Celebrating Indiana in the movies
"Madison," the much-lauded and long-awaited movie about the Gold Cup hydroplane Race at the 1971 Madison Regatta, opens today at theaters in Greater Cincinnati.
Perhaps it's my home-state Hoosier pride showing, but it tickles me silly that so many films made about Indiana focus on small-town hospitality, the value of doing the right thing and the importance of choosing interpersonal growth over personal success. Of course, that's all happening while the "underist" of underdogs manages to triumph over the mightiest of the mighty.
Best of all, the stories are true, or at least "based on" or "inspired by" the truth. Hey, as the saying goes, "You just can't make this stuff up."
www.madisonthemovie.com. This is the movie's official site. Filmed in 1999 on location in Madison, the movie is just now being released. (See story on today's Living cover.) Although actual race details are somewhat sparse on this site, those with fast modems or broadband connections will see some great boat racing footage from the film.
www.missmadison.com/index.htm. "Miss Madison" is the name of the community-owned boat that was piloted to one of the most unexpected wins in sports history now glorified in the film. The history of the race is told in three detail-rich pages. Hearing someone describe the events of July 4, 1971, brings it all to life. If you're not into all the technical information, skip down to the section about the joy and jubilation as nearly all 110,000 spectators rooted the unlikely champion on to victory and joined in the celebration that followed. Oh, and if you decide to attend this year's regatta, you'll find all the details about it as well.
www.geocities.com/Athens/Parthenon/8565/Film/breaking.html. "Breaking Away" was released in 1979. Steve Tesich won an Oscar for this semi-autobiographical story about Indiana University's Little 500 Bike Race and the clash between the campus elite and the "cutters," a derogatory slang term referring to Bloomington-area blue-collar linestone quarry workers. Led by Dave Stohler (Dennis Christopher), a misfit quartet of locals decides to take on and take down the snotty bikers despite their weeks of training and far superior equipment. This site features a study guide for the film. Perfect for the classroom and interesting for family discussions after watching the movie together.
http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/1413.html. If you think Indiana University isn't proud of the film, this page uses the movie as a backdrop for continuing media coverage of the campus and the Little 500, as well as to recruit fans of the film to take a closer look at IU for their college experience. Not only have the site creators included a synopsis of the plot, they also have included a "Breaking Away Tour" of actual sites where the filming took place and added information about this year's running of the race.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoosiers. The film "Hoosiers" in 1986 focused on a hapless basketball team guided to the state championship by a coach with a questionable past using up his "one last chance" and his assistant, an ex-star player, now an alcoholic. The story is loosely based on the Milan Indians' trip to the 1954 hoops finals. (This site points out just how loosely.) I love this movie, partly because it is one of my twin's favorite films; partly because my best friend was an extra in the crowd scenes at the championship game (although her section of the stands never made it on screen); but mostly because I grew up big on basketball. Remember, in Indiana they call it "Hoosier Hysteria" for good reason.
www.equidaily.com/sbiscuit.html. Shhh. Don't tell anyone, but this one takes place in my adopted home, Kentucky. "Seabiscuit" is the 2003 release about, you guessed it, damaged people who come together with a horse that can't win, but does and then goes on to become Horse of the Year in 1938.
Jan Perry is a Kentucky-based freelance writer for The Post. Write to her at SiteSeer2K@aol.com. Please include the phrase "about your column" in the subject line to ensure unscreened delivery.
Publication date: 04-22-2005