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This is an excellent compilation, and was sort of trippy and nostalgiac watching them again since it was actually the acclaim from Siskel and Ebert that got me and my buddy pumped on seeing this film.It's especially excellent if you are unaware of the controversy that surrounded its Oscar snub.
It features the subjects of the film, Arthur Agee and William Gates.
It's presented in an interesting way, with Arthur coming from the front right speaker, and William from the left.
While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality. Dialogue is strong and articulate, the music used sounds good, and if it is hard to hear at times it's only because of the conditions the segment was shot in.
It actually sounds a lot better than I thought it would and in this regard it does beat out a VHS.
6/10 Considering this is a bigger release from Criterion (a well known documentary that actually did pretty well, licenced from a bigger studio, New Line, and considered by many one of the best films of the 90's) the selection of supplements put together here is rather disappointing.
I would have hoped for a two-disc set, but nope, it's a single disc.In theaters it was presented in a widescreen ratio of 1.85:1.For this release, though, Criterion is presenting it in the format it was originally shot, which presents more information on the top and bottom, and is also the ratio the filmmakers prefer.While this is definitely the best the film has looked, it has a few issues, the big one being the fact its interlaced.This of course presents all sorts of issues, including ghosting and jagged edges just to name a few.Both talk about what it was like being followed around, and even touch on how the film, after its release, has changed their lives (they get recognized constantly.) They both talk about themselves currently and also appear to have no regrets about not making the NBA.And another wonderful thing is they constantly expand on scenes in the film, getting into more detail about their families and their relationships with them (William talking more about his father is a great little addition, as he ends up adding more to that captured reunion.) Some scenes actually come off differently after listening to the commentary.And since the film is 3 hours long that doesn't leave much room for supplements. The big supplements are the two audio commentaries.I will be honest straight out and say I did not listen to the entirety of either one, as that pretty much means I would have spent 9 hours in total on the film and unfortunately just didn't have the time, I'm sorry to say.The first one is by the filmmakers, Peter Gilbert, Steve James, and Frederick Marx.This of course goes heavily over the making of the film, starting with the intent (which apparently was just a short documentary, a half hour, that get shown on PBS if they got lucky) but ended up growing and growing and growing until they had pretty much a whole story. This movie is a great movie but let's face it, they were lucky they got what they did, and it's interesting to hear, especially in retrospect, how they weren't even sure they were following the right kids (well, they really questioned whether they should be following Arthur, but the scout assured them he was definitely something.) It was also nice hearing some of the back stories and anecdotes that weren't captured on film.