Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Halfway House: Hoop Dreams

The universe has conspired against me this week in various ways to admit this shameful confession: I have never seen Hoop Dreams, the one that always makes Greatest Documentaries and Worst Oscar Snubs lists. I can't really explain this except that my ears are allergic to the sound of shoes squeaking on gymnasium floors, which is like the omnipresent soundtrack of basketball. And it's as proud and loud as anything John Williams or Philip Glass would ever write. I hate that sound.

Out of curiosity I skipped to the movie's halfway point... 85 minutes in. Some older men are discussing which schools are most "involved" and then a young basketball player talks about the points he scored while mimicking scouts watching him. Then he eats pizza (mmm) with fellow players.


I'd quote it since he seems like an endearing character, this #41, but his accent is halfway impenetrable to me... probably one of those things where if I was watching the whole movie I'd be able to pick it up without a problem (like Trainspotting fr'example). I have only a vague clue what's going on but there does seem to be a lot going on and organically so.

I feel guilt about never having seen this. You can't see everything but you should obviously see the canon entries of each genre. Have you seen Hoop Dreams? And, if you have, are you horrified at my negligence? Berate me in the comments or join in the sheepish guilt.
*

14 comments:

JA said...

"HORRIFIED" is the word, but it needs all the caps there to get across the entire scope of the sentiment.

Robert said...

One of the writers at the AV Club recently did a post on how they shamefully hadn't seen Hoop Dreams. Their reason was the same as mine (though I ended up seeing it finally about a year ago), that it's an awfully long movie, especially if you're not one for Basketball.

It is absolutely worth the time. Hoop Dreams is phenomenal movie that will have your rapt attention the whole way through.

Nick M. said...

Hoops Dreams is essential. It's really a shame that you did not post this earlier in the week, since it was screened--with director/editor Steve James in attendance--at the IFC Center just two days ago (perhaps that is even what prompted this post).

Alex in Movieland said...

sorry, this is OT:

- Nathaniel, did you read about the leading campaign for Maggie Gyllenhaal? you saw the movie. what are her chances?

- and how about that Brother move, with Jake & Natalie in supporting :))

joy said...

Since i have no shame, i'll admit that i just added it on my instant queue four days ago and it's currently No.54. I'm gonna move it up in top 30 now.

Anonymous said...

A definitive movie, regardless of the genre. Please let us know your thoughts if/when you get around to seeing it.

One of the most humane films I've ever seen.

-Vurt

bbats said...

Do it.

Goran said...

Should I be more ashamed or less ashamed?

I *have* seen Hoop Dreams. But I *was* bored sh*tless. Sure, the social context was what it was all about, but it *was* still three hours of basketball.

Christine said...

You've seen "The Gleaners and I" but not "Hoop Dreams"? That being said, Agnès Varda makes everthing seem super cool, even scavenging.

Glenn said...

Hoop Dreams is a masterpiece. Perhaps the best film of the 1990s (I'm with Ebert on that one) and as I commented on Jason's blog entry, the scene with the graduation will have you bawling.

NATHANIEL R said...

Christine. I *LOVE* The Gleaners and I. Didn't you?

Bing147 said...

You really do need to see it. Its fantastic.

Brian Owens said...

To really be able to converse about the best documentaries ever made, you really do need to see this. Basketball is really secondary to the individual's stories.

Christine said...

Yes! The Gleaners and I is great. Also, Hoop Dreams is a ground-breaking documentary, but I liked Steve James' later film, Stevie, better. Well "liked" in the sense that I was teary, morally-conflicted, wreck at the end of it.