Friday, March 9, 2012

Hoosiers (1986)

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not huge into sports films. But there are a few that other people refer to as “must see” movies, so I usually try to give those a watch. Hoosiers usually appears on that list. I don’t mind watching basketball, so I figured I’d give it a shot. Get it? Shot? OK, I’ll just get on to the review.

Norman Dale (Gene Hackman) arrives in the small town of Hickory, Indiana to coach the local high school basketball team. This is a second chance of sorts. His previous career as a college level coach ended after an violent incident. Unfortunately the people of Hickory don’t take to the “big city” man coming into their small town to show them how to play the game. Even fellow teachers like Myra Fleener (Barbara Hershey) dislike him from the start. Will Dale be able to turn the team around, win the hearts of the townsfolk, and get the life of local drunk Shooter (Dennis Hopper) back on track? If you don’t know the answer to this, then you haven’t watched any sports movies.

Good Points:
  • Excellent acting by the main cast
  • The basketball scenes are well filmed and exciting
  • Jerry Goldsmith’s musical score fits like an 80s glove

Bad Points:
  • The story is very, very familiar
  • Goldsmith’s score is heavy on the synthesizers
  • The epilogue was painfully cheesy

Yes, it’s an underdog sports film and all that entails is covered here. There are no plot surprises, no character surprises, but the heart is in the right place. What really works is the atmosphere (aided by an entire shoot performed in Indiana) and the excellent acting by the leads. I’ve never seen Hopper as good as he is here. And yes, the musical score is a blast. Must of the percussive sounds are actually samples of basketballs hitting a wooden floor. Worth checking out, especially if you enjoy basketball and the cast.

Scores (out of 5)
Visuals: 4
Sound: 3
Acting: 4
Script: 3
Music: 4
Direction: 4
Entertainment: 3
Total:  3

Curious about a full review, sent me an email and I’ll make additional thoughts to this review.   

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