Tuesday, April 12, 2016

868. Hoop Dreams

Hoop Dreams
Directed by Steve James

You might not be able to tell, but I am not really into sports.  My one sports related accomplishment is only having to take one semester of gym in high school (everyone else had to take three).  I did sit in a private box during the Stanley Cup finals once, but I used the time to read and eat copious amounts of popcorn.  Anyway, given my distaste for watching millionaires trying to get a ball from one place to another place, I didn't expect to take this one.  However, this is one of the best documentaries I have ever seen.

The movie follows the lives of two African American teenagers, William Gates and Arthur Agee, who dream of playing in the NBA.  They are recruited by a scout from St. Joseph High School, a predominantly white college prep school with a great basketball program.  The film explores their private lives and struggles, demonstrating how far they will go to achieve their dreams.

Usually I complain about movies that are over two hours.  Considering the fact that the filmmakers had 250 hours of footage, the length is actually quite impressive.  This kind of movie could come across as preachy, but the two leads are so likable that it is impossible not to care about them.  It's not really even about basketball, which is probably why I enjoyed it so much.

So a powerful story that I wish had a different ending.  Definitely a film worth watching.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

On the fifteenth anniversary of this film, the movie was screened at the Gene Siskel Film Center.  Arthur Agee told the audience that ten of his friends in the movie had died.

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