Hoosiers (Best Shot) (1986)
|Year Of Production||1986|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||David Anspaugh|
John Robert Thompson
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Auto Pan & Scan Encoded||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
As many DVD buyers will already be aware more than just a few of the discs released here in Region 4 are coded for both our region and Europe (Region 2). More often than not this is a good thing. We get the benefit of a PAL transfer and the sheer size of the Region 2 market in comparison to the much smaller Region 4 market (the Australian and New Zealand part of it anyway) means we usually get a better specified disc. But it sometimes has its disadvantages. The release a few years back of Commando was probably one of the most infamous examples, with the Region 4 disc sporting a severely cut film due to overseas censorship standards being imposed.
Well, unfortunately, this disc, featuring a small film from 1986 has also suffered, not because of censorship, but because it was renamed for the European market. Apparently the distributors thought that people in Europe would not be aware of what a Hoosier was - so they changed the title to the incredibly corny Best Shot. I'm not sure what the cover art is going to look like for this release, but be warned - the title credits at the start of the film and the main menu both feature the alternative title, which to me just doesn't feel right. And in case you didn't know - a Hoosier is simply a slang name for a resident of Indiana, the US state where this film is set. It's also a title that is far more indicative of what the film is about.
Set in the small mid-western town of Hickory, Indiana in 1951, Hoosiers is the tale of a coach and his high school basketball team. Coach Norman Dale (Gene Hackman) is a man looking for a second chance. Once a college coach with ten years experience, coach Dale has spent the last twelve years trying to forget an unsavoury incident where he punched one of his players and was banned for life from coaching college ball. But he's been recruited by the principal of the Hickory high school to try and lift the fortunes of a team that struggles against the larger schools in the area. With a total enrolment in the school of just 64 and a team comprised of just six players, it's going to be a pretty tough job for the new man in town.
Not only does coach Dale have the numbers stacked against him on the court, but there's also plenty of off-court trouble as well. You see, the townsfolk take an instant dislike to him. His professional and no-nonsense college methods of coaching coupled with his instant dismissal of players who don't toe the line gets plenty of the more influential townsfolk offside. This tension, together with a few first up losses and coach Dale's appointment of an alcoholic assistant (Dennis Hopper) sees plenty of the townsfolk calling for the coach's head. But with precious little in the way of alternatives, and the eventual patching of the rift between the coach and the star player, the town has no choice but to give coach Dale a second chance.
Of course from this point on the story is very predictable as the team's fortunes turn and they start winning. Thankfully the journey to get to the climax is filled with some stirring small town moments (including a slightly stilted romance between coach Dale and the deputy principal played by Barbara Hershey) and some really well filmed basketball scenes. Coincidentally, one of my other all-time favourite sports-based human dramas is also set in the state of Indiana. Just when we are going to see the quite superb Breaking Away in Region 4 is a good question to start asking.
Expectations were not high before starting to watch this disc, considering the lack of a quality transfer in Region 1. Thankfully, on the whole, it's not too bad and aside from a little dirt and a bit of grain it's more than passable.
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, the transfer is also 16x9 enhanced. Additionally, the disc is also auto pan and scan encoded for those that prefer to see a 1.33:1 picture.
The transfer is reasonably sharp throughout and though there is a small amount of edge enhancement present it is not an issue. The level of shadow detail is excellent, which is just as well since some of the scenes occur in dimly lit places. There is no low level noise.
Colours aren't all that vibrant, other than at the basketball games, but this appears to be the intention. Black levels are solid.
There are no compression artefacts. There are also no major film-to-video artefacts, with aliasing in particular absent. Film artefacts are quite numerous, but most of them are small enough to seldom be bothersome.
There are several sets of subtitles present. I sampled the English variety and found them adequate, without being 100 per cent accurate.
This is a single layered disc so there is no layer change.
There are two soundtracks on this disc. First up is a Dolby Digital 5.1 track in English, encoded at the higher bitrate of 448 kb/s. Rounding out the selection is a German Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track
This isn't exactly what I'd call demonstration material with basically no surround channel use. There is just enough panning and other directional effects across the front soundstage to give it a multi-channel label, but most of the action is anchored in the centre. Overall it's a fairly harsh sounding track that lacks any real dynamics at all. Ultimately a two channel effort would probably have delivered the exact same result as this 5.1 effort.
The dialogue is clear at all times, although I must admit that some of the conversations between Dennis Hopper's character and the coach seemed to have been mastered a little lower in volume and had to be cranked up to fully hear what was going on. There are no audio sync problems.
The score is by the renowned Jerry Goldsmith and evokes plenty of drama and tension during the basketball games.
As mentioned there is minimal sustained surround activity, and the subwoofer doesn't really see much action.
|Surround Channel Use|
Running for 2:33 the good thing about this trailer is that it's the US domestic trailer and so features the film with the correct name. It gives away a little of the climax, but sums up most of what the story is about. Presented in a 1.85:1 widescreen letterbox format (not 16x9 enhanced).
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
From what I can determine, the Region 1 disc has been available for a few years now, and while it does feature a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, it is also lumbered with a non-anamorphic video transfer. As a result of the superior Region 4 transfer it's an easy win to the local product (assuming you can live with the incorrect title at the start of the film).
Hoosiers is among the handful of sports films that I never get tired of. It easily ranks with my other all time favourite sports film, Breaking Away, which coincidentally is also set in Indiana. Gene Hackman carries this film with the usual authority and aplomb that he brings to most of his roles. The only downer is that we have the Region 2 dual coded disc which means the film is known by its European title - Best Shot.
The video has scrubbed up pretty well.
The audio features a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, but for the most part it is anchored in the centre channel.
The only extra is a trailer.
|DVD||Loewe Xemix 5106DO, using RGB output|
|Display||Loewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).|
|Speakers||Front - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10|