños de llegar a la NBA, y tienen el talento para lograrlo, pero la vida no es sencilla. Toda la burocracia que rodea a esta institución, hace que sus posibilidades sean mínimas, y a esto hay que agregar que ambos vienen de barrios pobres, donde el mayor logro es llegar vivo a los 18 años. Pero esto no los detiene. Ambos llegan a lugares que nunca soñaron, pero sus circunstancias terminan alcanzándolos. Hoop Dreams es un logró monumental, y han habido pocas veces donde se ha vuelto palpable la dificultad que tienen ciertas personas, sólo por el lugar donde vienen, de lograr el sueño americano. Roger Ebert la llamó "Una de las mejores filmes acerca de la vida americana que he visto" y tiene razón. Hoop Dreams presenta sin censura todos los obstáculos que tienen que superar Gates y Agee para llegar a lo alto. No sólo es un deporte brutal que exige total compromiso, sino que es una inversión tremenda de dinero, y que si no se logran los objetivos trazados, las deudas se van acumulando rápidamente. Pero esta película no sólo se enfoca en ellos, sino en sus familias. Ambos vienen de la pobreza, y lograrlo no sólo se significa fama, sino salir de el barrio y darle una calidad de vida a las personas más cercanas a ellos.
Hay escenas conmovedoras que al ser reales, se vuelven tremendamente emocionales. Especialmente una se viene en mente. La familia Agee celebra el cumpleaños 18 de Arthur, y la madre dice que lo único que le importa es que pudo llegar a esta edad vivo. La NBA pasa a segundo plano. Esta es una realidad que es difícil de entender para personas que viven en buenos barrios y comunidades, pero es el pan de cada día para millones de personas, donde el mayor logro es mantenerse alejado de las pandillas y sobrevivir.
Hoop Dreams es un documental que no omite nada, y que empezó siendo una película de 30 minutos para convertirse en un proyecto tremendo que abarca más de 5 años. Un logro que increíble, sobretodo porque finalmente pone el foco donde debería, y nos deja la lección de que es bueno tener sueños, pero que hay que mantener los pies en la tierra, y que el sueño americano esta al alcance de sólo unos pocos.
But Steve James' documentary is a great movie, a powerful study of youth, race, pop culture, education, society and identity in Chicago in the early 90s that makes no effort to manipulate its subjects into its own vision, instead showing them for who they are, people with hopes and dreams, flaws and virtues, and aspirations and fears just like everyone else their age, though the two subjects - basketball players William Gates and Arthur Agee - have a little bit more heart to them than the average Joe.
Watching this three hour odyssey through the high school lives of two teenagers was at the same time eye-opening and cathartic for me, introducing me to a way of life wholly different to mine yet relatable in many ways. The film explores the boys' family and home life, relationships with friends and teachers, and plans for the future. Basketball is of course the focus of their aspirations, and is central to the film's energy, but the film never feels like a film aimed solely at basketball fans, capturing the spirit of the game and using it to say something profound about its place within society and that society itself.
"Hoop Dreams", while edited to Academy Award-nominated precision, feels modest and subtle, and never throws anything into our faces. Steve James' style is clearly to make his subjects comfortable, as there is never one of those a-ha moments where someone pleads for the camera to be turned off or says that the documentary is stupid, misleading or a waste of time. Every person in the film is themselves in this film, and so no one ever really feels like the bad guy even though there are two clear protagonists. That said, there are some scenes where the relationships between the boys and their families (especially the fathers) come across as broken, especially with Arthur's father, who seems to push his broken basketball dreams on his son, only to leave, become a drug addict, go to jail, and come back to bask in the limelight just when his son is hitting his stride.
This is a vital documentary and certainly one of the best ever made. For its monumental running time, it's never boring and every scene adds something to the film. It's like "Boyhood" in that it has us grow over a few hours with a few people living complex and interesting lives, though it's an even more personal and affecting film. I'm not sure if I'd call it better, but this isn't really a film that needs to be compared to anything else. On the surface it seems like one of those "I could do that" modest TV documentaries, but it's much more than that, a totally unique and enthralling project.