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starring Gene Hackman, Barbara Hershey, Dennis Hopper, Sheb Wooley
screenplay by Angelo Pizzo
directed by David Anspaugh
by Walter Chaw A gifted coach with a past takes over a misfit team and leads them, after some of the usual adversity, to the big game. Why fight it? There's nothing I can say about how sappy and derivative David Anspaugh's revered Hoosiers is without coming off like a scrooge incapable of elation. No demonstration of pedigree, no gesture towards the trophy shelf or war stories about the time we tipped an opposing player over in a port-a-potty just to see the bastard turn blue will make a lick of difference in the quick gauge of the level of bitterness for the nerd unwilling to surrender to the glory of such astonishingly polished underdog crap. Why fight it when what Hoosiers does--and does magnificently--is capture exactly how childish (and childishly exhilarating) sports can be--how it's an exclusive boy's club that underscores those infant verities of honour, brotherhood, and courage under fire in a ritualized environment only trumped in its bloodlust by certain communal religious ceremonies. If Hoosiers understands anything, it's that while there is, in fact, crying in baseball (and basketball, and football, hockey, lacrosse, rugby, soccer, etc.), there's no such thing as subtlety in the absolute tyranny of the interplay between muscle, sinew, and pigskin.