and Indiana are just one of those things: If you don't get it, you don't get it.
creator James Naismith reminds us in the opening titles of "Home of the
Giants" that basketball "may have been born in Massachusetts, but
it grew up in Indiana."
Gartland (Haley Joel Osment) tries to explain to the new girl at Riverton High
School why everyone is so crazy about the Giants. In California, where she's from,
there's the beach, the mall and a hundred other things to do. In mostly rural
Indiana, hoops is everything, combining sport, socializing and even a little religion.
Gar should know. He works for the school newspaper, covering the team everyone
thinks has a shot at the state title. And his best friend, Matt (Ryan Merriman),
is the star player.
Theirs is a typical
star/sidekick relationship. Gar chauffeurs Matt around in his beat-up station
wagon, basking in the edges of the limelight afforded by fans, girls and even
school faculty. He's content to cut his friend a break for his egotistical behavior
and tendency to berate. That is, until Bridget (Danielle Panabaker), the new girl
and fellow student journalist, starts to open his eyes.
your hero, not your friend," she tells Gar.
mount when Matt's jailbird brother (Kenneth Mitchell) turns up and ropes them
into his plan to rob a drug dealer in Indianapolis. (The film was shot partly
in Indiana.) The job goes bad, and soon the boys are checking over their shoulder
at looming trouble just as the state championship game nears.
acting is uniformly solid. Osment, growing handsomely out of his kid-actor cutes,
is believable as a teen questioning his roots. And Merriman impresses as a basically
good kid ruined by the grown-ups around him, who alternately spoil him or use
him as a pawn.
Writer/director Rusty Gorman (a native of Marion) brings a steady
hand, ably mixing teen angst and quick-cutting court action.
of the Giants" doesn't quite leap over the obstacle of its stale premise,
but give it points for introducing some moral grayness to the Indiana basketball
saga. After all, no one's going to beat Jimmy Chitwood around that picket fence.
Star reporter Christopher Lloyd at (317) 444-6326.
sure to read the original review