Another element Anspaugh captures so vividly is the beautiful rural scenery surrounding the farmlands and fields of the Mid-West. This movie is not only beautiful to experience, but beautiful to look at as well. The film also explores the passion and obsession of a small town that puts all their hopes into the local high school basketball team, much like how Texans are fanatical for their high school football. The setting of the film, the high caliber of acting, the innocence of that time in the Heartland of America and the underdog element of HOOSIERS all make it, unquestionably, one of the most entertaining, inspiring and memorable movies, sports-related or not, of the 1980s. It also probably solidified Hackman as an actor that can perfectly balance sweetness and toughness and make it look so goddamn easy in the process. If you haven’t seen HOOSIERS yet, you’re missing out on a truly magical movie.
Hoosier History: The Truth Behind the Legend (29 minutes): Not only do you get the actual archival footage from the final in 1954 that pitted Milan vs. Muncie Central but also the actual players on that championship team speak about that historical experience in this feature. The main point being made in this feature is that basketball is like a religion in Indiana and it always has been. Writer/producer Pizzo and director Anspaugh also discuss how they, and the film, came together, including the early casting of Jack Nicholson as coach Norman Dale. There is all sorts of insight from others on this feature as well; Pacers coach Rick Carlisle and player Reggie Miller chime in, as well as Bill Simmons, a commentator from ESPN. Of course, Dennis Hopper, Gene Hackman and many of the actors who were the players in the movie discuss the film as well; in present day. This is not a documentary revived from the late eighties or anything, all these guys were brought in special for this Special Edition of HOOSIERS. I can’t recommend this feature enough; it’s amazing.
Deleted Scenes with Introduction by Director and Writer: There are 13 scenes in all amounting in up to 30 minutes of cut footage. The introductions by Anspaugh and Pizzo are video introductions that play just before the deleted scenes. These are all worth seeing if you end up loving the movie as much as I did but one of the better ones is “Buddy Asks To Come Back” in which we get the back story on how Buddy, who was kicked off the team at the beginning of the movie miraculously appears on the team a little later on. This beautifully shot and acted scene puts that puzzle together. All great scenes here, actually…
Milan vs. Muncie 1954 Indiana High School Championship Game (40 minutes): How freakin’ cool is this!? You get the complete 4 quarters of the actual state final that inspired this movie, including the final shot of the game that won it. The last 18 seconds of the game in HOOSIERS are exactly what happened in the actual game. For this feature alone, the extras on this DVD deserve 5/5. Kudos to the producers of this DVD for including this wonderful piece of Indiana basketball history to the DVD set.