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Coronavirus movies suggestions: ‘Hoosiers’ is must-watch

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managed wordpress hostingCoronavirus movies suggestions: 'Hoosiers' is must-watch 1
During the coronavirus shutdown, each day we will bring you a recommendation from The Post’s Peter Botte for a sports movie, TV show or book that perhaps was before your time or somehow slipped between the cracks of your viewing/reading history.

Hoosiers (1986), Rated PG

Streaming: Amazon Prime

Everybody loves a sentimental underdog story, especially in basketball in March, and this recommendation hopefully will fill some of the void left by the cancellation of this year’s NCAA Tournament.

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“Hoosiers” wasn’t a massive blockbuster hit at the theaters, grossing barely $28 million in 1986-87, the same years Bob Knight’s Indiana team won the NCAA title. But this was a true underdog tale about an unlikely team from a tiny farming town in hoops-crazed Indiana going all the way in 1952. (It was loosely based on the Milan High School squad that won the 1954 Indiana state championship.)

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Norman Dale, portrayed by Gene Hackman, was a former college coach fired for punching one of his players and hired more than a decade later to take over the basketball team at fictional Hickory High School. (The Indiana Pacers even have worn the school’s throwback uniforms in a few games in recent years.)

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Along the way, Dale ticks off townspeople and players and takes great pains to stress the ideals of defense and teamwork, even finishing one game with four players — telling the referee “my team is on the floor” — to make an example of one player he’d benched for selfishness.

Dale even takes on Shooter — the alcoholic father of one of his players, in an Oscar-nominated supporting performance by Dennis Hopper — as one of his assistant coaches. But Shooter relapses and finishes the season listening to the championship game on the radio while hospitalized.

Quote of note: “I’ll make it.” — Star player Jimmy Chitwood (Maris Valainis), when Coach Dale calls for him to be a decoy for another player on the potential game-winning play in the state championship game. (34-year-old spoiler alert: Jimmy sinks it at the buzzer.)

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Botte Blows: 4.75 out of 5.

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