Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Great American Documentary -- Roger Ebert

Hoop Dreams, which Ebert claims as the best movie of the 90's, observed its 15 anniversary this past Wednesday at the Gene Siskel Center. I remember watching it when it first came out. I was very eager to because I had become a huge basketball fan by that time. I had elevated basketball to mythical proportion. I was obsessed with street ball, with high school basketball, professional basketball (but for some reason not college basketball).

I weaved what I heard, saw, and experienced into epic battles of skills, talents, and personalities. My teammates and I became larger-than-life characters struggling to work together to triumph over common enemies. In the professional arena, the sudden retirement of Michael Jordan left a power vaccuum to be filled by those all-stars who until then had been denied championship glory by number 23.

Such was my state of mind when I watched Hoop Dreams as a 14-15 year-old. Although I felt it was long, I knew right away it was a tremendous film. During the same time, I began to develop a social consciousness, so I was keenly aware of the social context this story took place under. I didn't realize it then, but perhaps this movie served as a companion piece to Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, the most important novel I read in high school.

These are the thoughts triggered by Ebert's blog post about Hoop Dreams. I feel as if I just ran into a good friend I haven't seen in a long time.

For Ebert's post, here.

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