Class 6. Legendary film critic Roger Ebert once labeled Hoop Dreams one of the best films of the 1990’s and “The Great American Documentary”. Ebert and many of his contemporaries wrote glowing and powerful reviews of the film over the past two decades. A recent review by Grace Wang (who was an Ebert correspondent) was published in 2009 and started with the following description of the movie: Hoop Dreams (1994) is more than a story. It observes, dissects, and records the life of two teenagers in inner-city Chicago, Arthur Agee and William Gates, with such breadth and depth that it becomes a microscopic examination of human lives. Yes, the teenagers are African-American. Yes, the place is in a particular kind of neighborhood with a particular kind of demographic. Yes, the times is late 80s and early 90s. Wang’s review ended with the following analysis: I think Hoop Dreams carries a special significance for those who are American….regardless of your nationality, the themes are universal: the struggle and the triumph, the pride and the insecurity, the hope and the desperation, and the love…love of family, love of friends, love of your team, love of pursuing one’s dream. That transcends. Source: https://etheriel.wordpress.com/2009/11/10/hoop-dreams-the-struggle-andthe-triumph/ This film review, and others like it, have effectively outlined the many ways that Hoop Dreams provides valuable lessons on the struggles of life in American society. The movie effectively documents poverty, drug use, domestic abuse, talent development, the American dream, the dashing of the American dream, bearing the burden of others’ American dream, family and friends living dreams through their children, parenting, friends, money, and dealing with adversity. Through a sport sociology lens, the film depicts a few of the myths that Eitzen outlines regarding achieving social mobility through sports participation. The documentary also allows us to get a personal and up close portrayal of the youth sport system and how talent was exploited by and developed in the inner cities in the US. The film also demonstrates White and upper class privilege, and the stratification of social classes through sports participation and access to education. For this discussion question, you will need to write your own film review that is similar to the review described above, but from a sport sociology perspective. You will choose THREE of the themes outlined (in bold) below to focus your review. Your review will include a 175 (minimum) word summary of each selected theme. Your “review” should include a) specific examples from the movie that demonstrate each of the three themes you selected and b) at least two definitions, statistics, or quotes from any of the other authors you read during the Class in Sports unit. In other words: 1. Craft your review around THREE of the themes (below) that were reinforced throughout the movie. 2. Use the THREE labels as “headings” in your review. 3. Include specific examples from the film that describe each theme. You can refer to the review linked above for examples of the types of evidence to include from the Hoop Dreams story to make your arguments. 4. Make sure to include at least TWO definitions or statistics from the readings for each of the three themes you selected to focus on in your review of the film. a. EXAMPLE 1: According to Eitzen (2016), only 3 in 10,000 high school seniors will get drafted by an NBA team. b. EXAMPLE 2: Chaplin (2016) suggests that “social change and mobility are based on individuals’ opportunities for introduction and exposure to knowledge and experience outside of their social class location that can change and shape their pursuit of interests and quality of life” (p. 358). (20 points; 500 word minimum)
POTENTIAL THEMES FOR A REVIEW OF THE FILM HOOP DREAMS *Hoop Dreams is about the importance of having life chances. *Hoop Dreams is about the myth that a professional sports career is possible. *Hoop Dreams is about the myth that sport provides a free education. *Hoop Dreams is about the myth that sport is a way out of poverty for racial minorities. *Hoop Dreams is about compromising academic pursuits at the expense of dreams of playing professional sports. *Hoop Dreams is about the success of a few reproducing the belief in social mobility to many. *Hoop Dreams is about the exploitation of racial minorities by those in more affluent and educated social classes.
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