I love football movies of all kinds (though I strongly dislike watching actual football games) -- The Blind Side, Little Giants, Remember The Titans, Jerry McGuire, Forest Gump. Bring on the sentimentality and the cliches because I love them all! But Rudy (1993) based on a true story starring Goonies alum Sean Astin, which I watched for the first time last night, is the current contender for #1.
10 minutes into this movie and I'm already crying. It has all the right ingredients for an American football film icon: an unlikely hero from a working class town with a heart of gold, a big seemingly unachievable goal for higher education, a constant chorus of you-can't-do-its, college branding, fall colors, and wide-angle shots of quiet misty mornings. It's got it all. Needless to say that I was an emotional mess by the end of it. Sean Astin was absolute perfection in his acting, along with Jon Favreau as the sidekick who never gives up and a young Vince Vaughn as an arrogant jock who Rudy ultimately inspires. I gave Rudy a 5-star review on Amazon streaming, tissues still in hand.
Out of 709 reviews, 85% were 5-stars, 8% 4-stars, 4% 3-stars, 1% 2-stars, and 2% 1-star. What cruel people would give this wonderful heartwarming film a 1- or 2-star review? What could they possibly hate about it?
Most of the negative reviews concerned technical challenges -- the DVD was broken, the streaming quality was bad, the sound was too low, and etc. One person complained that there was too much "potty mouth." Another expressed his dislike that the characters "took the Lord's name in vain." Someone else said Rudy was a "pathetic" character with an unhealthy obsession for Notre Dame, which 12 people found helpful on Amazon.
But one 2-star review in particular stood out:
Unremarkable. Trying to make a hero out of someone who was just dishonest. Read up on the guy and he actually was dishonest in business after college as well.
A quick Google search confirmed the bad news: in 2011, Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger along with a dozen associates were charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission for misleading investors. It was a "pump and dump" scheme for a sports drink company named "Rudy." It's tagline: "Dream Big! Never Quit!"
“Investors were lured into the scheme by Mr. Ruettiger's well-known, feel-good story but found themselves in a situation that did not have a happy ending,” said Scott W. Friestad, Associate Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “The tall tales in this elaborate scheme included phony taste tests and other false information that was used to convince investors they were investing in something special.”
The New York Times wrote about the fraud, here. Forbes did too, here.
First Disney and now this. Is there nothing we can believe in anymore? It's hard to not get angry. Where's the responsibility of the filmmakers? The writers? The book publishers? The people peddling his brand? Who's fault is it? Rudy's fault? Big business'? Notre Dame's? Hollywood's? Evil corporations'? The finger pointing can go on and on.
And on and on it goes.
Such is the story of man's folly in The Garden of Eden. When God asked who took the fruit from the serpent, Adam pointed the finger to Eve, "She made me do it." And out they both go...condemned to suffering for all of eternity.
We have Adam and Eve to blame for this too. So at least there's that.
I have many questions and no answers. Instead, I'll leave you with a quote from Father Cavanaugh's character from Rudy, which I think encapsulates the ironies:
"Son, in 35 years of religious study, I have only come up with two hard incontrovertible facts: There is a God. And I'm not Him."
Bits & Pieces
A place for experimentation, a place for pieces unpolished and unpublished, a place to work out thoughts and ideas for larger collections. Typos aplenty. Enjoy (or not).