Leadership in Film - Hoosiers

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For the millions of Americans who dont call Indiana home, particularly the ones who, in a recent USA Today poll, voted Hoosiers the greatest sports movie of all time, the film transcends the state for which it was named and the team that inspired the tale. It is a classic…

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eventually grossed dose to $30 million at the box office, and undisclosed video and DVD sales and TV broadcasts are still contributing to its bottom line. Coach Norman Dale became Gene Hackmans comeback role, and Dennis Hopper earned an Oscar nomination for his performance as Wilbur "Shooter" Flatch. "Hoosiers is told from a nostalgic distance, and those allergic to corniness might best be advised to stay home," wrote a reviewer for The Washington Post. "But what do you expect in a movie about Indiana? Corn is what they make there. And the movies enormous craftsmanship accumulates till youre actually seduced into believing all its Pepperidge Farm buncombe."
Clearly, one mans corn can be anothers inspiration. At sporting arenas around the country, its not unusual for Jumbottons to play clips of Coach Dale firing up his Hickory Huskers with a pregame speech. New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner has been known to compare his management decisions to those of Hickory Highs principal, Cletus. Last year, Ron Hunter, coach of the IUPUI Jaguars, made his team watch Hoosiers before taking on number-one seed Kentucky in the NCAA mens basketball tournament.
But not everyone loves Hoosiers. Pizzo and Anspaughs fictional South Bend Central, the team Hickory faces in the final game, is a composite of two teams Milan really did play in its 1954 tournament run: all-black Crispus Attucks and Muncie Central, which was integrated but predominantly white. As a result, the movie audience sees no black characters - indeed, hardly black faces at all - until the films climax, when little Hickory has to face big bad South Bend Central, the majority of whose players and all of whose coaches are black. As a way to honor their place in Indiana basketball lore, Pizzo and Anspaugh gave two members of the historic Attucks team - legendary coach Ray Crowe and player Bailey Robertson - cameo roles as South Bend coaches, but the films racial dynamic has drawn fire from prominent critics ...
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