When I was first hired here, then-editor Allison Carter said that understanding Indiana, especially the generation before it, requires three things: “Rudy,” “Hoosiers,” and “Breaking Away.” I said one movie was essential.
“Rudy” was mandatory for elementary school viewing, even in California. Overcome adversity, beat the odds, and more. This is a sweet movie, even if my younger self had no sense of time and place. You probably guessed that South Bend wasn’t the name of the city, but the gymnastics position.
A few years later, while I was running through the pantheon of sports movies, I saw “Hoosiers.”It was good at the time, but after living there, I understood its charm.. I saw a lot of basketball hoops while driving around the neighborhood and immediately urged my 3-year-old son to buy one in case there was a law he didn’t know about.
This week, I finally completed my homework and became a true Hoosier – at least when it comes to pop culture.
Last week’s column:Appleton: Here are five bands you’ll want to see at this year’s Indianapolis music festival.
“Breaking Away” has some fairytale moments and some downright silly scenes, but two things struck me. Numerous scenes highlight the gorgeous Bloomington area.
In one soliloquy, Dennis Quaid taught me more about class structure and tensions between Bloomington students and locals at the time than perhaps any book.
Quaid’s character is no longer a high school quarterback. He’s Mike — “20-year-old Mike, 30-year-old Mike, mean old man Mike.” not.
Mike is now just a guy who needs to find a job and work away for the rest of his life. Therefore, the derogatory term “cutter” thrown at the main character by the snobby schoolboy in the film does not apply.
And this scene perfectly captures post-high school boredom, no matter what city it’s set in. I know people like that where he graduated 35 years later where he was 2,000 miles away from the time and place of the movie.
A 2007 Indiana Public Media article stated that “cutter” was invented for the film so that the actual local term “stoner” or “stoney” could broadly mean something entirely different. It is said that it is because it became Of course, that is still the case, and decades of hindsight show that it was a good decision.
Breaking Away tells a great story, albeit somewhat narrowly.
My modern college-age sensibilities lead me to believe that perhaps there was even deeper inequality in the area for members of these various classes who didn’t happen to be white males.
Appleton:Ninjas, pork tenderloin and Hoosier-dom itself on the Capitol agenda
Bloomington’s trees and buildings are also one of the film’s enduring features.
During my first year in Indiana, I walked several times through Bloomington and Brown County State Parks (where some additional scenes were filmed) and the wildlife and colors are very vibrant. If they had filmed this somewhere else and tried to call it Bloomington, anyone who’d ever set foot in Monroe or Brown counties could have spotted the fake. I really believe so.
It was interesting to see the Monroe County Courthouse and the familiar façade that surrounds it being a completely different storefront. How many times must these businesses have changed in the nearly 45 years since this was filmed?
I understand that the Little 500 race and real-life cyclist Dave Blase are what inspired screenwriter Steve Tesich, who went to IU with Blase, but I’m more interested in fictional characters. bottom.
I would have liked an ending where Dave goes to college, Moocher settles down with his wife, Mike becomes bitter, and Cyril just takes a few more years to figure something out. How true is that?
Related:The iconic ‘Breaking Away’ quarry has been filled
But based on my recommended viewing, it seems essential that the classic Indiana story includes some kind of sporting and uplifting ending. And Teshik won an Oscar for screenwriting, so I was completely dismissed.
But we have to tease the last scene. In the literal final scene, we see Dave’s dad on his bike and Dave and the French student twirling around, making this crazy face and freeze capturing it in his frame.
what does that look like? Surprise? It shouldn’t be. His son, in his teens in college, changed his entire personality just to impress a woman. Hey, look, I found another side of this film that is timeless.
Another knock: The villainous man (Rod, played by Hart-Bochner) smiles and applauds Cutter’s victory. No, sorry, he was too jerky. The character looks like he’s 68 now and he’s still a jerk. I rest my case.
The ’70s were clearly an abominable time for fashion and home decor, but ‘Breaking Away’ stands above any other film that forms part of the state’s identity.
What other movies do you need to understand Indiana? Perhaps even made in this millennium? please let me know. I don’t mind doing some more homework.
Looking for things to do? Our newsletter features the best concerts, art, shows and more and the stories behind them
Rory Appleton is a pop culture reporter and columnist for IndyStar. Contact him at 317-552-9044 and email@example.com or follow him on his Twitter at @RoryDoesPhonics.