Saturday, February 21, 2015

Hoop Dreams (1994)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

Hoop Dreams is a movie about two teens in the Chicago area that want to play in the NBA. Their names are Arthur Agee and William Gates. Both have talent and both get offers from a local prep school, St. Joseph’s. Gates is able to get the money to pay for it since he seems to have more talent and does better academically. Agee is kicked out and sent back to a school closer to his house. Ironically, Gates damages his knee and never really recovers while Agee ends up taking his school to the championships. In the end, neither really goes on to the NBA, although both are able to go to college.

I first saw this movie all the way back in 1994 or 1995 when it first came out. It was part of this group event and we were all dragged to see it. I think of all of the people there, I was the one that least resembled a sports fan. I’ve since grown a little more tolerant of sports, but I don’t think I’d be willing to sit through this movie again. It’s three hours in length, which seemed way too excessive at the time. It covered a span of about six years, but I just don’t have the patience to sit through three hours of a narrator saying, “And we see Author trying for a jump shot. His entire athletic career hangs on this one shot…”

Also, the movie ends up coming across as a rich kid/poor kid story, even though both come from the projects and both have a full load of problems. Both have to face insurmountable odds to get to the next level. It’s just a matter of how much they want it and how much effort they’re willing to put into it. I remember feeling no connection to either of them. What really bothered me at the time was how everyone kept saying how this movie was all inspirational and everything. I just didn’t get it.

I think this review represents the problem with movie reviews. Most of how you feel about a movie is going to be based on what you bring to it. Thus, most people are able to accurately judge how they’ll like a movie by the coming attractions and what friends have to say about it. I went into the theater not wanting to see this movie at all. (Even if I had wanted to see it, I probably still wouldn’t have given it more than two stars.) I think that you’ll know whether or not you want to see Hoop Dreams. The best I can do is to boil it down to the points that I think are important.

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