What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the emotional intensity here is of the "who will win?" variety. The movie also deals with alcoholism, but features the redemption of two adult leads.
What's the story?
HOOSIERS is a stirring movie about teamwork, discipline, and second chances that features exciting basketball action and a meticulous re-creation of 1950s Indiana. Hired to coach a small-town high school team, Norm Dale (Gene Hackman) searches for personal redemption in his quest to lead the underdogs of Hickory High School to victory at the state championships. In a memorable scene, Dale gets a lecture from a group of locals on how things are done in Hickory: You need to be a God-fearing man, you must always set a fine example for the boys, and, more importantly, you mustn't mess with the traditional zone defense. With help from assistant coach Shooter (Dennis Hopper), a recovering alcoholic, Dale and his team surprise everyone in Indiana by making it all the way to the state finals.
Is it any good?
Much more than a sports flick, Hoosiers is a great movie for families to watch and enjoy together. This slice of Americana conforms to the rules of sports movies, but manages to transcend the genre. The barest of plots is fleshed out by an electric Gene Hackman. And the renewal of Dennis Hopper's character -- whose emotional wounds are more openly visible than Hackman's -- smartly doubles the redemption factor.
The writing is strong and wonderfully sly. To its credit, the movie gets the details right, starting with the passion that high school basketball elicits. Even the compulsory practice scenes are played with a fervor and realism that is compelling, and the David vs. Goliath aspect gives the movie an extra punch. The movie occasionally succumbs to sports-movie clichés such as "aren't you the kind who'd rather look for a fight than run away from one?" and there's an obligatory love subplot. Another quibble is that it's sometimes hard to tell the healthy, corn-bred players apart.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about other sports movies. What is appealing about them? Do you ever doubt the outcome? What kind of feelings do they stir up? How does this one compare and contrast to other sports films you've seen?