You read that correctly. Hoosiers, the beloved basketball movie set in small town Indiana, stinks. Before you label me a #hater I want you to know I gave this movie an honest shot. I saw it for the first time in college and started doing homework I was so bored. Last night I gave it another shot because I figured there’s no way everyone loves this movie simply because they’ve been told it’s great. I sat my ass down on my recliner, grabbed a box of cookies and an iced tea, turned my phone on do not disturb and watched all 116 minutes of it and I actually came out of that movie even more furious.
There’s zero character development in Hoosiers. Not a lick of it. Coach Norman Dale is as hardheaded in minute one as his is in minute one sixteen. He comes to town with the goal of developing a defense-first basketball team built on fundamentals, yet he is so deep in that philosophy that he barely lets his team dribble and shoot. He nearly gets fired for loosing basically all of his games and even playing with only 4 players on the court because a player of his actually tried scoring the basketball. Good strategy coach!
The players are the main stick in my craw. I can name two of them. I watched the entire movie without the distraction of my phone and I can only name 2 players! The ridiculousness of that is only heightened considering there’s only 8 of them total. Ollie should have been a fun little David vs. Goliath arc but his 5 minutes of fame drove me insane. Kid gets the opportunity of a lifetime to get some playing time in the state semifinal and he’s sulking around the joint like someone just ran his dog over. He’s booting balls into the 5th row, he’s slow getting back on defense, he’s shooting free throws granny style and comes up 9 feet short. Despite his two makes at the end of the game, I wish he stuck to washing towels.
Jimmy Chitwood, the second coming of Jesus Christ himself, isn’t playing because his favorite coach and father figure passed away. A sad backstory promising to make a huge payoff as the movie progresses. Problem is you learn literally nothing about the kid. Norman visits him once in his yard to talk some shop and that’s it. Next we see of Jimmy he’s saving Norman’s job at the town meeting. For what reason exactly? Jimmy is a pure scorer who creates for himself and that certainly doesn’t mesh well with Norman’s 4 pass rule. The two never really spent time together, they never confided in each other, coach wasn’t headed towards a state championship before Jimmy, so it makes little sense that Jimmy would step in to save his job.
Wilber Shooter was the nail in the coffin for me. Shooter is the town drunk who loves basketball more than anyone. He offers Norman some advice early in the season and promises to be a hidden gem once he gets a spot on the coaching staff. Norman gets kicked out of his 89th straight game to give Shooter an opportunity to come out of his shell, which he does so marvelously calling a last second play to win the game. Shooter celebrates by getting shitfaced and nearly freezing to death, putting himself in the hospital for the rest of the movie. Nice shooting soldier.
The whole movie was flat. Coach comes in and stirs a bit of controversy. The town hates him because he’s losing games left and right. He nearly gets fired until he doesn’t. The star player returns and brings them to glory. Booooooorrrrrrriiiinnnnggggggg. You want a movie that will actually make you feel something other than boredom, look at Coach Carter.
Coach Carter is everything Hoosiers wishes it was. A total turnover of playing style with defensive discipline and offensive creativity. A team of kids headed nowhere fast in the real world forced to look at the bigger picture and succeed outside of the basketball court. A coach taking a stand and bringing his team together to mold men, not just 1 dimensional basketball players. THAT’S a revolutionary basketball movie.
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