Hoop Dreams has been on my mind lately for several personal reasons: last weekend, BJ and I watched it on our drive up to Austin, Kevin Durant’s awesome MVP speech and shout out to his mom, I’m still bummed from the Rocket’s upset loss in Game 6, I’ve been reflecting on my first year teaching at an all boys Catholic school. Below is a clip from one of my favorite scenes, Sheila’s Graduation.
ROGER: To me the greatest value of film is that it helps us break out of our boxes of time and space, and empathize with other people — it lets us walk in someone else’s shoes. “Hoop Dreams,” made by Steve James, Frederick Marx and Peter Gilbert, gave me that gift.
MARTIN: Well, I think it’s a extraordinary film. I mean, you have real people becoming dramatic characters. You follow their lives like everyone’s life I think is a drama in a way. And the dedication of the filmmakers was remarkable. It reminds me Goes back to Flaherty where they live with the people and stay with them for years. Again, this is a new way, a new interesting look at story telling. And what’s great too is you begin to see the relationships in the family and how they change, the boy and his father.
ROGER: When we reviewed the movie on this show Gene Siskel said that the best scene for him was where the mother turns out to have been attending nursing school —
MARTIN: Oh, that was a great scene!
ROGER: — and she has her graduation. And he says, “That’s where the crowd should have been, not at the basketball game.”
MARTIN: Just catches you, that scene.
Paul D’amato’s Here Still Now series includes photos documenting the decline and demolishment of Chicago’s notorious housing project, Cabrini-Green, which is where William Gates, one of the main subjects of Hoop Dreams, also resided. The other photos in the series are equally touching, beautiful, and sincere.