I Found It At the Movies: 1986—Hoosiers (David Anspaugh)


Inspired by Dave Hicks’ excellent blog, I have decided to write about my favorite film for each year from 1926-2008.

1986: Hoosiers (David Anspaugh)

Hoosiers is my most uncharacteristic choice in this entire countdown and probably the least impressive artistically. But when it comes to sports movies (and sports were pretty much my life for the first eighteen years), this is the one that moves me the most.

I don’t want to psychoanalyze myself here, but when Jimmy Chitwood says, “There’s one other thing: I play, coach stays. He goes, I go,” it brings me to tears every time. It’s one of film’s greatest moments of someone standing up for the underdog, the unconventional, the person who has dared to go against the grain.

I’ve always been physically slight, and as an independent moviemaker, you certainly spend a good deal of time as the underdog. We’re all trying to beat the machine on some level, and this is one of those movies that always restores my faith a bit.

It’s a pretty good-looking movie with a couple of solid performances from Gene Hackman and Barbara Hershey. But, more important, it’s a movie. I love the art film—in fact, it’s my favorite kind. But there’s also a time and place when I just want to turn off my brain and be moved. When it comes to these kinds of experiences, this one does the trick as well as any.

What moviemakers can learn: Certain themes have inherent commercial value, and the underdog overcoming challenges and finding a way to win is one of the most reliable. To my eyes, Hoosiers is as great an underdog tale as the cinema has ever produced.

Other contenders for 1986: This might be my favorite year in all of cinema, and yet I still have some things to see. These include: Jûzô Itami’s Tampopo, Hal Ashby’s 8 Million Ways to Die and Stephen Frears’ Song of Experience. I really like Oliver Stone’s Salvador, Leos Carax’s Mauvais sang (Bad Blood), Jim Jarmusch’s Down by Law, Michael Mann’s Manhunter and Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It. I love Ross McElwee’s Sherman’s March, Abel Ferrara’s “Crime Story” pilot, Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters, Jonathan Demme’s Something Wild, Andrei Tarkovsky’s The Sacrifice and David Lynch’s Blue Velvet. And my closest runner-up is Eric Rohmer’s Le rayon vert (Summer).

After living in Los Angeles for seven years, Jeffrey Goodman returned to his hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana to direct The Last Lullaby. Co-written by the creator of Road to Perdition, and starring Tom Sizemore and Sasha Alexander, The Last Lullaby was filmed entirely in and around Shreveport and financed by 48 local investors. Goodman is now at work raising money for his next feature, Peril.

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