What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this documentary film features a lot of intense discussion by two young men about their experiences with parental separation and divorce, familial drug use, extreme poverty, sport-related injury, urban blight and violence, as well as teen pregnancy, all while they are trying to earn college basketball scholarships.
What's the story?
HOOP DREAMS follows the trials and tribulations of two young black basketball standouts from Chicago. Following the boys from eight grade through their senior year in high school, director Steve James offers an intense look at the often depressing situation facing many young people who live in inner cities: parents, siblings, and friends all struggling with vastly limited opportunities, potentially fatal temptations, and overwhelmingly poor odds. That William Gates and Arthur Agee are gifted athletes provides them with the potential to avoid the predicaments of those they love by winning basketball scholarships to college--and maybe, just maybe, a ticket to the NBA.
Is it any good?
James is careful to highlight the many obstacles standing in Gates and Agee's way: from corner drug dealers to test scores, from tuition payments at ritzy private schools to parental desertion. Therein lies this film's greatest strength: it is pragmatic before it is hopeful. Rather than providing viewers with a candy-coated confection of "local boy makes good," Hoop Dreams illustrates how nearly impossible it is for such a story to even take place--and frequently as a result of things completely out of the boys' control. The result is a searing portrait of inner city life in America, and the extraordinary, downright unfair expectations placed on the shoulders of many young black athletes.
Hoop Dreams painstakingly tempers the romanticism characteristic high school athletes by paying special attention to the many roadblocks that stand in the way of Gates' and Agee's dreams. This movie provides an excellent way for families to talk about issues as lofty as race and class in urban America, but also for things that hit closer to home like long-term goals, teen sex and drug use, and getting good grades.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the experiences of William Gates and Arthur Agee both on and off the high school basketball court. How are William and Arthur's high school experiences different? How are they the same? How do their family environments both help and hurt each of them? Why do other young people -– particularly young black men –- find themselves in similar situations? What do you think about the boys' long-term goals? What would you have done differently? How are their predicaments similar and different to other children in inner cities across the United States?
|Theatrical release date:||January 1, 1994|
|DVD release date:||May 10, 2005|
|Cast:||Arthur Agee, Emma Gates, William Gates|
|Topics:||Sports and martial arts|
|Run time:||171 minutes|
|MPAA explanation:||language, some drug content, and some sexual references.|