Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Question for the Week of Mar 3-9: Rudy LIES?!?!

Rudy is the story of a guy who's not built for football, but his determination lets him beat the odds and take the field for the team he loves. Sean Astin's lead takes a lot of abuse, showing dignity and heart in a feel-good story that ends with his team demanding he get to play, him sacking a quarterback, and Rudy being cheered by name while carried off field.

So this week's question is: why did only half of that stuff happen? Why would Rudy, the heart-warming 1993 pic starring Sean Astin, lie about the achievements of its real-life subject?

I came up with this question because of something so annoying, I could only survive it by mocking it. The heating unit at the office kicked in with a clanging sound that was seconds apart for a spell, but persisted and built a steady pace. It had gone on like that for about a minute before I had to start chanting, "Ru-dy! Ru-dy! Ru-dy!"

Silly? Yes. But I made lemonade out of lemons, and my coworkers laughed.

Because I am a guy who thinks about pop culture a lot, even movies I've barely seen, I started thinking about the very random joke I had just made. I probably caught only two-thirds of this pic on cable, in the late 90's. But one thing I never forgot was what my football-loving friends told me long ago: that the film completely inflates everything Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger did.

that is the actual play that Rudy got to participate in. I know the angle and other features of the video are a bit dry, but you can take this as a fair account of what happened on the same day depicted in Rudy, the motion picture. In a court, this could be authenticated as true evidence.

So... this is the same moment, as seen in the film:

Wow, that's some A Beautiful Mind music, isn't it? You'd've thought Rudy just solved cancer or proved that aliens are out there, and that those ETs are chill.

Also, as you saw for yourself, there was no big sack and - I don't care how much/little you know about football, here - even going by the film, being called in for the final seconds of a mathematically-impossible-to-lose blowout is not exactly the greatest sign of respect and faith in someone's athletic ability, much less their powerful sense of determination.

If you want to just focus on the off-field factual mistakes, there are a few places that record the errors in the movie Roger Ebert called "a small but powerful illustration of the human spirit." They include the coach (Charles S. Dutton, in the film) not being antagonistic at all to Rudy, the team not having to force the coach to put Rudy in (it was the coach that insisted), Rudy's inclusion in the game was known a week in advance, and the crowd was not chanting "Rudy" at the end of the game.

Rudy doesn't need to be the story of a man achieving his most fantastical dreams to the utmost possible extent in an extremely-validating and public way - and given that it's 1974, I'll guess those were banging Ann Margaret, then becoming either the President or James Bond... unless you live in a highly-delusion world.

But I guess 1993 America, like 1974 America (or the America of today), does receive a lot of delusion in their pop culture, if not in other facets of society as well.

Or maybe they felt that no one in the States would be interested in Rudy: the Story of a Brave Guy and the Modest Return on His Managed Expectations.

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