Robert Bell III
Robert Bell III
How much do you want it? The common plot of a sports film right? How much do you want it and how far will you go? It's actually a great theme for near any movie. Especially when the protagonist has life itself, seemingly stacked against them. Everyone wants to root for the underdog... and having no support system, and still going out and doing whatever it takes - will always please a crowd. Especially within the world of sports. It all comes down to determination with a side order of physical grit. Robert Bell remembers this and "Hoop" is all the better for it. Uncomplicated and to the point. You don't need to be a huge sports fan to love a good sports movie. True words.
In this particular film? Since being a very young kid, Hoop Carter has dreamed of playing basketball. Much like his father, who he's never met, and his brother Dean - who received an injury that killed his career. It was his only dream, and one that was definitely not supported by his mother. Hoop grows a little, and tries out for a prestigious team and essentially, that's what this film is about. His ambitions of greatness without the help of his family, save maybe his brother. Even his girlfriend has her doubts and urges Hoop to give up and face reality. This isn't done out of jealousy or hate, rather as a reminder that a time comes when you must leave childhood things behind. For most of us, adulthood is the killer of so many dreams. But not always and because of that, some of us keep fighting the good fight until the bitter end. How does it all go for Hoop? You'll just have to see for yourself.
"Hoop" is a low budget film and as such, you simply can't expect a ten million dollar production. Yet Robert Bell has wisely setup and shot his film, knowing full well what was doable and what would have been impossible. It shows, and allows "Hoop" to present itself in the best possible way. With that written however, "Hoop" does suffer a few production and post production setbacks. If I were to guess? Robert Bell was a semi-newcomer to the industry. But there is nothing here that prevents the story from being told, and entertaining it's viewers as it does so. There's definitely talent here, even if a little raw.
First, and what I noticed most, was the uneven audio. I really had to keep my finger on the volume because the dialog would come in quiet, then the sound effects/old TV show clips, would come blasting through my speakers. Of all the things that kept me from being totally immersed in this film, the audio was it. With that said, there were a load of montage type sequences. Perhaps a little more than was needed. Sometimes, "Hoop" felt more like a motivational commercial or music video. This isn't necessarily all bad, it just added a little more length than was actually needed.
Speaking of length, a lot of the shots hung a little longer than they probably should have. A perfect example would be of Hoop doing pushups. Same shot, up and down for like... an entire minute. Doesn't seem like a lot, but this happened a lot during the movie. In truth, "Hoop" probably could have been told in around a half hour or so. I also noticed that due to the color grade, everyone had a green, sickly tint to them. Weird, when you consider that looking sick is not very sport movie-ish. I imagine it was the camera used, combined with ramping up the saturation. But I could be wrong.
At the end of the day? My technical bitching is really just nit-picking. The average Joe probably won't notice a lot of this, especially if not watching on a huge screen. There's a lot of good stuff here, a lot of real stuff - such as Hoop's relationship with his girlfriend and family. Robert Bell and his troupe deliver a real world, gritty sports film. This isn't a Disney type movie - and that's part of the charm. Definitely above average and in my humble opinion, a solid three out of five stars.