Sunday, April 8, 2018

Don't Make a Scene: Hoosiers

The Set-up: Everybody needs a pep-talk now and then. 

Below, you'll find a video montage of great rip-snorting speeches from movies past. They're fun for getting an audience's blood up, and it always looks good on a star's Oscar reel to perform in front of a crowd of extras. Not every actor's day is St. Crispin's Day.

But this one is my favorite. "We're way past 'Big Speech' Time" says the coach. There's nothing left to say. The strategies are there, to be tweaked on the court. To a man, everyone in that room wants it to be two hours later so they know how it all turned out. But, now, at this moment in time, they're unsure. They know they CAN win, but they don't know if they WILL. So many factors. So many unknowns. So, now, is the time for some basic truths. The players give their own inspirational wishes for victory, all unselfish, duly noted by the coach.  The preachers pick particularly apt things to say, involving both humility, and potential. But, at the last, is the most important.

Alan Alda, in a commencement speech he gave at his daughter's college graduation, said that, however a time was had at a gathering, it is always the most important thing that is left unsaid until the last thing...right at the door...before you turn away and separate and move on with your lives.  Whatever has passed, those crucial moments are filled with something beyond pleasantries, the day-to-day, reveries, and "catching up." "The Thing Left Unsaid" in case...well, what if you never see each other again?  What if lives have become so drastically altered in the mean that those unsaid words lose their importance?  Those Important Things need to be said in the times of ordinariness...not just special occasions.  And so, rather than lose the opportunity we say the last possible moment.

The most important things are said at the door.

So...these words. They will end this scene, and they will, ultimately, end the movie.

I love this scene. I love this movie.

I love my friends.

The Story: The Hickory Huskers, a small high school basketball team from Indiana, has, improbably, made it into the state final, despite set-backs, internal conflicts and a controversial coach (Gene Hackman).  Now, just before "The Big Game," it's time to go over the essentials.


COACH DALE: We've been all over this before. Their top player is Boyle, number 15..
COACH DALE: He..uh..averages about 20 points a game. Buddy, ya gotta stick right with him.
COACH DALE: No inside penetration. Shut down those passing lanes.
COACH DALE: And you gotta play tough off those boards. Negate their heighth advantage.
OFFICIAL: Hickory, It's time to take the floor.
ASSISTANT COACH: I'll get the preacher.
COACH DALE: Well, we're way past "Big Speech" time...
COACH DALE: I want to thank you for the last few months.
COACH DALE: It has been very special...for me.
COACH DALE: Anybody have anything they want to say?
MERLE: Yeah.
MERLE: Let's win this for all the small schools that never had a chance to get here.
SHOOTER: I wanna win for my Dad.
BUDDY: Let's win this for Coach.
BUDDY: He's the one got us here.
COACH DALE: Thank you.
DOTY: With God in Heaven, it is all one.
DOTY: deliver before a great multitude or a small company...
DOTY: The victory in battle...
DOTY: ...stands not...
DOTY: the multitude of hosts, but strength cometh from Heaven.
PURL: "Then David put his hand in the bag, took out a stone and slung it, and it hit the philistine on the head and he fell to the ground."
DOTY and PURL: Amen.
ALL: Amen.
COACH DALE: I love you guys...


Words by Angelo Pizzi

Pictures by Fred Murphy and David Anspaugh

Hoosiers is available on DVD from M-G-M Home Entertainment

For Eric


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