I saw the film “Rudy” for the very first time last Thursday night. I know, I know, believe it or not I haven’t been living under a rock the past 15 years, I just never saw it and at some point got it mixed up with that movie Radio and was even more convinced that I didn’t want to see it. The BF, a Notre Dame graduate, had been repulsed, to say the least, upon discovering my lack of football film culture. I promised him I’d watch the guy from Goonies throw a pigskin one of these days, just not any day soon.
We have a charming little independent theater right around the corner of our new place. It hosts a wide genre of movies and often times holds director receptions and actor panels. You can guess which film magically was playing…
I thought the place would be packed, we bought our tickets ahead of time, although it was full it was by no means up to the brim. As we walked in I was thrilled to see Sean Astin chatting with other movie goers. All I kept thinking was Sam Wise Gamgee was here and did he have the precious with him? We took our seats and the lights dimmed. There’s something about old movie theatres, the smell of popcorn and hushed excited voices as the crackling old projector spits out the beginning images.
For those who have not seen Rudy before, I will briefly give you the story:
Rudy is young and little and stupid and lives in a small town. He loves football and dreams of playing for Notre Dame someday.
Rudy graduates high school and gets a job at the local mill.
His best friend tells him to follow his dreams of going to Notre Dame and that it’s not too late (even though the guy is 22). His buddy tragically dies pretty much the next day.
Rudy tells his girlfriend and family that he is leaving them and going to South Bend. They tell him that he sucks.
He attends the local community college and works really hard to get good grades to transfer to Notre Dame.
He finally gets in.
He tries out for the football walk on team. He gets it because he lets the guys beat the hell outta him for practices without complaining.
His family still doesn’t believe that he’s on the team because he doesn’t get to suit up and stand on the sidelines during games.
The last game of his senior year he gets to go out on the field in uniform and play the last 37 seconds of the game. Everyone cheers his name. His dream came true.
Okay, so the film actually was quite inspiring and I was sitting back in my chair thinking about a) how incredible it was for him to have one big dream/goal in life and b) how incredible it was that he actually did it!
And then Rudy ruined it. The real Rudy. They set up the panel on stage with the director, Jon Favreau, Sean Astin and the actual Rudy that the story is based off of.
Real Rudy looked dumpy and on drugs. The other actors appeared to hate the real Rudy just by watching their body language. All questions were deflected so that Real Rudy wouldn’t start babbling some nonsense. What the hell Rudy!? So you were capable of overcoming all the odds and securing your one dream in life and then you just let your life go down the toilet? You couldn’t find another dream? Maybe coaching football at Notre Dame? Or finding a nice wifey to make babies to send to Notre Dame? I dunno.
So at the end of the night I was glad that I had seen the movie. But…
Rudy ruined Rudy.