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Hoop Dreams
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Hoop Dreams More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

I will never look at basketball the same...

10/10
Author: Giordano (giordano-4) from a college computer lab
11 April 2000

I watched this one in film class. I had often questioned why sports were such a big deal to people, and it's because of this. Watch the movie and you'll understand. Not that I agree or that it's right, but it's true. I cried more than once during this film. Tears of pain and of joy... Wow. It's truly a masterpiece. How much effort was put into this film can only be imagined. There was real love put into this movie, and you'll take love out of it, too.

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

A glimpse into innercity life, NOT African American life

Author: Sinnibar from Chicago, IL
9 August 2004

Hoop Dreams is a compelling documentary about the lives of two young men with dreams of making it big in basketball in order to escape the harsh realities of life in the ghetto. Yes the boys are black. That's no surprise. There are plenty of black people living in identical surroundings of that of Arthur and William. However I can not stand to read these comments on this site, which I am assuming are written by white people, about how it is a glimpse into "African American" life and culture. How ignorant can you be? I am black and from the Chicago area and my life was nothing like this. I grew up in a five bedroom home with an accountant for a mother and a dentist for a father. My father was never addicted to crack. I never witnessed a drive by shooting. There were no teenage pregnancies in my household. That's not to say those things are something to be ashamed of. You cannot help where you were born. But for you ignorant white people who live in your sheltered little lilly white bubble, open your eyes and your minds and realize that white people aren't the only people who are diverse. Just because my skin is black doesn't mean I grew up in the projects. Black people are no more monolithic than our pasty counterparts in Caucausia. I watched the movie and was intrigued by a life I had never seen or experienced and my skin happens to be rich in melanin. It is not a reflection of African American life. It's a reflection of life in an inner city ghetto. That's it and that's that.

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

setting the record straight

Author: hotnoodletuna
5 March 2002

After reading the comments about "Hoop Dreams" I feel that I must help to set the record straight. Though a few of the reviewers saw this film correctly, the vast majority see this film as a basketball movie. It is not. This is a film about poor and impressionable children who are promised a better life by people who seek only to exploit them. Form the opening seen where the fat Artful Dodger-like recruiter is watching 14 year old boys play basketball and trying to entice them to attend the same prep-school as Isaiah Thomas, to the moment when Arthur is expelled because he cannot pay his tuition, we see how savagely exploited these poor children are. They have been reduced to work-horses by white America, promised a better life if they compete on the modern-day gladiatorial stage. These kids will never make the big show, and they will never escape the ghetto. They will perform like circus clowns until they no longer have the ability to excite us. This is modern-day slavery and apartheid on display in the USA, and some of you folks out there have the nerve to criticize these desperately poor families for accepting a welfare check. Shame on you for perpetuating such exploitation. This film is not about basketball. This film is about the continuing development of a minority underclass in this country, and the fact that we all promote it with our love for gladiators, and our Dickensian willingness to exploit children to fulfill our gluttonous desires. This is a film with heroes and villians. If you think its just a heartwarming story about kids playing basketball, then you are one of the villians.

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Hoop Dreams, a story of two young basketball players and the struggles in their lives.

7/10
Author: Jeremiah Goodwin from United States
19 October 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Jeremiah Goodwin Whitaker Expository Writing 10-19-15 Film Review

Film Review: Hoop Dreams

For my film review I chose the documentary "Hoop Dreams". This film goes through the struggles of two very talented African American basketball players, Arthur Agee, and William Gates. Both who were recruited by St. Joseph High School in Westchester, Illinois. Which was a majority white school. Hall of famer, Isiah Thomas, is an alumni of the school. The film shows what their lives was like. It also shows their daily struggles.

In my opinion I believe Arthur had it the worse out of the two. After being recruited to St. Joseph and playing he was kicked out after failing to make payments on the tuition. To me I felt as if they tried so hard to get Arthur to come to the school they wouldn't just let him be kicked out like that. I feel like they would have had some kind of agreement to where he could make payments. For example and installment payment. Or somebody in the school or an organization could've done something to keep him there. Also there was a point in time he had to go back to his local school and was just getting by with his grades. He also had to do it without his father for some time. Arthur seemed to not care about school altogether at one point. He had to go to summer school multiple times just to stay in the correct grade and graduate with his class.

William gates had a better life but it was not great all the time. Like Arthur her too played for St. Joseph's. But unlike Arthur he played varsity. He seemed like he was the next sure thing to make it into the league. But no basketball player has a perfect life. At one point he struggled in his school work. He cared more about basketball than school. But eventually he got his life together and started to make the grades. Even on top of that he still excelled in basketball. Injuries began to plague him in his junior year in high school. He had a knee injury that could have cost him his whole year. But he battled back and continued to play. He messed himself up by going out to play when he was not completely healed though. During his experience at a Nike basketball camp he found himself struggling and injured his knee.

Personally I don't think this film has a specific audience. This film can be watched by anybody. From basketball lovers to people who love a good story. There isn't anything wrong with it necessarily. Some may view it as a typical story and not care about it in anyway possible. Other may see this film and think of it as an absolute masterpiece. The point is every one is entitled to their own opinion. No matter if its bias or not. We can't tell a person if they are right or wrong about anything they say or do. The audience sometimes chooses the film not the other way around.

In my opinion I think this film is a good film. Normal basketball documentaries start off while the player is in college or in their freshman year in the National Basketball Association (NBA). While with this film they start earlier in these players lives. There is a way that the story is told so that we can feel as if we are with them in their struggles and can feel the pain and suffering they are going through. Most people would look at this as a typical story of two young African American boys going through a basic struggle. But it is much more than that. This story is about two people chasing their dreams.

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ROGER EBERT's Personal Recommendation; really?

8/10
Author: Michael Mendez (mmendez60684@gmail.com) from Chicago, Il
28 September 2015

The time has finally come for me to watch the documentary that Roger Ebert himself CREDITS "one of the greatest films of the decade." Well, I was not let down one bit, but I definitely wouldn't go as far to consider it that high of a review. But one things is for sure, it was definitely worth it, watching Steve James's HOOP DREAM.

Our story follows two aspiring young high school students from Chicago who dream of becoming the next big thing in BASKETBALL. One is Arthur Agee and the others name is William Gates; the two differ in many ways, but luckily, their stories really don't intertwine. — What I found really amusing during this 3 HOUR MOVIE was how dynamic each character is and what their purpose to this story was. Such as the parents! Arthur's family undergoes a lot of dysfunctional problems, and only time will tell if their story is a good one.

I believe this film is great for young basketball dreamers, but also any young adult who decides to follow their dreams. One can connect really easily with the lifestyle and realize that it isn't just about (winning) the game. It has much more to do with that.

I RATE this doc a 8 out of 10 on IMDb. Nothing too unique, but definitely something that should not be missed. Students who study documentary filmmaking can really learn a lot from this feature. If it is one thing that it teaches you, it is that YOU CAN ONLY LEARN FROM THE BEST.

— Michael Mendez

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eye opening doc of real life

9/10
Author: SnoopyStyle
17 May 2015

William Gates and Arthur Agee are two poor Chicago teens struggling to make it like their idol Isiah Thomas. Gates from Cabrini–Green gets a sponsor and go to good white school. Agee from West Garfield Park struggle as family issues force him to attend the local public high school. They both have highs and lows with many surprises. Gates faces injury issues and trying to maintain his early promise. Agee's father gets into drugs but his team at Marshall may be the Cinderella story.

It's an eye opener for its insight into sports, poverty, race and the school system. Even more than that, it shows that real life can't be scripted. There is more drama and more surprises than many scripted fiction. The real life drama is so compelling. It breathed new life into the documentary genre and created controversy when it wasn't nominated for the best documentary at the Academy Awards. The main drawback is that the movie follows more on the basketball. It's certainly understandable because the basketball follows a schedule and has inherent drama. Their personal lives do get sufficient treatment to deliver some insight into the family's lives.

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A Portrait of Time and Place

7/10
Author: gavin6942 from United States
15 April 2015

A film following the lives of two inner-city Chicago boys who struggle to become college basketball players on the road to going professional. Gates lived in Cabrini–Green while Agee and his family resided in West Garfield Park.

Although never a basketball player or from a poor neighborhood, this touches home for me a bit because I am from the Midwest and have spent a fair amount of time in Chicago. And then add Marquette University, a place I have been to countless times, and you are practically in my backyard.

The strength of this film is that -- despite the title -- it is not about basketball. That is what drives the narrative, but the deeper story is one of race, class, poverty, unemployment, crime, family values and more. These are real issues, and whether or not we face them, they are holding entire communities back from succeeding.

Although violence is never a focus of the film, it remains ever on the edges. The families of both men have experienced losses since the release of the film. On Thanksgiving morning 1994, Agee's older half-brother, DeAntonio, was gunned down at Cabrini–Green. In September 2001, Gates' older brother, Curtis, 36, was shot to death in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood. Arthur's father, Bo Agee, was murdered in 2004.

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An important film that really didn't hold my interest.

7/10
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
20 January 2015

"Hoop Dreams" follows two Chicago teens, Arthur Agee and William Gates, for 5 years. Both hope to eventually make it to the NBA to play basketball but their more immediate goals are to receive scholarships to top basketball colleges.

In the history of documentaries, "Hoop Dreams" is super-important and it helped usher in a newer style and scope of documentaries (such as the many excellent films by ESPN). I do appreciate that. However, after I watched it, I found myself underwhelmed. After all, the film has a current score of 8.3--and that is incredibly high. So, I think I found my expectations were just too high. Additionally, and I know this will perhaps sound mean, but I really didn't find myself that connected with the characters. I was hoping they'd get to live their dreams...but why should I pull for them as opposed to any other young wannabes?

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Really Remarkable Filming and Editing

10/10
Author: Hitchcoc from United States
15 July 2014

I was about halfway through this film when I realized that these people were looking into the lens of a camera . I know that there was a little mugging at times and little signs of embarrassment that gave one the sense that the camera was there, but for the nearly three hours (there must have been so much more footage) these young people led their lives for us to see. This is the story of two young men who have grown up in the projects on the South Side of Chicago. Each is quite a basketball star and they have the dream of someday playing in the NBA. Their families are poor and in some cases, unstable. The kids are stars in their own high schools, but do have some issues with attitude and commitment. Having come off the playground and then getting all this attention does work against them. They are both sent to a school, St. Joseph's, in suburban Chicago, that produced Isiah Thomas. It is a school that has been incredibly successful, with an incredibly intense Coach who looks a little like a cross between Joe Paternor and Alfred Molina. He rants and intimidates and doesn't seem to individualize much. One of the young men doesn't have the financial wherewithal or the more observable talent and has to leave, returning to his old school. It is implied that The second is a more mature player but when a knee injury enters the picture, he begins to lose his confidence and doesn't reach the level of performance that he had hoped. This is a cutthroat business which is made obvious. St. Joseph won't even release the boy's transcripts until he pays up. His parents have to get on a payment plan and then it takes time. This is important because in order to get any kind of a scholarship or to even enter another school, he needs these to graduate. Basketball is everything. I won't go into all the details. Those before me have done that. I want to compliment the effort and time that went into this presentation. We see so much of the humanity of a culture so different from most of ours. The filmmakers and the participants have put their hearts and souls for us to see. It's not always pretty, but they were willing to give that much of themselves. See this. It took me over twenty years to check it out. I am in awe.

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A very good Documentary

8/10
Author: ballardjonathan161 from United states
30 June 2014

A really good Documentary about two high school students becoming Professional Basketball Players. Its shot on a beta max camera but, Its the 90's you can't complain about it and there is a charm with it as well. The two high school students are likable and i fell for them when you see there success and failures in life also, there parents are Likable as well. I'm not to crazy about sports but, i did remember playing Basketball , i didn't play for any teams, i play it as a hobby and i remember being good at. OK getting off topic right there what i was saying is i'm not to crazy about sports but, the story really kept me invested and i care what was going on. my minor complains are that the film gets a little to long but, i can handle it and that i really think it would have been nice to see the two high school students name William and Arthur meet each other in the documentary which you don't see them come face to face in the documentary but, that's just a minor complain. Overall i Highly Highly Recommend seeing this documentary.

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