Friday, December 11, 2015

Mock Squid Soup: Rudy

MOCK! and The Armchair Squid are proud to welcome you to Mock Squid Soup: A Film Society, meetings on the second Friday of each month.  Last week, society members posted three clues as to their chosen film for the month.  Today is the big reveal.  A reminder on my clues:

- My film belongs to a genre that inspires eye rolls from my wife.  Interestingly, her home state has been the setting for a disproportionate number of the genre's finest examples, including this one.  Perhaps her disdain stems from the very fact that she hails from a place where people take the subject matter of these movies far too seriously.  For example...

- My wife went to a Catholic high school.  One of the nuns - the typing teacher - would lead students in prayer for the success of a certain group of young men each autumn weekend.  These young men are also the subject of my movie.

- The lead was a reasonably successful child actor but my film represented his breakthrough as an adult.  He was just getting started.  A few years later, he would be cast in an important role in one of the most successful franchises in the history of cinema.

Drum roll, please...

Title: Rudy
Director: David Anspaugh
Original Release: 1993
My Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5
via Wikipedia
Rudy is the based-on-actual-events account of Rudy Ruettiger, a runt of a football player who scratched and clawed his way onto Notre Dame's varsity squad.  Anspaugh and screenwriter Angelo Pizzo are the same creative team who brought us Hoosiers, arguably the seminal inspiring sports movie.  As discussed in my clues, my wife, an Indiana native, is not a fan of such films.  She doesn't care for sports much to begin with and certainly has little patience for their overly inflated importance in society.  I understand and appreciate all of this.

But I still love these movies.  I am certainly willing to concede that both Hoosiers and Rudy are sappy and predictable.  However, I would argue for both as exemplars of top-notch film making, particularly in their use of setting.  1950s small town Indiana lives and breathes in Hoosiers.  In Rudy, both the protagonist's native Joliet, Illinois and the University of Notre Dame are rich characters, vital to the narrative.  The last movie the school's administration allowed to be filmed on campus was 1940's Knute Rocke, All American which celebrated the university's storied chemistry department.  Just kidding, that one was about the football team, too.

The acting's pretty good, including a few stars on the rise.  In addition to Sean Astin (the future Samwise Gamgee) in the title role, Jon Favreau plays D-Bob, Rudy's pal and academic savior, and Vince Vaughn plays Jamie O'Hare, an underachieving tailback.  The veterans are strong, too.  Ned Beatty is Rudy's father.  Father John Cavanaugh is performed by Robert Prosky, a fine actor I once saw play the role of the Stage Manager in Our Town at DC's Arena Stage.

So, if you're a sucker for inspiring sports movies, Rudy will not disappoint.

Next meeting is Friday, January 8th.  I'll post January's blog list tomorrow.  For January, pick another society member's choice from our ever increasing library to review.  Today, please visit my fellow cinephiles, listed below:


16 comments:

  1. Squid, I wracked my brain over your clues and got nothing. I am now nuts and certain there is no such movie. However, your excellent synopsis has intrigued me and I will go look for it. Otherwise, I delight in this ingenious format and will keep guessing and learning --and appreciating your cinematic recommendations. Nicely done!

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    1. Thanks, Geo. It's always great to hear from you.

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  2. I think I've seen this, but I'm not remembering it.
    Sports movies aren't really my thing, either.

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  3. I never would have guessed so excellent clues! I had heard this film is excellent so, even though I am not a sports fan, I should give this one a shot:)

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    1. I apologize for the admittedly Ameri-centric clues. Yours were much better. You pitched a shut out for the week!

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  4. I've never seen it, but it's funny to think back about its release year, since I'd heard of it and assumed it was at least slightly older when a motivational speaker (for a student door-to-door sales campaign...) referenced it when I was in school.

    As far as football movies go, my sister swears by Remember the Titans. My favorite's We Are Marshall.

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  5. Great clues- even though I didn't guess correctly. I remember seeing this movie when it came out and finding it touching, even though I am not a fan of football. Loved hearing your thoughts. Thanks for sharing. :)
    ~Jess

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    1. To be honest, I'm only lukewarm on American football myself these days. It does seem to be good fodder for movies, though.

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  6. I'm not really into sports stories but if it's inspiring, then I'm sold. :)

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  7. It amazes me just how many men get emotional over this movie. I'm not much into sports, but I like a good sports film. I've always had an appreciation for the way sports can bring people together. This is a great story and a good movie.

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    1. I get more emotional over Hoosiers or, for entirely different reasons, Bull Durham. But your point is well taken.

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  8. Haven't seen Rudy, but I LOVE Bull Durham *sigh*

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    1. Bull Durham is such a well written and under appreciated film.

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