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Essential sports DVDS (cont.)

Posted: Sunday July 17, 2005 11:18AM; Updated: Monday July 18, 2005 11:16AM
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HOOSIERS: Collector's Edition

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Cost: $29.98
Basics: Gene Hackman coaches a small-town Indiana high school team to the state title in a true-to-life triumph of the underdog beating the odds. A remastered print makes this film even more vivid.

Extras: Director David Anspaugh and writer Angelo Pizzo supply the commentary and also introduce the 13 deleted scenes. In addition, you can check out game footage, complete with audio, of the real Hoosiers team, the Milan High squad that shocked the state of Indiana by beating Muncie in 1954. Some of those team members also get together to discuss the movie, along with members of the cast.

ANY GIVEN SUNDAY:- Special Edition Director's Cut

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Cost: $14.97
Basics: Oliver Stone's take on the violence of pro football played to mixed reviews upon its big-screen release. But it has aged well, especially now that we know just how talented Jamie Foxx is as an actor. Still, the loud music and staccato-type editing might wear you down.

Extras: A ton of extras make this movie a bargain. Stone and Fox supply commentary. Foxx is also featured in three music videos (with L.L. Cool J), and Foxx's audition tape and screen tests also are available. There's a behind-the-scenes documentary and deleted/extended scenes, along with an Instant Replay feature of the game action sequences. A gag reel and a football montage are just icing on the cake.

Documentaries

PUMPING IRON: 25th Anniversary Special Edition

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Cost: $19.98
Basics: The film that put Arnold Schwarzenegger on the world stage was this 1976 documentary about the world of bodybuilding. As Arnold's stature has transformed from movie star to governor of California, this film continues to remain relevant.

Extras: Raw Iron not only details the making of the film but also provides outtakes. Iron Insights offers a recent interview with Schwarzenegger, and there's also a video bio of the star. Arnold also can be seen in a reunion of the film's bodybuilders and director. Iron And Beyond shows what kind of impact the film made, although the extras may not satisfy your curiousity on the possibility of steroids use back in the mid-'70s.

WHEN IT WAS A GAME: Triple Play Collection

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Cost: $39.98
Basics: The celebrated HBO series that revisits baseball through grainy video footage shot mostly by players and fans can be had in one three-disc pack. The combination of home-shot movies and homespun commentary set it apart from your average documentary. While not as comprehensive as Ken Burns' Baseball series, it will still give you goosebumps.

Extras: None to speak of.

HOOP DREAMS: Criterion Collection

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Cost: $29.95
Basics: This Oscar-nominated film (for editing) details the six-year drama of Chicago prep hoopsters William Gates and Arthur Agee, from their days as eighth graders until they become college freshmen. It's a sometimes dramatic, always compelling three-hour ride that received rave reviews upon its 1994 release.

Extras: Agee and Gates have provided audio commentaries, as have the filmmakers. Roger Ebert and the late Gene Siskel jumped on the film early; various clips of the two talking about the film are available. The original music video tied to the movie is also available.

TOKYO OLYMPIAD: Criterion Collection

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Cost: $39.95
Basics: Leni Riefenstah's Olympia, on the 1936 Berlin Games, is often recognized as the best Olympic documentary, a masterpiece of filmmaking. Bud Greenspan, meanwhile, is the documentarian most Americans associate with the Olympics. But for the best Olympic DVD documentary, check out Kon Ichikawa's ode to the 1964 Tokyo Games. There is little uncomfortable propaganda, no reliance on human-interest stories. It's the Olympics from the eyes of athletes and fans -- and a great director.

Extras: Film historian Peter Cowie offers a commentary, while one-time sports writer George Plimpton also weighed in. Also, there are clips from a symposium on the film, with Ichikawa discussing his work. In addition, the English subtitle translation has improved.

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