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"'Giants' gives a new twist to Indiana basketball tale"

Reviewed by Christopher Lloyd

20th October 2007

Be sure to read the original review

Basketball and Indiana are just one of those things: If you don't get it, you don't get it.

Hoops 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."

Robert "Gar" 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.

And 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.

"He's your hero, not your friend," she tells Gar.

Tensions 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.

The 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.

"Home 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.

Call Star reporter Christopher Lloyd at (317) 444-6326.

Be sure to read the original review

A wonderfully layered script brought to life by an excellent emsemble Rich, varied, suspenseful, touching, funny, exciting -- what more can one ask?
The acting was superb and I cannot remember the last time I saw a movie that had so much to offer in respect to genres

Skillful, believable and genuinely suspenseful

Intense, superbly crafted thriller

'Giants' gives a new twist to Indiana basketball tale

Home of the Giants
Bottom Line: A dark-laced "Hoosiers" that scores from all over the story court.

The writing is crisp and lean, a fine blend of angst and suspense and humour

Home of the Giants : It's brilliant  

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