Hoop Dreams Is a Ghost Story Set in a Vanished World

Groundbreaking Documentary Is Even More Powerful Today


Good Evening Charles,

Yet again, you and I come together on taste. Good taste, TYVM. Indeed, I saw " Hoop Dreams" 18+ years ago on video with a young woman at my place. I was jarred. It was a terrific documentary. It hit home largely because a brother of mine attended St. Joseph's HS in Westchester, IL. The school is about 5 miles from where I grew up. It was incredibly sad to read of the fates of two of the family members of William & Arthur in the wake of the release of this film. That's shocking and tragic.

I subsequently have seen two other fine documentaries by Steve James. I have now concluded that he is America's greatest living documentary film maker. Please view "Stevie" and "The Interrupters". Wow!

I believe Steve James is based in Chicago. This film, "Hoop Dreams" is a masterpiece.
Great movie from my teenage years. One point though: even if the Charles Taylor Homes themselves are gone, the style of building is alive and populated (can't really say 'alive and well') elsewhere; so for me they are not historic. I did home visits throughout Brooklyn for several years in the late 2000s and crossed many a vacant courtyard, entered though broken and unstaffed security doors, went up many a rickety elevator, entered many a dingy unit (some kept meticulously clean and tidy, some a real mess). Most of those families are still there.
And lest anyone think Brooklyn is gentrified, I'm talking about outer Brooklyn - East New York, Flatbush, Brownsville, Sheepshead and beyond. No Starbucks there and a ton of streetside churches. (Yes I know this is a tangent)
If you think that world has vanished, you should probably visit Chicago sometime. Just because they knocked down the projects doesn't mean they got rid of the ghetto.

Charles, instead of wishful thinking about new urbanism, why don't you look at the future right before you – Cities like San Francisco where young high-value knowledge workers drive-up land value, to create vital, productive hubs -- while the suburbs in fact RETAIN their charm for people who have "been-there-done that" with food, arts, bars and tiny dwellings.

The reason is that in an era of globalism, there is little room for the tired social motifs you keep trying to re-draw. You keep hoping for "New Paris," when in fact all you'll get is "Next Detroit."
Can't tell if @5 is trolling or serious about San Francisco being a success story of contemporary urbanism.
@4 but in knocking down the projects they are attempting to move the ghetto further and further from the core of city, which is happening.

There are still as many (or more) poor people in Chicago, but there is way less publicly subsidized housing for them to live it, which makes for a significantly different city.