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Quantum Hoops (2007) - Movie Review
The Bottom Line
California Institute of Technology is ranked among the world's five top academic institutions, and its faculty and alumni hold an astonishing number of Nobel Prizes. So, it should come as no surprise that the school's emphasis is on academic--not athletic--achievements. Caltech offers no athletic scholarships and its basketball team ranks lowest in its league. But the team's story is the quirky subject of Rick Greenwald's captivating Quantum Hoops, a film that's as smart as its subjects--the team of players who continue to push their game although they consistently lose.
Guide Review - Quantum Hoops (2007) - Movie Review
Just about anyone who shows up for the first day of practice becomes a member of Caltech’s basketball team--whether or not they’ve had any previous basketball experience. Most years, most first year players are as fresh to the game as they are to the school. Caltech, ranked among the world’s five top academic institutions, doesn't credit applicants for their athletic prowess. Brain power is what counts, and no athletic scholarships are given.
Nevertheless, as we discover in Rick Greenwald’s excellent Quantum Hoops, those who turn out for the team consider their basketball experiences among their most important and memorable Caltech accomplishments.
That’s surprising--because the Caltech team holds its leagues records for the most games lost and longest losing streak.
In his voice over narration, David Duchovny explains that the odds against one team losing all its games are phenomenal. But Caltech is an institution that thrives pushing the odds--not only in its losing basketball streak, but in its alumni winning a record number of Nobel Prizes.
The Beavers (the team is named for "nature's engineers") may lose consistently, but they never give up. Players go without sleep so they can practice and still keep up academically--most carrying dual majors in heady subjects (like applied physics and economics, yet they're unassuming and down to earth. They're as charming as they are smart, and the film’s writer-director-producer-cameraman, Rick Greenwald, smartly lets their charm shine through as he follows them from locker room to laboratory, interviewing them about their athletic and academic goals.
Odds are you'll really root for these guys, especially as they approach the 2006 season's final game--and actually have a chance to win.
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