I respect viewers feeling one movie is better crafted or enjoying one over the other. However, I believe these are incorrect criteria to use when voting. Since the loser will never be seen by future generations, I think the better criterion is the relative importance of each movie to the history of cinema, and to society at large.
This is why Matrix vs Hoop Dreams is such a tough pick. Cinema wise, Matrix introduced "bullet time" and culturally, it is an early exploration of Plato's cave in the internet age. Hoop Dreams is a model for future film makers of a perfectly constructed documentary. AArgh. So tough!
The Matrix is amazing in many ways and has one of those scenes that I can't wait to see whenever it comes on TV (Neo stopping the bullets). But I can't vote against Hoop Dreams. I remember Siskel & Ebert championing it back in 1994, and seeing it at the local one-screen indie movie theater. A great film by a great filmmaker, Plus it's the only documentary. I hope it makes it to the next round.
The Matrix taught me that there is no spoon. After seeing the movie the way I looked at film and my life changed forever. What more can you want from a film. The Matrix should be going deep into this tourney.
Nothing personal to Mr. James, but...actually, yes, it's very personal. I dutifully sat out the first round and abstained from voting in the Hoop Dreams/Thin Red Line match-up since I had not caught up with James' monster of a documentary, only to see my most beloved ethereal war film (the superior war film of '98) get erased from the canon forever. In the words of Winston Duke's M'Baku, "We will not have it." There must be consequences. Someone must pay.
(For the record, yes, I did catch up with Hoop Dreams before voting. It is immaculate.)
The Matrix, that is all!
This shouldn’t even be that close. Hoop Dreams is a towering achievement and maybe the best documentary of the 90s while the Matrix is not only not the best action movie of the 90s ( Hard Boiled), it’s the third best Keanu Reeves action movie behind Point Break and John Wick. Give me Hoop Dreams ten times over
The Matrix so utterly and completely broke my brain when I was 10 that to this day when I think about The Matrix I more often than not get little tingly goosebumps.
I have seen it about 20 times, diminishing returns each time. But even the last time I watched it, about a year ago,I loved it quite a lot.
Hoop Dreams, on the other hand, I have seen 3 times. Each time loving it more and more. And I only relatively recently discovered it. So comparing these 2 films is ridiculous.
But I am voting Hoop Dreams. It is a worthy stand in for other great 90s Documentaries such as Crumb and Hearts of Darkness, which weren't represented here, and may be the best of the bunch. Also, its aged more profoundly while giving us a more rich look at the atmosphere of the 1990s. Its the quickest moving 3 hour documentary I've seen. And Basketball is the best sport to boot.
Anyone else out there in Filmspotting nation think that The Matrix is wildly overrated? I mean, come on Sean the idea it will ever eclipse Goodfellas is crazy! :) Or am I all alone? In any case one doesn't need to criticise the Wachowskis' film to justify voting for Hoop Dreams. Steve James' doc is one of the best. Hailing from the UK I've not seen any basketball to speak of but Dreams is no less gripping because of that, because the story it tell about these two kids transcends their sporting aspirations. Is it talking down to the genre to say I found this film as enthralling as fictional cinema? Maybe so, I know there are many more great docs out there which I need to see, but I know that Hoop Dreams is a great film period.
The Matrix is an insanely fun action movie that features maybe the best use of Keanue Reeves bland acting style ever. And Hoop Dreams is probably one of the most important movies about America ever made. This isn't even close. Hoop Dreams.
By the way, I'm from Royal Oak, MI. I know y'all like to include stuff like that. :-)
I can't shake the feeling that The Matrix has to win the whole shebang, and it's mostly because of Chuck Klosterman. In episode #600 with Chuck about which movies will be remembered in the future, he mentions The Matrix, and that answer has continued to seem more and more correct.
Hear me out.
It was a huge box office success, it was a critical darling, the technology used in filming it was ground breaking in so many ways, the subject matter continues to be ever more prescient in how we define our own existence (even the term red pill is gaining new life today, 19 years after it came out), and its creators are two transgender women who, by their very existence, are revolutionary and are historically important even if just for that. 20 years later, it is only growing in its ability to define the very nature of identity in a new millennium.
So given all of those things, it just feels like the movie that will ultimately have mattered the most to our world 30 years from now won't be Fargo or Goodfellas or Pulp Fiction -- those almost seem silly compared to the truly relevant piece of post-modern art that is The Matrix.
Plus, "I know kung-fu" is just great writing.