Movie #275 2020: Rudy (1993)

They’re back again. Sports movies. I’ve said it before, and nothing has changed: I will watch every sports movie ever made even if it kills me.

Rudy is a biographical movie which tells the tale of a young, working class student with big dreams. Based on the life of Daniel Ruettiger (nicknamed ‘Rudy’), his lifelong goal is to be part of the Notre Dame college football team, not only for himself, but to prove his father and the rest of his family that he can do it. When Rudy doesn’t get the best of grades after high school, he enlists the help of a local priest to get his foot in the door. Toiling away with extra classes to gain enough credits for admission and working for the football’s maintenance team on the side, the movie’s events unfold to tell the story of how Rudy struggled to make his dream a reality.

Rudy isn’t the best sports movie in the world. It’s not even the best football movie in the world… BUT I CRIED ANYWAY, GOD DAMN IT. For a movie with such strong sporting themes, there’s very little football in it. Though personally I love the sport, this is unmistakably a movie for everyone – sports lover or not. The emotions that this little doofus will make you feel will turn you into a crying mess of a human being, as it’s more of an underdog story rather than a sports story, and everyone loves an underdog, right?

Sports movies seem to be forgotten these days, as in no one seems to make them anymore. That’s a shame because I’ll say this one more time: it’s such an underrated genre. Rudy is going to be forever Sean Astin’s best role. Fuck Samwise Gamgee. Yeah, I said it. Did Sam make me cry? No. Did Rudy make me cry? YES AND I LOVE HIM. I honestly feel as though this is Astin’s best work.

From a technical standpoint, sometimes Rudy is poorly paced, but it’s super easy to be invested in this character that it makes little difference. And – as already mentioned – this is a movie about perseverance and determination rather than the sport itself, as is often the case with movies of this species. Perhaps the nicest thing about it however is the choice of cinematography, which is in keeping with the 60s and 70s vibe of it all. Released in 1993, but feels like a time capsule back to the days of hippies and flairs.

Strangely, the final scene – whilst heartwarming and feel good – ended too quickly with one of those obligatory facts that most sports movies conclude with. While the film itself is super emotive, one can’t help but feel as though a little sequence afterwards so we could see an excerpt of Rudy’s life post-college wouldn’t have gone amiss.

Despite that, I can’t give this any less than 4 stars because I love sports and I love Rudy. Don’t @ me, Lord of the Rings fans.

Rudy is available to stream on Netflix in the UK.

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