What You Need To Know:
(NA, LL, V, A, D, C) Materialistic worldview; 10 obscenities & several exclamatory profanities; off screen violence (wife abuse) & vicious anti-white rap song; illegitimate children live with unmarried parents; alcohol use; drug dealing & use implied; and, father returns to family after experiencing religious turnaround.
HOOP DREAMS is a documentary that does what the medium should do, it tells a story with little commentary, letting the audience be the judge. The film begins in 1987 and chronicles the lives of two inter-city African-American boys from age 14 to 18 as they each strive to reach their dreams of playing for the NBA. William Gates and Arthur Agee come from supportive families and show early promise in grade school where a scout for the prestigious St. Joseph prep school offers each young man partial scholarships. Told in the almost claustrophobic close-ups, the film quickly leads the audience to cheer for these two young men and their families. This is a story as much about their home life as it is about the game and the coaches that shape their young lives.
The main down-side to this documentary is the focus of these young men. Basketball and the hope of fame and a great deal of money is their only goal. If they are injured or if they play poorly, they have nothing. The idea that going to school might help provide a real future never seems to enter their minds, or anyone else’s for that matter. Someone, somewhere along the way, should have thought to tell them that the “system” could work for them if only they would change their focus from the distorted “fortune and glory” viewpoint that seems to prevail. Also, language, bigotry and drug use mar the movie.