Hoop Dreams - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Hoop Dreams Reviews

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April 16, 2016
Might seem average now but for the time it was an amazing look at another side of life. Sure they make these things all the time now, but not in 1991. Powerful, well worth the three hours.
Super Reviewer
April 15, 2016
Hampered by being too long and not focused enough.
March 5, 2016
Proud to say that I attended St. Joseph High School, where some of this documentary was filmed. It was an amazing & beautifully well-told & well-filmed story!
½ March 3, 2016
I had such high expectations for this documentary given the critic ratings. Nothing could have been more of a disappointment. Again, I was left thinking more about the pervasive "groupthink" of critics, professional and amateur alike, versus independent thinking. Just because this film is about a couple of ghetto youngsters, does not automatically earn it a masterpiece rating.

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.
January 19, 2016
Perhaps one of the greatest movies ever made about sports, if not one of the best movies made about people.
½ January 12, 2016
Hoop Dreams is a long but super intriguing documentary about two boys from the inner city, and their lives through basketball and other tough life avenues.
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.
½ January 4, 2016
There is no hollywood glamorization here. A realistic look at what the steps are for you to be noticed, to one day have a shot at an NBA career. 3hrs was a bit much for me when watching this film.
January 3, 2016
A documentary that absolutely sucks you in.
½ September 18, 2015
A very comprehensive documentary, covering four years of William & Arthur's lives. As well as watching them follow their dreams, we also get to see what it's like for some people to live below the poverty line, and how professional even high school basketball is - it's an extremely tough path to get all the way to the NBA. Gives equal amounts of time to each person and to their on-court off-court lives. Long, but enjoyable.
August 17, 2015
An intense, epic documentary that will have you cheering at the character's achievements, and weeping at their failures.
Super Reviewer
August 10, 2015
Hoop Dreams doesn't treat its documentary material like a traditional documentary would. Though they're there, the interview sound bites aren't excessive, and the film doesn't bother overloading the audience with facts and statistics. Rather, Hoop Dreams presents its subject in the most real way possible, following these people and letting us see their struggle to get a strong sense of who they are. This leads to Hoop Dreams not only being one of the most absorbing documentaries ever produced, but also one of the most absorbing films period for its ability to make you care for the subject manner and people in a way that even most fictional films fail to do.
July 16, 2015
Easily one of the best documentaries I've ever seen. A beautiful, sprawling story with scope far beyond its scale.
May 25, 2015
William Gates: That's why when somebody say, "when you get to the NBA, don't forget about me", and that stuff. Well, I should've said to them, "if I don't make it, don't you forget about me."

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.
½ April 30, 2015
I'm not a fan of any American sport but this was a very interesting doc as it follows two talented kids, both that come from tough backgrounds and both dreaming of appearing in the NBA. In any other country it's enough to have the talent to get your opportunity. In America, you need to pay for a token education. Whether you manage to pass your exams or not seems to depend on how good you are at Basketball and how good your parents are at paying their school bills.
April 19, 2015
This is one of the best docs ever made and the best movie of 94'.
April 9, 2015
It's hard to write praise about a film like "Hoop Dreams" that has already been hailed a masterpiece by almost every mainstream critic and documentarian out there, especially one that had such a large place in the heart of Roger Ebert, my all-time favorite critic.

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.
April 5, 2015
Arguably the greatest American documentary ever made, and certainly one of the most ambitious; a work of astonishing literary depth and breadth, covering a multitude of subjects and themes with insight and care while also working as riveting entertainment.
½ March 31, 2015
It's great and sobering.
March 27, 2015
Finally. I understand what all the fuss was about.
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