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  #1  
Old 02-13-2011, 02:39 AM
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Default Topic #10, All Players - Best Sports Movie

This is the next to last topic. The top three scorers will advance to the finals.

This thread is to be used by those in the Sports Debater's League. Any other posts in here will be flagged for spam and deleted. You have four days from the time this is posted to post (as in the time this is posted on Thursday, which is approximately when the new topic will go up. Note that I mean 96 hours after MY initial post, not the lead off debater.) your arguments, rebuttals and anything else you want. Best overall debater in that time period receives 10 points, second receives 9, third receives 8, all others receive 7.

Hitting Lead-Off in this debate is People's Peep. He has 24 hours to reply and if he doesn't then it's open season.

Again: 4 days, best overall poster gets first place points.

Topic: What is the best sports movie? (yes I know this is getting lame but it's not that easy to come up with 14 sports topics).

Scores will be posted as soon as the three judges give their scores.

Go.
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:31 AM
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OK, so it would appear that The People's Peep has left the building. I guess it is open season, so here goes.

First of all, I have to say that I absolutely love sports movies. From the reality based, based upon true life films, to the ones which are pure fiction, from the serious and dramatic to the comedic, I could easily list off a dozen or more sports movies of which I am a really big fan. I mulled this one over for quite some time, but in the end, I went with the 2001 film Remember The Titans.

For starters, Denzel Washington. The man has got to be regarded as one of the premiere actors of our era. The man rarely, if ever, stars in a poor movie, and one of the big reasons that his movies are so consistently good is that his skills as an actor are remarkable and I think he takes the time to thoroughly review any script or storyline before becoming associated with it, just to ensure he is not jumping on board a dud. This movie was no exception. He brought such passion, such realism, to this "based upon true events" film, making you really care about his character and the circumstances of the movie in which this character lived and functioned. He was extremely effective as the hard nosed, no nonsense coach who despite his abrasive and aggressive approach, really displayed love, compassion, and sincere concern for his players, his fellow coaches, his school, and his community in general. Denzel Washington was fantastic in this movie, as he typically is.

I was quite surprised to see a very young Hayden Panettiere in this movie. When I originally saw this show, I of course did not even know who she was. Granted she is only about 10 years old at this point, but we all know the fine young specimen she grows up to become in the present day. Her character in the movie was pretty good, though; a spunky feisty little girl who was funny, remarkably knowledgeable about the game, and I thought really added to the appeal of the film.

The vast majority of the rest of the cast were relative unknowns, but that added to the movie. The strength of the team as a unit, black and white amalgamated as one, made the basic premise of the movie. A star studded cast, or even one featuring one or two big names, would have shifted the focus to individuals rather than to the team as a whole, which would have detracted from the effectiveness of the show as a whole.

I liked the fact that this was a film which was reality based. Granted I am certain it was "Hollywood-ized" to a significant degree, as most movies which are based upon real life are, but still, the basic premise of the show was founded on actual occurrences. This was the racially volatile world of the southern US in 1971. There was an actual TC Williams high school which featured a team known as the Titans. The players, the coaches, they were based upon real people who lived in Alexandria, Virginia at the time, many of whom I would imagine are still living today. I tend to like movies like this, based upon real people and real events, albeit with significant creative license, as opposed to movies which are purely fictional and occasionally surreal.

The movie took the very volatile, yet realistic scenario of race 40 years ago, and really portrayed it for what it was. It did not go over the top with it, yet it showed the world just the sheer ludicrousness of the concepts of racial segregation which were prevalent at this time, and the resistance which integration faced as this shameful blemish on history was being rectified. Just imagine living in a small town in Virginia, when too many people felt the black population were inferior, second class citizens who did not belong there, never mind being treated as equals. Imagine a successful and popular white coach being replaced suddenly by a black man in 1971. Imagine the reaction when popular affluent white kids were losing their spots on the team to black football players. This movie really highlighted just how awful times were back then from a racial perspective, and just how emotionally charged a time it had to have been as this situation was being addressed and corrected. I loved watching this show with my kids, and seeing their response to the concept of segregation in the first place, and how positively they responded when it disappeared.

Of course, let's not lose focus on one major reason why this movies was so loved by myself and my family. It's football. Hard hitting, action packed football. The emotion and realism, mixed in with a little humor, of the training camp, was enjoyable. The practices and especially the game action, was really excellent and fun to watch. The elation of the success after the games was accurate and realistic. Any movie which highlights the game of football so positively is OK in my mind.

As I said above, I really enjoyed the training camp part of the movie. Whether it was integrating the players on the bus on the way to the camp, grouping them under offense and defense rather than by black and white, was good. Seeing the resistance that the coach's efforts met early on, and seeing it evaporate as time progressed, was really well done. Seeing them gel as a cohesive unit, both on and off the field, was truly a feel-good aspect of the movie, seeing the players go from myopic young boys to truly mature and responsible men.

That's not to say there wasn't friction along the way. The friction between Herman Boone (Washington) and Bill Yoast (Will Patton) continued throughout the entire film, as they struggled to co-exist without stepping on each other's toes. In the end they become a cohesive coaching unit, each contributing greatly to the success of the team, becoming lifelong friends in the process. It couldn't have been easy for any of them, and it is a credit to both of them in terms of how they conducted themselves off and on the field of play.

Seeing the development of the character "Gary" throughout the film was really well done. From a brash, young hothead into the well rounded person he became was portrayed very well. Seeing the maturity he displayed and the strength of character he showed in overcoming his injury and still enjoying success in life was heart warming. Emotional but not overdone. Hearing of his tragic and ironic death was sad, and that emotion was well conveyed, without detracting from the overall feel good aspect of the movie.

Even something as relatively trivial as seeing the white player ( whose name I forget) go from a guy who was self-professed "white trash," to a guy who achieved academic success and went on to become a successful businessman, was again really effectively done. Highlighting the importance of academics, the pride in the player, and the sense of satisfaction in the coach who helped him, without overdoing it, was nicely done as well.

For me, this movie had it all. A reality based storyline with an effective cast of actors and actresses. A heartwarming feel good story based upon football, which could be enjoyed from the perspective of athletics alone, but which also portrayed racial tensions, academics, overcoming adversity, strength of character, and other such heartwarming aspects of the show. I thoroughly enjoyed everything about this movie, and could easily watch it over and over again. The best sports movie, in my personal opinion, is the modern day classic, Remember The Titans.
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Old 02-14-2011, 03:24 PM
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The best sports movie of all time is the 1994 documentary film, Hoop Dreams. The film follows two black high school basketball players, Arthur Agee and William Gates, as they try to follow their dream of becoming professional basketball players. This is the best sports movie because when it comes to realism, entertainment, and accolades, few films can measure up with it.

Realism

This is 100%, without a doubt the most realistic sports movie ever made because it was a documentary. These are real kids living their normal life, trying to follow their dream. Hollywood can't tweak reality. Remember the Titans is a perfect example of Hollywood making some big changes to a movie. It may have been based on a true story but there were tons of over exaggerations and some things that were just flat out made up.

http://espn.go.com/page2/s/closer/020808.html

That article shows many of the made up things about Remember the Titans. Hoop Dreams didn't have to worry about that.

Entertainment

When you see the word documentary you automatically think boring but that isn't the case with Hoop Dreams. The movie lasts just under 3 hours but when you're watching it you are constantly entertained. Just the fact that you can emotionally invest in all the characters because you know it's all real makes it tremendous to watch. The experience of being with these kids through every aspect of their lives for 4 years makes the length of the movie seem like nothing. Even though it's a documentary it's probably more dramatic then nearly any sport film out there. Definitely an entertaining watch.

Accolades

This isn't some unknown movie. Gene Siskel and Robert Ebert gave it two thumbs up and named it the best movie of 1994. Ebert went on to name it the best film of the decade. What started as a 30 minute PBS special grew into one of the greatest documentaries of all time. Here is a list of more awards and accolades it received.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoop_Dreams#Awards

Hoop Dreams had it all and is the greatest sports movie of all time.
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Old 02-14-2011, 07:59 PM
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There's no doubt about it, Hoop Dreams is another excellent choice in terms of best sports movie. It truly is a great movie, but it is not the best, that distinction clearly goes to Remember The Titans.

I think Big Sexy overstates the importance of realism in assessing the various movies. Now I know I stated in my opening post that one thing I really liked about Remember The Titans is that it was based upon a true story, and that is the case. I did concede the fact that the movie was "Hollywood-ized," with plenty of creative license to embellish the story. But I am perfectly fine with this. My point was that the story has a reality-based framework, not that it was a documentary styled 100% accurate. It can be an excellent story, a terrific movie, without being completely factual. The basic premise of the show was intact, and that is all that matters. After all, I really enjoyed Star Wars, even though Darth Vader is a fictional character. My commentary about a plus of the movie being it's reality basis was simply to distinguish it from such movies as Field of Dreams, which was another excellent movie, but hardly the picture of realism. The fact that RTT took extensive creative liberties did not distract from its excellence in any way whatsoever.

Not to detract from Hoop Dreams, but I personally would prefer a non-documentary style of movie. If I wanted to see a documentary, I would watch CNN. The point of a movie is pure entertainment, and while I am not suggesting for a second that Hoop Dreams was not entertaining, I don't require pure unhampered realism to be fully entertained.

I also am unimpressed by accolades. A movie does not require accolades to be a truly great film. I don't even know what awards were won by Remember The Titans, if any, and frankly I do not care. Look at the Academy Awards pretty much every year. Quite often the movie which wins the top prize of the year is a far cry from the truly best film of the year. It is nominated by and voted upon by select company, and often not representative of the opinions and viewpoints of the average fan. Conversely, there have been many times that excellent movies in a given year have been snubbed and not even received a nomination, never mind an award. Just because a movie has a lot of accolades does not inherently mean it is a great show, and just because it is lacking such awards does not necessarily mean it was a lackluster effort.

For me, Remember The Titans was truly a masterpiece. If the only knocks against it were a lack of accolades (which I don't even know is the case or not) and some creative liberties and inaccuracies by the writers and producers, I find no fault with this whatsoever.
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:00 AM
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I think Big Sexy overstates the importance of realism in assessing the various movies. Now I know I stated in my opening post that one thing I really liked about Remember The Titans is that it was based upon a true story, and that is the case. I did concede the fact that the movie was "Hollywood-ized," with plenty of creative license to embellish the story. But I am perfectly fine with this. My point was that the story has a reality-based framework, not that it was a documentary styled 100% accurate. It can be an excellent story, a terrific movie, without being completely factual. The basic premise of the show was intact, and that is all that matters. After all, I really enjoyed Star Wars, even though Darth Vader is a fictional character. My commentary about a plus of the movie being it's reality basis was simply to distinguish it from such movies as Field of Dreams, which was another excellent movie, but hardly the picture of realism. The fact that RTT took extensive creative liberties did not distract from its excellence in any way whatsoever.
I'm not overstating anything. You said yourself realism is a factor when determining the best sports movie and I was simply agreeing and adding that no movie has more realism then Hoop Dreams because... well... it was real.

Quote:
Not to detract from Hoop Dreams, but I personally would prefer a non-documentary style of movie. If I wanted to see a documentary, I would watch CNN. The point of a movie is pure entertainment, and while I am not suggesting for a second that Hoop Dreams was not entertaining, I don't require pure unhampered realism to be fully entertained.
That's your preference and you're entitled to your opinion. In fact in most cases I would agree with you but in this case not so much. Hoop Dreams may be a documentary but it has all the drama and entertainment of a fictional movie. Don't get me wrong I love Remember the Titans and it is one of my favorite movies of all time, in terms of entertainment they are close to equal for me. However, like realism, entertainment is just one factor. If we were going solely on entertainment value I probably would have picked White Men Can't Jump but this is the overall best sports movie ever made we are talking about.

Quote:
I also am unimpressed by accolades. A movie does not require accolades to be a truly great film. I don't even know what awards were won by Remember The Titans, if any, and frankly I do not care. Look at the Academy Awards pretty much every year. Quite often the movie which wins the top prize of the year is a far cry from the truly best film of the year. It is nominated by and voted upon by select company, and often not representative of the opinions and viewpoints of the average fan. Conversely, there have been many times that excellent movies in a given year have been snubbed and not even received a nomination, never mind an award. Just because a movie has a lot of accolades does not inherently mean it is a great show, and just because it is lacking such awards does not necessarily mean it was a lackluster effort.
It doesn't require accolades to be great but it certainly doesn't hurt. Any positive recognition is good and Hoop Dreams received a lot of it. It wasn't just one or two awards they won. I mean Robert Ebert called it the movie of the decade in the 90's and the International Documentary Association named it the greatest documentary of all time. Not just sports documentary either, it included everything.

Quote:
For me, Remember The Titans was truly a masterpiece. If the only knocks against it were a lack of accolades (which I don't even know is the case or not) and some creative liberties and inaccuracies by the writers and producers, I find no fault with this whatsoever.
No doubt Remember the Titans was a great movie, it just wasn't quite as good as Hoop Dreams.
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Old 02-15-2011, 01:34 PM
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Sorry Im a little late to the party. Im about to make up for that right now.

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For the die-hard sports fans that I imagine all of us in this tournament are, I wonder if there is any other genre of movie like a good sports movie that the sports fan loves. Due to the incredible amount of sports movies out there and distributed every year, I'd be hard-pressed to say yes. When thinking about it, it's like watching your favorite actor/actress grace the screen. Just like we love said actor/actress, we already love sports, which means we're already halfway there before the movie even starts. Throw us a good story and we're ready to go for the ride. A good sports movie also has the ability to make one sit on the edge of their seat. They can make us laugh, and certainly make us cry. But above all else, a good sports movie makes us care.There are few movies I can think of off the top of my head that have given me the emotional investment that sports movies do, and just as few have stuck with me long afterword. And while there are at least half a dozen sports movies that have stuck with me for a long time, none has done so more then Hoosiers. I don't think it's even debatable.

Realism:

While I hardly find this to be the end-all, be all when it comes to defining a great sports movie, I do enjoy a sports movie greater when it's based upon real-life events. Hoosiers is based upon the real life story of the 1954 state champions, Milan High School in Indiana. Like Hickory, the fictional team from Hoosiers, Milan was a very small high school in a rural, southern Indiana town. While the movie was certainly jazzed up to fit the Hollywood version, the similarities are undeniable. Both schools were quite undersized, but both Hickory and Milan overcame incredible odds just to reach the state finals, which both teams won by two points. The final seconds of the Hoosiers state final game are quite similar to the finals seconds of Milan's 1954 final, as the final shot in the movie was taken from virtually the same spot on the floor in the movie. Even the movie's final game was shot in the same building that Milan's historic victory took place. While the movie wasn't a paint-by-numbers, 100% historically accurate movie, it did stay true to the major parts of the film, mostly in emphasizing the idea of the underdog overcoming overwhelming odds to come out victorious. No movie has ever done the underdog aspect better, and it being based on true to life events makes it even greater.

Acting and Entertainment Value:

You can't have a great sports movie without phenomenal acting, and Hoosiers deployed the perfect cast to inject the realism necessary into this movie. I can't think of anyone in the world better then Gene Hackman to play the role of Coach Norman Dale. Hackman already has a gruff demeanor, so he was perfect as the coach with the spotty background of hitting players and being no-nonsense. He was phenomenal at combining a sense of likeability with complexity, which typically don't fit in movies very well. Hackman pulled it off as he displayed the narrow-mindedness that most high school coaches do, with other dimensions and aspects of his character being revealed later. I can't think of another movie that so successfully pulled this tricky aspect off.

Dennis Hopper was brilliant as "Shooter" the town drunkard and father of one of the players on the team. His passion for alcohol is only surpassed by his love of basketball. The no more drinking clause he's given when enlisted by Hackman to become his assistant is one he knows Hopper won't keep, yet he knows it could very well serve as a catalyst for Hopper to get the help that he needs.

In a movie that was so focused on basketball, they even found the time to sneak in a bit of romance. Barbara Hershey plays a teacher at the school who Hackman falls for but is unable to fully gain her trust to make the relationship truly work. Another movie could have been made regarding their romance, as complex as it was.

As for the premise of the movie, Hoosiers relies heavily on the notion that people are more passionate about high school sports then they are about college and professional ones, especially the parents of the kids who play. Hoosiers does a great job of emphasizing that point meticulously throughout the film. Hoosiers also is an underdog movie, both in the sense of the coach himself and the players.

So in terms of acting, and a well thought out plot, Hoosiers is second to none here. It manages to tackle the idea that all of us love, which is the underdog fidning success. It interjects issues such as Hackman's skeletons from his past, Hopper's alcoholism, and the relationship between Hackman and Hershey, while keeping the focus where it belonged, which was on the sport. All of these factors combined make it the most multi-dimensional, yet squarely focused, sports movie of all time.

Awards:

Moviefone.com named Hoosiers the 4th greatest sports movie of all time, with Hoop Dreams coming in at #8, and Remember the Titans #9. The New York Daily Times ranked Hoosiers # 2, while ranking Remember the Titans # 20. Hoop Dreams didnt make the top 25. The American Film Institute named Hoosiers the 4th greatest sports movie, and 13th greatest film of the past 100 years. Hoop Dreams and Remember the Titans made neither list. ESPN named Hoosiers the 4th greatest sports film of all time, with Hoop Dreams coming in 13th. Remember the Titans didn't make the list. I could go on, but I think the point's been made.

A wide variety of critics from different perspectives have all agreed on Hoosiers being at or near top of the heap. Add in the sense of realism, the superb acting, finely written plot, and sheer entertainment value, and Hoosiers is a phenomenal film. This isn't a knock on the other two movies as much as is it an acknowledgement of what we already know: Hoosiers is the greatest sports movie of all time.
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Old 02-15-2011, 09:34 PM
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While you three have all made good choices, the movie that I chose as the best sport movie is home to the rare hexology, and it is the beginner of the hexology. My choice for best sport movie is Rocky I.

Us Americans love a great underdog story, and there's not a single more well known underdog then Rocky Balboa. While I don't think you guys need a summary of the story, let's not forget that the original is about a small time boxer trying to pull a miracle of an upset over the undefeated heavyweight champion Apollo Creed. While Rocky ended up losing the fight, he showed his heart by going the distance against Apollo, and the happy ending that we were hoping for (which was for Rocky to hook up with Adrian) happened. You can't write a better storybook then that. Could it be called corny? Possibly, but I don't think corny is a fair term. I believe that it should be described as a film that describes America (ironically, it was released 200 years after America was established as a country). It's a classic underdog story and many, many Americans can relate to it.

Not only is the story of Rocky execellent, but it is also very critically acclaimed. Roger Ebert gave it 4 out of 4 stars. It still holds a 93% 'Fresh' rating on RottenTomatoes. AFI put this as the 2nd best sports movie, ahead of all 3 of the movies you guys have selected. It won 3 Academy Awards, and was nominated for 7 others.

I don't think it's lack of realism should hurt the movie at all, either. It's a movie, I'm going to watch it to be entertained, not to see how realistic or not. Like hhf said, if I wanted to watch a documentary, I'd watch CNN. Rocky is a story about a heavy underdog going in the fight of his life. That sounds quite entertaining to me.

Rocky has become a cultural icon, and it's films is highly regarded. There's no reason why I don't think it shouldn't be thought of as the best sports film ever. It set the bar as the best, and no one has reached it yet.
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Old 02-16-2011, 05:31 PM
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While I hardly find this to be the end-all, be all when it comes to defining a great sports movie, I do enjoy a sports movie greater when it's based upon real-life events. Hoosiers is based upon the real life story of the 1954 state champions, Milan High School in Indiana. Like Hickory, the fictional team from Hoosiers, Milan was a very small high school in a rural, southern Indiana town. While the movie was certainly jazzed up to fit the Hollywood version, the similarities are undeniable. Both schools were quite undersized, but both Hickory and Milan overcame incredible odds just to reach the state finals, which both teams won by two points. The final seconds of the Hoosiers state final game are quite similar to the finals seconds of Milan's 1954 final, as the final shot in the movie was taken from virtually the same spot on the floor in the movie. Even the movie's final game was shot in the same building that Milan's historic victory took place. While the movie wasn't a paint-by-numbers, 100% historically accurate movie, it did stay true to the major parts of the film, mostly in emphasizing the idea of the underdog overcoming overwhelming odds to come out victorious. No movie has ever done the underdog aspect better, and it being based on true to life events makes it even greater.
The bold part is completely untrue. Milan was actually one of the favorites in the tournament and not an underdog at all. They had a 19-2 record and returned all of the key players from the previous year in which they reached the state semifinals. If you want a true underdog story in a tournament then look no further then the Arthur Agee led Marshall team in Hoop Dreams. Marshall wasn't even a ranked high school team yet they won the city championship and made it all the way to the semi finals of the state championship. That was a real underdog story.


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As for the premise of the movie, Hoosiers relies heavily on the notion that people are more passionate about high school sports then they are about college and professional ones, especially the parents of the kids who play. Hoosiers does a great job of emphasizing that point meticulously throughout the film. Hoosiers also is an underdog movie, both in the sense of the coach himself and the players.
Hoop Dreams also had many underdog aspects to it and was a tremendous real story of two young black youths trying to overcome the odds and make it to the NBA. Because it was real it was easy to get behind both players and you constantly get caught up in the players emotion and struggles during the film.

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So in terms of acting, and a well thought out plot, Hoosiers is second to none here. It manages to tackle the idea that all of us love, which is the underdog fidning success. It interjects issues such as Hackman's skeletons from his past, Hopper's alcoholism, and the relationship between Hackman and Hershey, while keeping the focus where it belonged, which was on the sport. All of these factors combined make it the most multi-dimensional, yet squarely focused, sports movie of all time.
Nothing is more multi-dimensional then real life and while Hoosiers is a tremendous movie it just isn't as good as Hoop Dreams. You had Arthur and William trying to follow their dreams and facing multiple obstacles. William had a great start but faced adversity with the birth of his daughter and the knee injury he suffered that plagued him his entire junior year. Arthur had to deal with his families financial struggles, having to go back to the inner city high school after his parents couldn't afford the tuition at St. Josephs high in the suburbs. He also had to deal with his parents separating and his fathers drug problem. Even the supporting cast like William's brother and Arthur's parents became multi-dimensional characters.

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Moviefone.com named Hoosiers the 4th greatest sports movie of all time, with Hoop Dreams coming in at #8, and Remember the Titans #9. The New York Daily Times ranked Hoosiers # 2, while ranking Remember the Titans # 20. Hoop Dreams didnt make the top 25. The American Film Institute named Hoosiers the 4th greatest sports movie, and 13th greatest film of the past 100 years. Hoop Dreams and Remember the Titans made neither list. ESPN named Hoosiers the 4th greatest sports film of all time, with Hoop Dreams coming in 13th. Remember the Titans didn't make the list. I could go on, but I think the point's been made.

A wide variety of critics from different perspectives have all agreed on Hoosiers being at or near top of the heap. Add in the sense of realism, the superb acting, finely written plot, and sheer entertainment value, and Hoosiers is a phenomenal film. This isn't a knock on the other two movies as much as is it an acknowledgement of what we already know: Hoosiers is the greatest sports movie of all time.
Awards are great and Hoosiers had a ton of them but with Hoop Dreams being a documentary it was at a disadvantage when it came to awards and they still won a ton. As far as lists go about the all time best sports movies it's much easier to get everyone to agree upon a fictional movie then it is to get them to agree upon a documentary. However, Hoop Dreams is still widely recognized as one of the best and to me it's definitely THE best sports movie ever.

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Originally Posted by Megatron View Post
I don't think it's lack of realism should hurt the movie at all, either. It's a movie, I'm going to watch it to be entertained, not to see how realistic or not. Like hhf said, if I wanted to watch a documentary, I'd watch CNN. Rocky is a story about a heavy underdog going in the fight of his life. That sounds quite entertaining to me.
You act like Hoop Dreams is a documentary on cheese or something. While it is a documentary it has everything that a fictional movie or one based on a true story has. The story telling and entertainment is fantastic and the fact it's 100% real makes it that much better.
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Old 02-16-2011, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Big Sexy View Post
The bold part is completely untrue. Milan was actually one of the favorites in the tournament and not an underdog at all. They had a 19-2 record and returned all of the key players from the previous year in which they reached the state semifinals. If you want a true underdog story in a tournament then look no further then the Arthur Agee led Marshall team in Hoop Dreams. Marshall wasn't even a ranked high school team yet they won the city championship and made it all the way to the semi finals of the state championship. That was a real underdog story.
I didnt call them an underdog there, even though they were. I said they overcame "tremendous odds." The enrollment of their entire high school was 161, which was by far the smallest of any team ever to win a state championship. The previous year you mentioned was one in which they actually shocked the state by reaching the semifinals. They may not have snuck up on anyone, but they certainly weren't the powerhouse you make them out to be.

A team can still be an underdog and have a great record/run in a tournament. Look no further then the 2010 Butler Bulldogs, who almost ran the table in the NCAA tournament despite being an underdog in 4 of their games, and losing to the heavily favored Duke Blue Devils by 2 points in the NCAA final. Butler went 28-4, being underdogs despite having less losses then their last 4 opponents. Milan was very similar in all those regards, as they were undersized,

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Hoop Dreams also had many underdog aspects to it and was a tremendous real story of two young black youths trying to overcome the odds and make it to the NBA. Because it was real it was easy to get behind both players and you constantly get caught up in the players emotion and struggles during the film.Nothing is more multi-dimensional then real life and while Hoosiers is a tremendous movie it just isn't as good as Hoop Dreams. You had Arthur and William trying to follow their dreams and facing multiple obstacles. William had a great start but faced adversity with the birth of his daughter and the knee injury he suffered that plagued him his entire junior year. Arthur had to deal with his families financial struggles, having to go back to the inner city high school after his parents couldn't afford the tuition at St. Josephs high in the suburbs. He also had to deal with his parents separating and his fathers drug problem. Even the supporting cast like William's brother and Arthur's parents became multi-dimensional characters.
I agree that Hoop Dreams was a phemomenal movie, and did have many underdog aspects to it. But for me, I preferred the multi-dimensional aspects of getting caught up in the struggles of Jimmy Chitwood, the plyer who quit the team before his senior year in Hoosiers only to rejoin the team to save Norman Dale's(Gene Hackman) job. As more of Hackman's past was revealed, it was easy to view him as a true underdog coach, and root for him. Shooter, played by Dennis Hopper, was truly someone you cheered for to succeed, and my heart sunk when he binged on alcohol and had to be rushed to the hospital after collapsing in the middle of the game. You had the complex relationship between Dale and Barbara Hershey as well, which another movie itself could have been made about. It doesn't get more multi-dimensional then this. Depsite all these layers, the focus of the movie stayed on basketball, which is what made it such a great sports movie.


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Awards are great and Hoosiers had a ton of them but with Hoop Dreams being a documentary it was at a disadvantage when it came to awards and they still won a ton. As far as lists go about the all time best sports movies it's much easier to get everyone to agree upon a fictional movie then it is to get them to agree upon a documentary. However, Hoop Dreams is still widely recognized as one of the best and to me it's definitely THE best sports movie ever.
I guess I titled it wrong, because it wasn't necessarily about awards, it was more about critical acclaim. Ive taken nothing away from Hoop Dreams here as it truly is a phenomenal movie and I could care less that it's a documentary, it doesnt detract from it in the slightest for me. I imagine many of the "critical acclaim" it received shows that critics felt the same way. But like I do, it felt Hoosiers was a better sports movie overall. Hoop Dreams is one of the best, it's just not THE best. That goes to Hoosiers.

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Originally Posted by hatehabsforever View Post
For starters, Denzel Washington. The man has got to be regarded as one of the premiere actors of our era. This movie was no exception. He brought such passion, such realism, to this "based upon true events" film, making you really care about his character and the circumstances of the movie in which this character lived and functioned. He was extremely effective as the hard nosed, no nonsense coach who despite his abrasive and aggressive approach, really displayed love, compassion, and sincere concern for his players, his fellow coaches, his school, and his community in general. Denzel Washington was fantastic in this movie, as he typically is.
Washington was excellent in Remember the Titans, no doubt about it. Take nothing away from him when understanding that Gene Hackman as Norman Dale in the leading role of Hoosiers easily surpassed the role Denzel played. Denzel was very straightforward in the movie, and you knew where he came from. Take nothing away from him, he was very good at what he did as the passionate, hard-nosed coach. But Hackman brought layers to his character as a coach who brought a no-nonsense attitude, but later when you "pulled back the curtain" you saw the why, how, and when, as well as different dimensions to his character. In comparing these two sports movies, Hackman was certainly better. For a great sports movie, a great lead is essential, and Hackman surpassed Denzel in this ONE role.

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I liked the fact that this was a film which was reality based. Granted I am certain it was "Hollywood-ized" to a significant degree, as most movies which are based upon real life are, but still, the basic premise of the show was founded on actual occurrences. This was the racially volatile world of the southern US in 1971. There was an actual TC Williams high school which featured a team known as the Titans. The players, the coaches, they were based upon real people who lived in Alexandria, Virginia at the time, many of whom I would imagine are still living today. I tend to like movies like this, based upon real people and real events, albeit with significant creative license, as opposed to movies which are purely fictional and occasionally surreal.

Yes, it did nice job tackling the issue of racism, but if anything, that to me detracts from the movie being a great sports movie. So much of it was spent OFF the field dealing with these other issues that the actual sports aspect took a backseat at times to the issue of racism. It tckled it in a great way, and it's a great movie. But it's only a very good sports movie. And this movie was only "loosely based" upon reality, it didn't touch the realism of Hoosiers or even a Hoops Dreams. There was more creative license in half of this movie then there was in the entire Hoosiers movie. There's nothing wrong with Hollywoodizing a movie, but it detracted from the gritty realism that a movie like Hoosiers brought.

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As I said above, I really enjoyed the training camp part of the movie. Whether it was integrating the players on the bus on the way to the camp, grouping them under offense and defense rather than by black and white, was good. Seeing the resistance that the coach's efforts met early on, and seeing it evaporate as time progressed, was really well done. Seeing them gel as a cohesive unit, both on and off the field, was truly a feel-good aspect of the movie, seeing the players go from myopic young boys to truly mature and responsible men.
This was present in Hoosiers, to an even greater degree. Coach Dale dismisses a key plyer from the team, and later alienates the entire community with his implementing of slow, methodical play. He channels his best Bob Knight but failing to practice what he preaches, when he was ejected several times from games due to losing his temper. The fact that the changes he brings doesn't immediately bring results again adds a greaat touch of realism to the movie, as things had to get far worse before they got better. The same aspects, as you noted, appeared in Remember the Titans. It's just that Hoosiers did it first, and better in 1986 as compared to 2001 for Remember the Titans.
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That's not to say there wasn't friction along the way. The friction between Herman Boone (Washington) and Bill Yoast (Will Patton) continued throughout the entire film, as they struggled to co-exist without stepping on each other's toes. In the end they become a cohesive coaching unit, each contributing greatly to the success of the team, becoming lifelong friends in the process. It couldn't have been easy for any of them, and it is a credit to both of them in terms of how they conducted themselves off and on the field of play.
Once again, these are things Hoosiers did first, better, and without detracting whatsoever from the premise of the movie. The main focus of Hooisers, beyond question, was basketball. Every sub-plot in the movie, effective in its own right, was about basketball. The emergency town meeting to try and force Coach Dale's(Hackman) resignation. Jimmy Chitwood, the team's best player, refused to play his senior year. He later agreed to play, on the condition that Coach Dale stayed on as coach. From that moment forward, the team went from underdog to a force to be reckoned with. And who can forget Shooter, played by Dennis Hopper? The alcoholic father of one of the boys on the team, Shooter was hired by Coach Dale as his AC with the hopes that his love for basketball would help him overcome his alcoholism. Again, it's that inate focus on basketball while brilliantly interweving subplots that truly made Hoosiers a great sports movie. Coach Dale's mysterious past also adds to this as well.

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Seeing the development of the character "Gary" throughout the film was really well done. From a brash, young hothead into the well rounded person he became was portrayed very well. Seeing the maturity he displayed and the strength of character he showed in overcoming his injury and still enjoying success in life was heart warming. Emotional but not overdone. Hearing of his tragic and ironic death was sad, and that emotion was well conveyed, without detracting from the overall feel good aspect of the movie.
Other then death, Gary was the equivelant of Hoosiers Jimmy Chitwood in so mny ways. He was an emotional roller-coaster you couldn't help but empathize with. He refused to play for the team for half the year following the death of the previous coach. He grew exponentially throughout the film in terms of maturity, as he went from soft-spoken to the voice that kept Coach Dale around, as he agreed to play if they did so. His heart-warming story ends when he hits the game winning shot in the state finals.

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For me, this movie had it all. A reality based storyline with an effective cast of actors and actresses. A heartwarming feel good story based upon football, which could be enjoyed from the perspective of athletics alone, but which also portrayed racial tensions, academics, overcoming adversity, strength of character, and other such heartwarming aspects of the show. I thoroughly enjoyed everything about this movie, and could easily watch it over and over again. The best sports movie, in my personal opinion, is the modern day classic, Remember The Titans.

For my money, the cast of Hoosiers was better overall then that of Remember the Titans. Washington is a phenomenal actor, but Hoffman was the only man who could have effectively plyed the strict, hard-nosed, mysterious Coach Dale, while it's easier to picture others as Herman Boone.(Washington) Elizabeth Hershey and Dennis Hopper, among others, made for a phenomenal supporting cast, the latter(Hopper) garnering an Oscar nomination. Hoosiers was the epitome of what a sports movie should be, as its focus was on basketball, and every sub-plot related to it. Remember the Titans was a great movie, but was as much about racism and overcoming adversity as it was football. Hoosiers certainly had its share of heart-felt moments, such as Chitwood rejoining the team, and ultimately sinking the game winning basket. It also was deeply rooted in reality, as its similarities to the 1954 Milan High School in Indiana can't be denied.

In the end, I'll take the acting in Hoosiers, it's deep roots in reality, its focus clearly and soley on bsketball, it's ashes to triumph heartwarming story, and it's tremendous sub-plots over any other sports movie to this day.
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Old 02-16-2011, 11:26 PM
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Originally Posted by LSN80 View Post
I didnt call them an underdog there, even though they were. I said they overcame "tremendous odds." The enrollment of their entire high school was 161, which was by far the smallest of any team ever to win a state championship. The previous year you mentioned was one in which they actually shocked the state by reaching the semifinals. They may not have snuck up on anyone, but they certainly weren't the powerhouse you make them out to be.

A team can still be an underdog and have a great record/run in a tournament. Look no further then the 2010 Butler Bulldogs, who almost ran the table in the NCAA tournament despite being an underdog in 4 of their games, and losing to the heavily favored Duke Blue Devils by 2 points in the NCAA final. Butler went 28-4, being underdogs despite having less losses then their last 4 opponents. Milan was very similar in all those regards, as they were undersized,
What odds did they overcome? They were one of the favorites going into the season to win the tournament because like I said they were in the semi finals the year before and returned the key players. Even though they were a small school they still had 58 of their 73 male students try out for a team where only 10 made the roster. In the tournament Milan won all but two games by double figures and one of those was the championship game, the other was an 8 point win. Milan's run really wasn't much like Butler's at all.



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I agree that Hoop Dreams was a phemomenal movie, and did have many underdog aspects to it. But for me, I preferred the multi-dimensional aspects of getting caught up in the struggles of Jimmy Chitwood, the plyer who quit the team before his senior year in Hoosiers only to rejoin the team to save Norman Dale's(Gene Hackman) job. As more of Hackman's past was revealed, it was easy to view him as a true underdog coach, and root for him. Shooter, played by Dennis Hopper, was truly someone you cheered for to succeed, and my heart sunk when he binged on alcohol and had to be rushed to the hospital after collapsing in the middle of the game. You had the complex relationship between Dale and Barbara Hershey as well, which another movie itself could have been made about. It doesn't get more multi-dimensional then this. Depsite all these layers, the focus of the movie stayed on basketball, which is what made it such a great sports movie.
Hoosiers was a multi-dimensional movies in terms of the characters but like I stated in my previous post, Hoop Dreams was the exact same way. In fact I'd say it was even more multi-dimensional.



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I guess I titled it wrong, because it wasn't necessarily about awards, it was more about critical acclaim. Ive taken nothing away from Hoop Dreams here as it truly is a phenomenal movie and I could care less that it's a documentary, it doesnt detract from it in the slightest for me. I imagine many of the "critical acclaim" it received shows that critics felt the same way. But like I do, it felt Hoosiers was a better sports movie overall. Hoop Dreams is one of the best, it's just not THE best. That goes to Hoosiers.
Awards, critical acclaim, accolades, whatever you want to call it Hoop Dreams received their fair share. Maybe Hoosiers had more but that's just one factor of what makes the best sports movie and accolades are probably one of the smaller factors.
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