June 12, 2005

HOOP DREAMS (THE CRITERION COLLECTION)
Steve James, Frederick Marx, and Peter Gilbert, 1994

8.5
back in the 1990's, a three-hour documentary about two inner-city kids, and their families, who's dream was to play in the NBA emerged onto the national scene. Hoop Dreams follows 14-year-olds Arthur Agee and William Gates over a period of 5 years, with all the twists and turns, excitement, failure, desolation associated with the disadvantaged in a capitalist system, and comes out as both a sobering and inspiring look at life in America. the filmmakers brilliantly navigate through all the different characters and their extended families, weaving with such ease that they actually manage to escape the difficult nature of a three-hour running time (especially for documentaries). the film never repeats itself and is filled with such real-life twists and turns, engaging and emotional characters that you will not miss those three hours when the end credits roll and will actually be clamoring for more. Gene Siskel was right -- this film screams for an update. the Criterion disc contains two commentaries - one by the filmmakers and a second one by Arthur and William. these promise to deliver. there was also talk of revving up again for a second feature. i don't know where it stands for now but hopefully it will come. desperately moving, this movie takes you from the heights of excitement down through the most desolate of places. i didn't know where it was going but was hoping that the filmmakers knew what they were doing. they did. a masterfully told wild ride.

ah, here's the exciting update i was talking about (scroll down to the fourth post -- spoiler warning, though).

Posted by Sam | 12:49 AM |