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One of the most rousingly enjoyable sports movies ever made, this small-town drama tells the story of the Hickory Huskers, an underdog basketball team from a tiny Indiana high school that makes it all the way to the state ... more »
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D. Mikels | Skunk Holler | 03/28/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From the opening scenes of this film--majestic shots of a car traveling the rural midwest on a crisp autumn morning--HOOSIERS serves notice to the viewer that he or she is in for a wonderful movie experience. Set in a tiny Indiana town half a century ago, HOOSIERS captures the look and feel of rural Americana, of a hardworking people with a single commonality: their love for basketball. The pure innocence of this film, innocence long lost over the subsequent decades, is magical.Gene Hackman portrays Coach Norman Dale, an outsider who comes to basketball-crazy Hickory, Indiana, to coach the high school team. Haunted by mistakes made in his past, Dale is eager for the second chance he has been given. Immediately, his no-nonsense, stress-the-fundamentals coaching philosophy puts him at odds with the town, yet Dale refuses to compromise his principles. He survives--barely--a petition for his ouster, and the rest of the movie warmly portrays the town of Hickory and its high school basketball team coming together, a team that makes a magical run through the Indiana State Tournament.Barbara Hershey as Myra Fleener, Hickory's assistant principal, and Sheb Wooley as superintendent/principal Cletus--the man who hires Dale--are solid. Yet Dennis Hopper gives the best performance as Wilbur "Shooter" Flatch. Shooter, a former great player himself and father of one of the boys on Coach Dale's team, is the town drunk; despite his alcoholism, his knowledge of the game is immense, and Dale enlists his aid. The reformation of this character--the feeling and depth that Hopper gives this role--is exceptional.Director David Anspaugh gives us a sensational "feel good" movie, augmented by Jerry Goldsmith's powerful musical score. HOOSIERS tells a beautiful story, so magical in its depiction you'll be cheering from your chair. Highly recommended."
MUCH MORE THAN GREATEST SPORTS MOVIE OF ALL TIME!
Ronald Zane McCann | Harts Creek, West Virginia, United States | 02/11/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It is purely coincidental that the backdrop for this movie happens to be high school basketball or sports of any kind: This is a genuinely great movie, leaving the audience feeling good about themselves and willing to search for a second chance at success in life, no matter how great the failure. A one-word description of the movie? REDEMPTION. This theme runs throughout, i.e., a second chance...for the town drunk, for the coach, for the wannabe assistant coach, for the old-maid school teacher, for the team, for Jimmy Chitwood, for the drunk's son, for Strap, for the town, for the principal, for the players who quit, for the equipment manager, for the school bus...with the movie on video, you now have a second chance to watch and enjoy this great movie! It is worth the redemption price! If you already have seen it, after reading this review you may see it through a different perspective; if you have not seen it, I know you will thoroughly enjoy it, over and over again. Hoosiers is not just my favorite sports movie, it is my favorite movie of all time. The movie truly is about redemption, about people failing and being given a second chance. Some handle it better than others, but it cuts a true slice out of life in the 1950s and the 2000s! We should all get that kind of second chance! The best part is, we do. Those who succeeded in Hoosiers accepted their second chance and made something of it. I watch this movie any time that life hands me a setback or any time that I fail or fall. It is a better pick-me-up than any anti-depressant. So, wipe your slate clean and watch Hoosiers again for the first time!"
A beautiful moment in time captured in a truly beautiful fil
Kevin Woodward | Soquel, CA United States | 12/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was born in Gary, Indiana in 1953, the year before tiny Milan High captured the Indiana State High School Basketball Championship. As most boys who grew up in Indiana, this Cinderella tale was a familiar one to me -- and the true story this film was based on.
Last year, in preparation of attending the NCAA Women's Final Four in Indianapolis with my 11-year-old daughter, I purchased this Collector's Edition DVD to share with her. Although today I live a world away in the heart of Silicon Valley, I will forever remember the part of my childhood that was Hoosier Hysteria.
Of what it was like to play in the annual state tourney, when every school, no matter how big or small, was thrown together into the same fire and born again every March whether their regular-season record was 25-0 or 0-25. Single elimination, do or die, winner take all.
The excitement and hype leading up to the opening games of the first-round Sectional ... of the pride and joy that engulfed the entire communities of the 64 winners who advanced to the Regional ... and then, for a god-like 16 teams, the Semistate ... and ultimately, the originally named Final Four. I can't begin to describe it for you, but this film comes close, really close.
My daughter has played basketball since she was in the third grade, and competes today on a traveling AAU team. She is 10 times the player I ever was at her age, but it is impossible for her to imagine a world without women professional athletes, cell phones or the Internet. And whenever I would tell her about what basketball was -- and still is -- like in Indiana, she would roll her eyes.
Fortunately, I had this film to show her. And a few months later, she experienced the real thing, making the pilgrimage with me down the two-lane backroad blacktops to Milan, where we met the caretaker of the 1954 Milan Museum, Roselyn McKittrick, and later that day, dined with Bobby Plump himself, known as Bobby Chitwood in the film.
I have a photograph of my daughter wearing a red Hickory High -- the fictional school in the film representing Milan -- jersey, holding the ball that Bobby arched high into the Butler Fieldhouse sky that fine and glorious day more than 50 years ago and into history.
This is a rare film in that it somehow captures that special time, that place, that joy. How and why does not matter, only that it does. The tears that falll whenever I watch it are proof enough of that.
This Collector's Edition compliments the original release by including recent interviews with Bobby, the two writer-producers who (as did I) attended Indiana University in the early 1970s, some deleted scenes that shed new light on the storyline, even a glorious B&W archived copy of the 1954 state championship game in its entirety.
A beautiful moment in time captured in a truly beautiful film.
Or, as my daughter later remarked to me, "You know Dad, basketball really is different in Indiana.""
Yep, this is how it was...
John M Flora | Brookland, AR United States | 10/05/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Maybe it's because we're the smallest state west of the Alleghenies or maybe we just have this thing about Indiana, but Hoosiers (and we can't understand why that term is a perjorative for some people) have an inordinate pride in their home state.
So, small wonder that the movie Hoosiers is a staple in every Indiana video collection.
This is your classic David vs. Goliath tale based on a true story that's at the core of Indiana basketball mythology - the magic year back in the early 1950s (can't remember the exact season) in which tiny Milan (pronounced MILE-un, not like the city in Italy) in southern Indiana went all the way to the Indiana State High School Basketball Finals and emerged state champ.
I grew up in small town Indiana in the '50s. The characters, the places, the fervor surrounding the local basketball team are instantly recognizable and dead-on. These are my people and my places and the filmmakers got it exactly right.
The opening scenes showing Gene Hackman driving through the Indiana countryside probably don't mean much to folks from outside Indiana and the midwest, but they almost bring a tear to my eye.
As a side note, there's a little white country church where Hackman pauses to get his bearings. It stood at a crossroads in Boone County just northwest of Indianapolis. It was one of several churches that went up in flames in the late 1990s at the hands of a church arsonist. It's part of the local lore.
As far as the characters go, Hackman did a credible job, but the real star of this film is Dennis Hopper. Barbara Hershey's character is an unwanted digression from the plot line and adds nothing of value to the film.
And how many people realize the heart attack-prone principal of Hickory High, Sheb Wooley, is the guy who had a hit in the late '50s with the novelty record "One-Eyed, One-Horned, Flying Purple People Eater?"
Also, for those with home theater sound systems, the Dolby Surround Sound on the DVD is spectacular. The stereo imaging really makes the picture come alive.
If you like small town stories where the underdog triumphs, this is your kind of movie. You don't have to be from Indiana to love Hoosiers."