Hoop Dreams 1994 ★★★

The story of this movie is as fascinating as the story within it. Originally meant to be a half an hour documentary, it evolved into a 5-year project, eventually clocking in at almost 3 hours, and somehow still garnering widespread acclaim. (When it didn’t win the Oscar, a public outcry forced the Academy to revisit the selection process for future years.)

Frankly, I was exhausted by Hoop dreams. It never truly grasped me and with its slow pace, it felt at times like a reality show – something that you put on in the background and pay only limited amount of attention. But it did prompt a lot of research during and after the movie, including the fascinating 10- and 15-year retrospectives.

My favourite quote was “as soon as you don’t tighten one screw, everything falls apart,” when William reflected on the inordinate amount of pressure he was under to succeed. Last year, in Chicago, a friend drove me around and at some point stopped and exclaimed, proudly, “This is where Cabrini–Green used to be.” I wish I knew of this movie then.

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