Hoosiers on DVD
Wed heard for years about what a great movie Hoosiers is, so
we dove into this new special edition DVD with gusto. And while the movie does
have a lot going for it, in the end it comes off as a highly predictable tale
full of stereotypes of setting, situation, and characters.
Gene Hackman is typically excellent as coach Norman Dale, a man
with a dark past who comes to Hickory, Indiana, to coach the high school
basketball team. This appears to be his last chance for redemption, thanks to
his past antics, and hes determined to make it a good one. But he also
isnt willing to compromise who he is or put his own supposedly proven
methodology onto the back burner in order to get along more smoothly with the
people of Hickory.
Those people come off like a bunch of idiotic, unflinching boobs
kind of like how liberal Democrats in the US look upon the people in the
so-called red states. Yessirree, theyre a bunch of
knuckle-dragging Neanderthals bound and determined to make coach Dales
life miserable as he pursues his own idea of coaching and refuses to
And thats part of the movies problem. These people
are so stereotypical its hard to believe them.
Then there are the basketball games. Coach Dale starts with a
very small nucleus of players that almost immediately shrinks further as a
couple of player rebel. But he doesnt care; his will be done.
Fortunately, the star player who had been sitting out the
season due to personal issues comes to the rescue and after
a disastrous beginning the various players begin to coalesce into a real team
and they start winning. Will they make the championship and, if so, will they
We wont spoil the movie by telling you, but we dont
really need to. The basketball games are as tiresomely predictable as the other
On the other hand, the movie has a wonderful feel of
authenticity, looks great, and features some tremendous performances. Hackman
is great (but isnt he always?) and the rest of the supporting cast
led by the very talented Barbara Hershey and augmented by what could be the
performance of his career by Dennis Hopper as the town drunk who shakes off his
alcoholism to become a team leader is also first rate, even if
theyre playing caricatures.
The two disc DVD has received a nice treatment. The remastered
anamorphic widescreen picture looks very good, despite some grainy sections.
Colors are beautiful (we loved the exterior shots in particular) and the image
is quite sharp. Audio, which is Dolby Digital ____, is better than adequate
though of course not up to todays all-digital standards.
Extras include the complete actual championship game upon which
the climax of the movie is based, a commentary track by director David Anspaugh
and writer Angelo Pizzo (who also introduce 13 deleted scenes).
Those deleted scenes flesh out the Hackman-Hershey relationship
and plug up a few holes in the plot, but we can understand why they were cut
originally. Theres also a half hour featurette in which most of the main
talents behind the original film reminisce about their experiences.
You also get a photo gallery and the original trailer.
Hoosiers, from MGM Home Entertainment 114 min. anamorphic
widescreen (1.85:1, 16x9 TV compatible), Dolby Digital 5.1
Hackman, Barbara Hershey, Dennis Hopper
Produced by Carter De Haven and
Written by Angelo Pizzo, directed by David Anspaugh
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