We watched Hoosiers a few weeks ago. Hoosiers is one of the most loved sports movies at all time. I cannot count the sports stars who claim Hoosiers is their favorite movie of all time. It is easy to see why. They are the small school that goes all the way and wins the Indiana State Basketball Championship.

Between seeing it in the theater, home video, and television, I must have seen Hoosiers a dozen times. It is a feel good movie. He coach redeems himself, the players play as a team, the town drunk gets on the road to recovery and the home team wins. What is more feel good than this.

It has been about 15 years since I have watched Hoosiers all the way though. Watching the movie again, it is a little shocking to me. It is not a movie about a high school basketball team, it is a movie about a high school basketball coach. The movie is just about adults getting their life back on track. There is Coach Norman Dale (Gene Hackman) coming back from exile after punching a player 10 years earlier, Shooter (Dennis Hopper) who is trying to get off the bottle, and Myra Fleener (Barbara Hershey) coming to terms with staying in the town where she grew up. Hackman, Hopper, and Hershey all gave great performance, but it is strange that a movie about a high school basketball team is not about high school students.

At the end of the movie I feel like I do not know any of the players. Jimmy Chickwood (Maris Valainis) hits a lot of shots, but I have no idea who he is as a person. The only players who had signify development or depth in the movie is Shooter's son Everett. That is only there to further Shooter's plot line. Somewhere there is another movie that tells the story about what the kids when through that season, but no one will ever make it.

Hoosiers is a great sports movie, but it is not a great high school sports movie. It might be the greatest coaching movie of all time. Coach Dale is the person who has to overcome everything. He needs to get the team to trust him and play his system. He needs to get the towns folk to let him coach. He needs to help Shooter so he can help himself. All of the sturggles of the movie are his.

I love Coach Dale's Speech to Jimmy Chickwood.

You know, in the ten years that I coached, I never met anybody who wanted to win as badly as I did. I'd do anything I had to do to increase my advantage. Anybody who tried to block the pursuit of that advantage, I'd just push 'em out of the way. Didn't matter who they were, or what they were doing. But that was then. You have special talent, a gift. Not the school's, not the townspeople, not the team's, not Myra Fleener's, not mine. It's yours, to do with what you choose. Because that's what I believe, I can tell you this: I don't care if you play on the team or not.

This quote proves to me the movie is about the coach and not the players. It is a brillent speech, but it is about Coach Dale's growth, not Jimmy Chickwood's.

In the end Hoosiers is over rated in my book. It is a feel good movie and nothing ever seems in jeopardy. A sports movie means nothing if there is no real chance they are going to lose.

Best Sports movie of all time
Best High School Sports movie of all time
Best Coaching movie of all time
Best Basketball movie of all time
Best Sports movie of the 80s


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