Director: David Anspaugh
Writer: Angelo Pizzo
Starring: Gene Hackman, Barbara Hershey, Dennis Hopper
Reviewed By: Sammy The Blade
The heartwarming story of the small town in Indiana which is brought together by the heart and drive for success by an outsider brought in to coach the boy’s high school basketball team. A perfect example of the ever classic David vs. Goliath cinematic experience. Hoosiers is that feel good story from 1986 that even 27 years later still sends chills up my spine. This film never fails to put a smile on my face, and have me sitting on the edge of my seat; no matter how many times I have watched this movie and know the outcome. I fell in love with this movie the first time I saw it with my dad years ago and it still continues to amaze me, and sometimes it even seems as though it gets better each time it’s watched.
Gene Hackman (Coach Dale) is transplanted here in Hickory, being given a second chance at coaching after a long hiatus when after being disbanded from coaching after a controversial incident between him and a player. This story is about never giving up, never giving in and to always look ahead at life no matter what anyone says about you. Coach Dale (Hackman) was from the very start treated as the outsider by the people in this rural, blinder wearing community and was quickly questioned about his character and his coaching style, game plans, and practices. It takes a long time for him to win their trust but the more important thing he must win is his teams trust. It is either Coach Dale’s way, or the highway and he makes it apparent in this film on numerous occasions. Like a line in the movie goes…
Student:”It feels like we are in the army!”
Coach Dale: “You are. You’re in my army!”
Dennis Hopper’s character Shooter is my personal favorite, and really steals the show. Hopper played Shooter so well that he was nominated for best supporting actor award in 1986, and really make you think twice about giving a second chance to someone even if they are a run down, rock bottom living individual. The grass might not always be greener on the other side but it was a chance that Coach Dale was willing to take with Shooter, in order to help out the team as well as rekindle the relationship between Shooter and his son, who is on the basketball team.
There is a particular scene in this movie that has always stuck out to me and it is one of those lessons from Coach Dale to his team. Hickory travels to the “big city” to play a tournament game that is held in a BIG arena. The arena is MUCH bigger than the horse stable they play in back in Hickory. It is obvious that this group of high school kids who “have probably never seen a building taller than two stories” were extremely nervous. So what does Coach Dale do when they first get to the arena? He brings the team right out onto the court and has them measure the distance from the free throw line to the back board and from the rim to the floor. The point he makes to his team is that even though the arena is about 100 times bigger but the measurements of the court are all the same no matter where you play, and because of that there is nothing to fear.
This film is one of my all time favorite sport films, as well as one of my all time favorite films period. If I have watched it once, I have watched it probably three dozen times and it never grows old. Everyone always loves the underdog, the David vs. Goliath, and the stories about the guy that just isn’t supposed to win – and this film is all three wrapped up in one. Being based off a true story makes this film even better, and can really teach you and inspire you to never give up no matter how high the odds are stacked against you. This film gives me a smile every time I see certain scenes. It’s a film sure to excite even the most non-sport loving of movie fans, especially during those dramatic basketball games of Hickory VS their foes. If you haven’t seen this movie, you are in for a treat, and if you have seen this movie you know what the treat ist. This film gets a 3 pointer from me.
Buzzer Beater Line of the Movie:
Shooter (Hopper) addressing the team during a time out: “Now boys, don’t get caught watching the paint dry!”
– The Blade Abides -