Welcome to Sports Movie Sundays here at theBRKDWN Sports! We all know the downtime between the ending of the NBA and Stanley Cup Finals and the beginning of football season can drag on when there is nothing but baseball regular season to watch. Luckily for all of us, we have the Women’s FIFA World Cup, and luckily for you, you have theBRKDWN’s Sports Movie Sundays! So grab some popcorn, stay in that AC and watch some movies along with us all summer long.
High school basketball is king in the state of Indiana. So much so, that the game’s inventor, Jim Naismith, wrote that while the game was invented in Massachusetts, “basketball really has its origins in Indiana, which remains the center of the sport.”
The same way everyone grows up playing basketball in their driveway, on the dirt or in the cul-de-sac in Indiana, everyone grows up watching “Hoosiers” at least once. It is considered sacrilegious if someone says they haven’t seen it.
Now, “Hoosiers” isn’t the kind of movie that is going to win awards or receive high praise for the acting, writing, etc. Nothing in that area of the film really stands out. The acting isn’t bad, but it isn’t great. The writing and script aren’t bad, but they aren’t great. Hell, even the portrayal of the actual events isn’t too accurate.
Was at 56-year-old Gene Hackman (Coach Norman Dale) the best fit to play the real-life 26-year-old coach of the real Milan team? Probably not. Were some of the game scores changed to dramatize the film a bit more? Absolutely, but those aren’t the important things to be captured in this movie.
The thing this film does best is capture the feel of the small-town high school basketball craze.
From the opening images of driving down Indiana backroads in the fall, to being on the cornfield farms and in the sold-out gyms, the film puts you right in the middle of BFE Indiana where they only care about one thing — high school basketball.
Every weekend, all the little shops close up for the night, everyone packs into the local gym or hops in the car to caravan to the game. Those road trips and those nights are some of the best nights Indiana kids will remember for the rest of their lives.
“Hoosiers” brings back those memories any time someone from this state, whether they’re in the same living room they were in the first time they watched the film, or halfway across the country.
The pageantry, the intensity and the school spirit are all on display in the film’s portrayal of the 1954 Milan High School basketball team and their “miraculous” underdog run at a state title.
The miraculous part is a bit played up because, well, Milan was a damn good basketball team and crushed their way to the state final game.
However, they were very much underdogs in that game. Milan was a school with an enrollment of 161 going up against a perennial powerhouse with an enrollment over 1,000. This win was the biggest upset in Indiana basketball history and it was the only one of its kind.
The power of nostalgia and a great underdog story are what have made “Hoosiers” an all-time classic. So if you’re already missing basketball after the NBA Finals, pop it on Netflix and try to hold back the waterworks.
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