Hoovey: Believing Makes It Possible, Faith Makes It Real (Movie Review)

John FarrellBy John Farrell5 Minutes

As someone who grew up loving and playing sports it is only natural that I am also a fan of sports movies. I love a good sports comedy, but I think many of the better sports movies are more inspirational. Consider the following: Remember the Titans, Hoosiers, The Blind Side, Miracle, Greater, and, of course, the timeless Rudy.

They all have one thing in common: a protagonist (whether it be a football or basketball player or a ragtag team of Olympians) who defy great odds to overcome their opponent, environment, and personal struggles. They’re movies that provoke audiences to root for the underdogs and leave viewers high-fiving each other and possibly even wiping away a tear or two.

I would like to submit another title to the list above: the 2015 film Hoovey, which is based on a true story.

A Love for Basketball

There is only one thing Eric “Hoovey” Elliott (Cody Linley, “Hannah Montana”) loves more than his family – basketball. And when it comes to basketball, he was the best point guard on Olympia High School’s team with dreams of playing college ball. Whenever there is an opportunity, Hoovey (a nickname he earned after getting his arm stuck in a Hoover) can most likely be found working on his basketball skills or participating in a little game of one-on-one. It wouldn’t be unusual to find him taking on his father Jeff (Patrick Warburton, The Emperor’s New Groove) on their homemade court.

One morning, while playing a quick game of one-on-one, Hoovey’s vision becomes blurry, and he falls. His dad tells him they’re going that day to get his eyes checked out. Hoovey arrives to school later that morning sporting a new pair of glasses ready for basketball tryouts later that afternoon. Unfortunately, there’s a new player, Donavan (Brandon Mychal Smith, “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”), who just transferred from another school.

Donavan is the best player in Illinois and plays the same position as Hoovey. To complicate matters even more, Donavan is related to and lives with the coach, Coach Wilson (Charles Robinson, “Night Court”). However, to Coach Wilson’s credit, he never lets that interfere with how he runs the team. But to say that Donavan doesn’t like Hoovey would be an understatement.

Health Complications

During tryouts a couple days later, Hoovey’s blurry vision returns as he’s taking the ball up the court. Moments later, Donovan forcefully runs into Hoovey knocking him to the ground screaming in pain. Jeff, thinking it’s a concussion, rushes him to the hospital despite a blizzard. Their truck gets stuck in a ditch en route to the hospital and are eventually rescued by three strangers who push the vehicle back onto the road. When Jeff turns around to thank the three men, they’ve mysteriously disappeared.

After numerous tests and consultations with doctors, it is discovered that Hoovey has a tumor the size of an orange on the base of his brain. Unfortunately, surgery is required, and it is possible that he’ll struggle to walk and talk for the rest of his life. And, most definitely, basketball is out of the question.

Overcoming Hardships as Family

As if Hoovey’s mounting medical bills aren’t enough, the Elliott family is hampered by several ill-timed setbacks (e.g., two foals dying, two tractors breaking down, a septic tank in need of repairs, and a dead freezer). They’re even faced with the possibility of selling their farm to try to make ends meet.

However, through it all, Jeff and his wife, Ruth (Lauren Holly, Dumb and Dumber), hold strong to their faith and a belief that no matter what life throws at them God will walk them through all the trials. It is during these times when they learn the importance of family and supporting each other. And that together they will get through anything together provided they keep their faith.

Hoovey is a beautifully inspiring movie that encourages you to cherish what you have and not take anything for granted because your life can be turned upside down in an instant. It is a reminder that with family and faith in God, you can get through anything.