Sunday, May 2, 2010

Rudy (1993)

The first movie on the list. So chosen because it encapsulates several of the core values of Inspirational Sports Movies: based on a true story, underdog makes good, slow clap, death, montages.

Ladies and Gents, I present to you....RUDY

of course it is

Meet Rudy and his attractive friend, Pete.

So, Rudy is this working class kid from Joliet, Illinois (home to this prison). Also, although the movie doesn't really make it clear, other than showing a million kids in the house, Rudy is the third of fourteen children (his poor mother).

Rudy loves his dad.
Rudy's dad loves Notre Dame football.
Therefore, Rudy loves Notre Dame football.

It is only Inspirational Sports Movie logic that Rudy decides to go to Notre Dame (the school, not the church) to play football for the Fighting Irish!

But his teacher tells him he's too dumb to go to Notre Dame and won't even let him get on the bus for the campus tour.

Thanks for nothing, vessel of the Word of the Lord!

Rudy has best friend named Pete. Pete is the only person who ever really believed in Rudy. They work together at a dangerous-looking factory (lots of sparks and greasy, oily machines). Pete buys Rudy a Notre Dame jacket for his birthday. Rudy says, "Pete, you're the only person who ever believed in me." (or something like that) and then, five minutes later, Pete gets blown up in a factory explosion. It's really sad.

Immediately after Pete's funeral, Rudy takes a bus to Notre Dame and tells another Priest that he wants to go to Notre Dame:

This guy is all "you crazy," but he works some Jesus magic and gets Rudy into Holy Cross, where he can study and try to transfer to Notre Dame. Crazy Academia!

So, Rudy studies and studies and studies and sleeps in a groundskeepers' locker room. And Charles S. Dutton becomes his mentor and Jon Favreau becomes his tutor. And then, after four semesters at Holy Cross and countless (homelessness, dyslexia, fraud, unemployment) obstacles, Rudy GETS INTO NOTRE DAME!!!! OMG!!!!

And then it's time to join the football team, training montage!

Did I mention that Vince Vaughn is in this movie?

He was a hot young thing, wasn't he?

Hi Vince


Well, after weeks of showing how much he never gives up in try-outs, Rudy makes the practice squad! And he has SO MUCH HEART that he's not only making the other guys look bad, he's risking personal injury.


His teammate tells Rudy to lay off because he is concerned for Rudy's safety.

Rudy explains that if he doesn't do his best, he's not doing his job to prep the team for the game....That friends, is HEART.

The coach explains this to Vince Vaughn after he freaks out about Rudy's big heart making everyone else look bad. The coach tells Vince Vaughn that if he had HALF THE HEART of Rudy, he coulda been an All-American instead of a has-been, which is what he is and always will be!

And then he kicks dirt!

Then, after all those years of trying and studying and being homeless and dyslexic and short (Rudy is only 5'6"), the time comes for the final game of the season and, when Rudy looks at the roster, he sees that he's not on the list. So he QUITS THE TEAM!

Rudy! No! What about your Heart?!

Then Charles S. Dutton explains to Rudy that he is DAMN LUCKY to have gained such a fine education at such a fine institution and it is very inspirational!

After much turmoil and introspection, Rudy goes to the final practice, even though he's not playing in the final game. You know what that is, friends? That's heart.

This is what a slow clap looks like, done right.

Football is a team sport. The team is only as strong as the weakest link. Or, in the case of Rudy, only as strong as the guy with the biggest heart.

So, one-by-one....the night before the game.... Rudy's teammates walk into the coach's office..... (sorry if I have typos here, I'm crying on my keyboard) and put their jerseys on the coaches desk and they say....."I want Rudy to play in my place, Coach."

Tears. Tears on my face.

Well, what do you know, Rudy gets to play! And he leads the team onto the field!

And his family, who up until this point were completely unsupportive, including his dad who told him he was too dumb for school and his brother who constantly told Rudy that he was a loser for having dreams and his other brother who married Rudy's fiancee, even they're at the game!

We love and support you now that a movie is
going to be made about you one day!(Boy is our
previous behavior going to be embarrassing, eeeg.)

In the final seconds of the game, it doesn't look like Rudy is going to actually play, but due to a chant of, (say it with me) "Rudy, Rudy, Rudy, Rudy" the coach gives in and lets Rudy play. And then, do you know what happens, do you?!

Rudy sacks the other team's quarterback! Yay!

And then he gets carried off the field!

It's a big deal!

Rudy is most definitely one of the best Inspirational Sports Movies ever made, but it is not without its faults. The character of Rudy is almost too obsessed with this idea of playing football for Notre Dame. As I was watching I became concerned for Rudy's mental health. What is a healthy young man doing putting so much focus on football when there is life to be lived?! Even when he seems to be beginning a flirtation with a nice young lady, he is only talking to her so he can become a part of the booster club for the football team. He's a 20-something man who is more psyched to paint football helmets than he is to talk to a girl! C'mon!

I know, we want the focus to be on overcoming obstacles and all that, but the googley-eyed dreaminess of it all just washed over the homelessness and the loneliness and the running up that hill of it all.

In the same way that the Blind Side sort of made its hero into, well, a simpleton (the real Michael Oher made the Dean's list in college), Rudy turns Daniel Ruettiger into a bit of a starry-eyed man-boy with such an overwhelming singular dream that it almost becomes comical. I mean, Rudy got on a bus immediately after his best friend's funeral so he could pursue this dream... C'mon Rudy, there's got be something deeper going on....something's gotta give. TELL ME HOW YOU FEEL!

Or don't. I always get peeved when someone wants me to get over-explainy in my writing. So, nevermind what I said, Rudy. You're the best!

They ain't called INSPIRATIONAL movies for nuthin'.

Rudy provides all that an Inspirational Sports Movie really needs to provide: a loveable underdog, tears on my face, and montages.

Thanks, Rudy, you are a very good movie.



  1. well, this is hilarious and wonderful.

  2. Charles S. Dutton claps twice in that sack scene. I think that is a better slow clap than the first one even. I always started bawling during that one.