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Hoop Dreams [Import]

William Gates , Arthur Agee , Steve James    PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
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This completely absorbing three-hour documentary follows the lives of two inner-city African American teenage basketball prodigies as they move through high school with long-shot dreams of the NBA, superstardom, and an escape from the ghetto. Taking cues from such works as Michael Apted's 35 Up, director Steve James and associates shot more than 250 hours of footage, spanning more than six years, and their completed work actually moves like an edge-of-the-seat drama, so brimming with tension, plot twists, successes, and tragedies that its length--170 minutes--is never an issue. Yet, what makes the film more impressive is how James moves his scope beyond a competitive sports drama (although the movie has plenty of terrific, nail-biting basketball footage) and addresses complex social issues, creating a scathing social commentary about class privilege and racial division. The film opens by introducing William Gates and Arthur Agee, two Chicago hopefuls, as they are being courted and recruited by various high schools to play ball, and continues until the pair are college freshmen. James allows the audience the experience of not only watching their journeys and daily routines (it's a sobering portrait of inner-city life), but also witnessing their maturation. Each takes a separate path along the way, stumbling over several obstacles (William suffers injuries, Arthur fails to meet his coach's high expectations); but James takes particular care to stress the importance and strong commitment of each character's family along the way, giving the film a essential center. The parents and siblings emerge with as much depth and complexity as the two main "characters," and turn Hoop Dreams into an unforgettable film experience. --Dave McCoy

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Yeah, they are Right...it's That Good ! March 1 2013
This movie is slow, it takes time to develop as it plots its way though....Welcome to the magic of movie making ladies & Gentleman...seriously, if social interest stories and the Human Spirit is your thing in a movie...this is timeless and a fantastic pick; THE Quintessential Doc of last 30 plus Yrs and ONE of the 1st docs to actually become a "Cross Over" hit.....and become marketable...
from what i hear the story to fund it and get it released, in it self is as a compelling story.
This IS a Movie of a Different time....a time without Reality TV Sensationalism...it's just Real life...in the hyper sensitive stakes of inner city life in the US. The Living conditions and Pit falls may have gotten better, and in ways gotten worse but the situation still applies and is just as relevant.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Still brings tears to the eyes after 10 years June 27 2004
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
When this movie first came out 10 years ago, I remembered sitting for several minutes in the theater as the credits were rolling, collecting myself. I never cry in movie theaters. And this movie moved me to bawl like a child. To think about the ups and downs, the raw enthusiasm of the young boys when they first started chasing their hoop dreams, the rough realities that they both faced without consistent fatherhood, without steady incomes, without one advantage in their lives, still brings tears to my eyes. This was a brilliant movie that moved public discourse about the importance of steady parenting, the need for educational and employment opportunities in all corners of America, the costs associated with our obsession for celebrity athletes, and the limitations of athletics as a vehicle for moving young men from poverty to wealth. Because of the openness of the families being documented, and because the film's editors and director were able to cut to the core of human needs and desires, this film broke through cultural barriers, bridged gaps in our understanding of one another, and helped us to understand that every life has value, every person has a story to tell, and every child has the right and the power to dream. It also helps us to understand that it is not always the content of character or talent that enable these children to achieve their dreams. It is also privilege, opportunities, and the right guiding hands. And without these, dreams become melancholy memories of something that could have been, only if...
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest Feb. 26 2004
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
In my opinion, being a big fan of the genre, Hoop Dreams stands as one of the greatest nonfiction works of film, most probably the most important movie of any genre made in the last 35 years and a serious contender for the somewhat silly "greatest movie of all time" credential, comparing favorably with such cultural fixtures as Citizen Kane. I'm not a sport fan whatsoever, I dont know anything about basketball, and my life has been about as different from the two kids in the film as possible. When I first saw this movie about ten years ago I was bracing myself for some blaxploitation movie. I have since watched it at least a half a dozen times since, and I never fail to be awed by the incredible scope and pathos of this film. On the surface, the movie is about basketball, poverty, aspiration, frailty, loss, hope, marginalization, ghetto life, and youth. When put together over the most engaging 3 hours I have ever had, the film constructs a monumental testament to the human experience. Brilliant in its themes, virtually flawless in its execution, stunningly humane in its treatment of its subjects, Hoop Dreams is big, important, and excellent. Like other true greats, its greatness is often overstated, but it's the type of movie that if you have half a brain and half a heart, you will be seized by the brilliance dripping from every pixel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars very tight Documentary Jan. 19 2004
I went to see this Film at the Movies&it was very moving.it showed two Cats who were going for the Gold&leaving nothing for chance. this is a documentary that shows about How hard Cats work at doing what they want to do.still a very Moving Picture.
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Format:VHS Tape
When this film was released, it was a monumental achievement in documenting a person's life. Starting from when the two kids were in High School through their first year in college, you care about them. In spite of their humble surroundings, they managed to survive. Many critics, including Ebert & Siskel called this movie the best documentary ever made. But the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences didn't even give the film it's due. That's right, it was never nominated for an Oscar!! And that's the saddest story of them all. This outstanding work was never given the proper credit. Without question, there should have been some investigation about this. It is the best documentary of all time!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars One word only: MASTERPIECE! May 10 2003
By Laz2
Format:VHS Tape
The best documentary ever made. More than a true story, Hoop Dreams is simply what anyone could describe as a masterpiece. Not only the six years of work with the two characters and their family show the long and hard path to follow one's dream, it also takes us far from any clichés and stereotypes we inherit from the Press. A real lesson for life itself! MUST BE SEEN!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Long, but realistic, truthful, and good. April 9 2003
Format:VHS Tape
'Hoop Dreams' is not the most exciting documentary, but it is one of the most truthful in showing the struggle for become rich and famous. It is the real-life story of two black kids trying to make it in the NBA. Along the way, they show people who have failed, such as Gates' brother. Its very sad and depressing and does not have a happy ending.
But viewers must understand it is a realitic movie. This is what happens 99.99999 percent of the time.
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