Have you ever seen the movie called “Hoosiers”? It’s a story based on a small Indiana town’s basketball team winning the Indiana State Basketball Championships against all odds in the 1950’s. It’s one of my all-time favorite movies. Part of it is due to the fact that nobody’s perfect in this film: not the unpopular basketball coach played by Gene Hackman, not the spinster acting principal played by Barbara Hersey nor the town drunk played by Dennis Hopper.
The real hero of this movie in my mind is Jerry Goldsmith who composed the film score. That’s right, you heard me right. It was nominated for an Oscar but didn’t win despite music that can almost bring you to tears–even if you don’t know the story that the score is supposed to illustrate.
It’s a movie about losers. The coach is a loser because he has a history of anger management problems, hitting one of the basketball players. The town drunk is a loser because, well, he can’t stop drinking. The boys don’t play that well, actually. Except for Jimmy, who not only joins them late but makes the very last minute shot at the state championships. They are all people who have problems, are shy and say and do all the wrong things. That they turn out a winning team is, well, a fairy tale of sorts. But it’s more than that, I think. It’s the idea of believing in people, an idealism that is seldom realized nor rewarded in real life.
When they arrive in the huge Indianapolis stadium for the final playoff game and look around, the boys are obviously awed and intimidated by their awe. Hackman takes out his measuring tape and asks the boys to measure the court. It’s fifteen feet. He then gets them to measure the distance between the hoop and the floor. It’s ten feet. Those measurements are exactly the same as those of their court back home he says to them and the boys smile and visibly relax. The more things change, the more some things remain the same.
“Hoosiers” was made on a low budget and has surprised people with its 13th ranking in the top 100 films of all time. The movie soundtrack may have a lot to do with its staying power. I was thinking that if more people knew about it and played it going to and from work or doing errands, it would be hard to be in a bad mood.
Music can be an antidote to much of what ails us. If you want to listen to a sample and have a Mac, go to I-Tunes and type in “Hoosiers Soundtrack.”
After many years of only a partial soundtrack being available, there is now a full soundtrack provided by Integra: