Hoop Dreams


1994 – Directed by Steve James

I did not see Hoop Dreams when it came out, and am left wondering how it must have felt to see it in the mid 90s. I’m kind of kicking myself, due to the fact that now, it is basically an historical document of a different era.

Obviously, a generation has passed, and our way of viewing the film is entirely different. William Gates’ son, William Gates, Jr., is now off to college at Furman University. Both families from the story have dealt with unbelievable loss. Neither Gates nor Arthur Agee made it into the NBA. Perhaps their lives are better than if they had not gone through the journey of this massive documentary: we can’t know, and never will.

There’s potentially so much to cover about this movie: I became really interested in both the back story around the documentary and the continuing stories.

This is well worth reading:

Essentially, it is amazing the movie ever got made.

Documentary film is probably my most loved genre, yet it is impossible to make a documentary that is not problematic, in terms of both the observer’s paradox, and in terms the constant battle documentarians face not patronize their subjects, no matter what tactics and strategies they use. James takes on these challenges with full awareness, if not full resolution, of these problems.

The movie looks amazingly good, with the new digital restoration (made possible by the Sundance Institute, UCLA Film & Television Archive, the Academy Film Archive and Kartemquin Films), considering that it is almost entirely made from late 80s/early 90s camcorder footage.

Next up:
El Norte, 1983, Directed by Gregory Nava


Flashback Film – Fight Club (1999)

Cover of "Fight Club (Two-Disc Collector'...

Cover via Amazon

SciFi Saturday!

I didn’t see Fight Club for a few years after it came out. I have this uneasy filmgoer relationship with Brad Pitt. When he is good he is quite good, but sometimes the projects he gets involved with are so meh. Brad in Tibet? Brad as Death? Yeah, I got this one mixed up with Meet Joe Black (which came out the previous year) and dismissed it as another pretty boy vehicle. Well I was so wrong on this one. I will not give any spoilers. Just see it if you have not. See it again if you have. I always notice extra details with each viewing.

Flashback Film – Breaking Away (1979)

Breaking Away

Image via Wikipedia

This is one of my all-time favorite films.

Breaking Away at IMDb and at Wikipedia

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it captures post-high school, friendship, dreams, ordinary lives, family dynamics, humor and spirit. Definitely one of the best, happiest sports films ever.

My favorite bit of dialogue.

Icon of the Day – Genre of the Day – Sports


One ball to represent all sports is tricky. And not all sports films can be represented with a ball (think boxing). And some of the more interesting balls don’t have a lot of movies around them (think golf ). But I like basketball. I like the look of a basketball. I like playing basketball. My love of it as a tangible thing overrides the fact that I usually have gotten more into boxing movies. But, regardless, for me, it stands for the rest of ’em.

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