Sunday, January 15, 2012

Hoosiers (1986)

Synopsis: Hometown hayseed Hoosier hoopsters hustle!

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “It’s 1951 in Hickory, Indiana – a place that takes its basketball as seriously as its religion. Into this tiny town strolls Norman Dale (GENE HACKMAN), a once-hailed, now-failed college coach taking up the unenviable task of coaching Hickory High’s eight-man hoop squad.”

What Did I Learn?: Sooner or later, the town drunk will always have a relapse and let you down.

Really?: Not exactly a “Really?”, but it’s strange that a Hollywood film would set a sports film in the early 1950s and ask the audience to root for a bunch of all-white farm boys against a racially integrated Indianapolis team with a black coach. (And our heroes only need a good pep talk in order to outplay a team that averages over six feet tall!)  

Rating: Hoosiers is an excellent film. It’s a period movie that feels real and authentic (without resorting to easy nostalgia like Top-40 hits from the early ‘50s), but anyone who has ever played competitive sports, managed an enterprise under difficult circumstances, or even received a second chance will easily relate to these characters. My only complaint would be that most of the dramatic tension is resolved by the third act, so we’re pretty much left with a lot of “we gotta win this game” basketball action. 9/10 stars.

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