Since I am not a games/fitness/etc. guy (not by a long shot) to begin with, I often find it extremely difficult for me to wrap my brain around the concept of why I'm supposed to be rooting for people in a motion picture when I'm confronted by a sports movie. I figure an actual game can go any one of the following two ways: someone wins, or it's a tie. Simple logic, right? When it comes down to a movie about a determined group of males and/or females battling a rival team in order to win even the most minor of victories, I can almost always bet my bottom dollar that they'll win. The real draw, therefore, must be in the presentation of the feature film itself.
The 1986 basketball flick Hoosiers is one of those rare titles in a long, long history of movies about one or more individuals participating in an athletic game in order to prove something to themselves or their community. In this case, the people in question not only establish both of the formers, but they also impress the entire world in the process. Based in part on the near-legendary Indiana state championship game of 1954, wherein the undersized Milan High School became true underdog heroes by defeating a much larger, better-organized rival team.
Of course, the real story here matters not: Hoosiers is a firm family drama about disgraced basketball coach Norman Dale (played to perfection by the great Gene Hackman), who arrives in a small, rural Indiana town with the hopes of whipping the local whippersnappers into shape with some truly professional training. Naturally, everyone from the parents of the students to the students themselves think he's overdoing it — and do their best to oust him once he eliminates a cocky kid from the already puny parade of players. Throughout it all, however, one man believes in him: a person who, sadly, is also the town drunk — and who goes by the handle of "Scooter" (Dennis Hopper, who rightfully won an Oscar nomination for this one).