What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
This movie is not on my list of essential films.
NOTE: This installment of Movies Everybody Loves That I Hate is not being done as part of a blog-a-thon. Instead, this is a monthly event hosted by MovieRob called Genre Grandeur. The way it works is every month MovieRob chooses a film blogger to pick a topic and a movie to write about, then also picks a movie for MovieRob to review. At the end of the month, MovieRob posts the reviews of all the participants.
For February of 2022 the honor of being the “guest picker” went to Jason Stershic of Agent Palmer. The topic is “College Movies.”
Now that we’ve dealt with all the niceties, it’s time to tell you why I’d rather drill my own teeth than sit through this movie again.
If you’re aren’t familiar with this film, consider yourself blessed. Rudy is a highly-fictionalized account of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger. Despite the fact “Rudy” is a complete fraud, for reasons I’ll never know, this shit-pile of a movie is considered by some to be one of the best sports movies ever made.
For lack of a better term, the people who think that are fucked in the head. Those who find this movie to be “inspirational” have to overlook several things to come to that conclusion. Most importantly is the film’s general tone; Rudy is a fucking terrible movie which is the exact opposite of what it pretends to be.
Do you think this movie is all about the strength of the will and the resilience of the spirit. Pick up another soy latte on your way to taking your kids to their “participation trophy” league, “Soccer Mom.” In fact, the title character is a complete wiener who whines his way to a false success which is completely enabled by others. “Rudy” is the perfect hero for those “participation trophy” kids. He’s a loser who when we pretend is a winner makes us all losers.
If you doubt that, consider the following…
1) D’abord…Fuck Notre Dame
For those of you who don’t speak French, “Notre Dame” translates as “Our Lady.” For those of you of the Catholic persuasion, you know “Our Lady” refers to the Virgin Mary. Combine the two, replace “Mary” with Money, and you have the perfect description of the University of Notre Dame…Our Lady of Money.
Asking any fan of Notre Dame about Irish football, and you’re liable to get a load of bilge about Knute Rockne, “The Four Horsemen,” or even the Joe Montana “Chicken Soup” game. See, every time Notre Dame doesn’t figure to be in the picture of championship caliber football (which happens to be the majority of the last three decades), Irish fans can’t wait to evoke the ghosts of the past.
Keep that theme in mind, because like most folklore….
2) ….The “Inspirational” Parts Of This Story Never Happened
Yet for some reason, Rudy is a “go-to” for when those spewing Irish assholes go full “spewy.” If you’ve seen this bull-fest, first of all consider yourself blessed. But for everybody else..from the first-time views to the true masochist…keep the following in mind as you sit through it and tell me where I’m wrong.
In a nutshell, here’s the reality. There was a real “Rudy.” He was a shitty high school athlete from Joliet, Illinois. He also was a bit of a lard-head couldn’t college-worthy grades in high school. He struggled to get them in junior college…which let’s be honest…is just more high school. Somehow, he manages to get into Notre Dame in his last semester of eligibility, despite the fact he spends most of his time crying in the dark clutching a Notre Dame jacket like the creepy loser he really is. Despite that, he whines his way on to the football team, whines his way on to the field, after which he stumbles into a meaningless tackle at the end of a meaningless game.
Obviously, that story needs some spice. So, here’s what they did.
Everybody remembers the “tear-jerker” pinnacle of this story. Well, according to Irish legend Joe Montana, there was never a “Rudy” chant and the players carried “Rudy” off the field as a joke. Rudy’s triumphant moment was little more than the real players fucking with him. Let your fingers do the web-searching…you can find Notre Dame players who hated the real “Rudy” as much as I hate this movie.
If that weren’t enough, remember the “Jersey” scene in coach Dan Devine’s office? It was completely fabricated. Never, ever, ever, ever happened. Never. Devine is on record as saying that any player who left a jersey on his desk as a protest would have been booted off the team.
Sure, I get the idea of “dramatic license,” but even for those who love this movie, doesn’t the realization those two critical scenes never came close to reality let most of the air out the tires here?
That begs the question: Why do the “Golden Domers” love history so much? There’s a theme throughout history which this film exemplifies…and with which I can answer that question.
3) Notre Dame’s “Cult of Personality,” Part I: The Coaches
Ever since Knute Rockne, the head coaches of Notre Dame football have always started their stints in South Bend with the pomp and circumstance usually reserved for the placing of the Papal tiara on the head of a newly-elected Pope. Dan Devine was no exception.
Devine ascended to the throne of Notre Dame football by coming to the Irish from the storied Green Bay Packers of the National Football League (NFL). He was beatified in the annals of Irish football when he brought a National Championship to South Bend in 1977.
In the movie, Devine is portrayed as the “heavy;” the coach who wasn’t going to let Rudy play. Problem #1 is that Devine says that wasn’t true. He had every intention of letting Rudy play. Not only does that skewer the “Jersey” scene, it blows a gigantic hole in the entire narrative of this film. It makes perfect sense; why would Devine put a guy on the team he has no intention of playing?
Think about it. This whole movie centers on Rudy being the proverbial salmon swimming upstream. At the time, Notre Dame was still relevant on the big stage of big-time college football; they just bagged a title a few years earlier. In other words, the Devine portrayed in the movie is actually doing his job…trying to win football games.
“Look, kid. I’m in the business of winning football games. I’m not going to do that by putting some short, fat, slow dipshit on the field against a bunch of guys who aren’t short, fat, slow dipshits. Now get the fuck out of my office!”~What Dan Devine should have said to Rudy
That’s what a coach of a winning team that is trying to remain a winning team would have said. Instead, this movie trashes a pretty damn good football coach for doing exactly what he was paid to do.
I know what you’re thinking. Why would Notre Dame fans have such affection for a movie which totally slanders one of their legendary coaches? Here’s why…
4) Notre Dame’s “Cult of Personality,” Part II: Revisionist History
As I’ve already established, history massively important to Irish fans and/or fans of this movie. As such, Rudy is little more than well-timed Notre Dame propaganda. This movie was released in1993, which also happens to be a watershed time for Irish football.
Head coach Lou Holtz took Notre Dame to another National Championship in 1988, but it wasn’t long after that the signs of the end being near were showing.
By the time Rudy was released, it was clear the “championship” era was over in South Bend; Holtz was trying to sell us all on some super-stiff named Ron Powlus as the next “star” Irish quarterback. But by this time, Lou Holtz couldn’t get a quarter back out of a pay phone…let alone find on that could play. So while Irish fans wait for the return of the “championship” days (now 34 years and counting…), they can watch Rudy and pretend Notre Dame isn’t a dying football power. If they have to sacrifice a championship-winning coach for that comfort, so be it.
5) Notre Dame’s “Cult of Personality,” Part III: Lou Fucking Holtz
The aforementioned Lou Holtz admittedly has nothing to do with Rudy, other than my conviction that it was made because of him. Like I said, that movie is all about revisionist history, and Lou Holtz is Notre Dame’s embodiment of it.
Here’s a guy who was feted as a savior for winning a National Championship, then was
run out of town took a “mutually agreed upon” early retirement in 1996 when rumors of NCAA violations were swirling. He was persona non grata in South Bend until 2008 when he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Then, not only was he invited back to the Notre Dame campus, they erected a statue of him in front of the football stadium.
But then he committed the “cardinal sin” of speaking at the Republican National Convention in 2020, after which Notre Dame distanced themselves from Holtz once again. But, just like Rudy and their need to chase the ghosts of the past, you know when Holtz dies, Notre Dame will have a parade in his honor to celebrate 1988. Then, they’ll put a tarp over his statue.
Here’s really all you need to know about the moral convictions of both Notre Dame and Lou Holtz. The very same university which consistently crows about it’s “higher standards” is the one who built a statue of Holtz, a serial cheater who got at least three schools (Notre Dame included) put on probation by the NCAA. Welcome to the definition of “deserved each other.”
By the way, Lou Holtz is easily the worst coach in the history of the New York Jets…which is saying something.
6) “Rudy” Is A Complete Dick
In all honesty, this is actually the part of Rudy which drives me the craziest. Everybody around Rudy is portrayed as the asshole, when really all they are doing is responding appropriately to his never-ending stream of “dick moves.”
“Rudy’s” family is shown to be unsupportive. Perhaps that because they’ve seen that he’s a shitty football player and they don’t want to encourage his unrealistic pipe-dreams. Or maybe it’s because they know he doesn’t have the grades to get into college. Or maybe it’s because they are all tired of his snotty bullshit because he thinks he’s “above” working in a steel mill like his dad and brothers.
That was enough to convince me “Rudy” is a dick, but like the late-night commercials say…just wait, there’s more! This movie makes “the bad guy” out of the girl who throws his ass out of the helmet-painting club when he’s the one who fucking lied about being a student. The “bad guy” treatment is also given to the teacher who wouldn’t let “Rudy’s” barely-junior-college-worthy ass on the bus trip to Notre Dame because it was for serious students only.
In other words, Rudy is so self-absorbed he thinks his wants trump the rules. Sounds like a perfect example of a “participation trophy” kid to me.
7) If You Didn’t Already Know…Rudy Is Completely Delusional
Like just about everything else he does in this movie, “Rudy” tries to get into Notre Dame and fails. As a compromise, he enrolls at a nearby
More High School Junior College. He also takes an unpaid job as an assistant to the groundskeeper at Notre Dame.
What Rudy doesn’t get in terms of money, he more than gives away in being the most obtuse little fuckwad imaginable. He spends all of his time haranguing some poor bastard named Fortune about how much he wants to play football. Rudy manages never to figure that Fortune is a black Notre Dame alum who also wanted to play football, but couldn’t because for a long time the Notre Dame “ND” also stood for “Negroes Denied.”
In other words, Rudy manages to equate his struggle as a short, fat, slow dipshit with that of a black man facing straight-up racism. I mean who doesn’t see the similarity there?
8 ) In Real Life, Everybody Hates A “Rudy“
You didn’t need to play high-school football to know a “Rudy.” They are fucking everywhere; you’re office is full of them…and we all hate them. In football, “Rudy” is the guy who needlessly screams while weight-lifting (and usually an embarrassingly light amount). In your office, he’s the guy who leaps to slam-dunk his Mountain Dew can into the recycle bin. In football, he’s the guy who parrots everything the coach says because he thinks he a “coach on the field.” In your office, the “Rudy” hits “Reply All” on e-mails with suggestions the boss will love and will make everybody’s life harder. The same guy who asks to run extra laps in practice is the same guy who “volunteers” the whole team for overtime on Saturday.
The point is that when “Rudy” finally gets washed out of football, he ends up at your work. He’ll suck at his job as much as he sucked at football, and there isn’t jack-shit you can do about it. It used to be that we could flush the “Rudys” of the world back into their own cesspools. It used to be that the world worked on merit, That meant high school coaches and bosses could reward those who actually can do something and leave the no-talent “Rudys” in the dust where they belong.
Somewhere as a nation, we seriously fucked up by a) dramatically increasing the number “Rudys” we produce because we b) no longer punish this sort of behavior, but in fact celebrate it. This movie is exactly why that happened. It’s no coincidence that we hit overflow on “participation trophy” kids after Rudy glorified that which never should have been glorified by telling as many…if not more…lies than the real “Rudy” did.
In short, “Rudy” whined, lied, and even made a moral equivalency between his soft, white ass and victims of racism. All he got for that was the football version of a “sympathy fuck.” Normally, we all would see him for the pathetic loser he really is. But because that movie demonized everybody who actually played by the rules, an entire generation of parents refused to say “no” to their kids, created “participation trophies,” and now your office is full of the guy who runs the printer out of paper and never re-fills it.
9) Total Football Bullshit
According to this movie, all it takes to be a football player is to want it badly enough. Rudy is chock full of scenes of football practices in which the title character screams his lungs out with claims of his ability to perform…then clearly demonstrates that he cannot. What he does is to cement the point he’s complete shit as a football player, and more importantly, he’s a stupid one as well.
This movie drips with examples of this, but the most damning happens during the last practice of the season. It’s really only supposed to be a walk-through, but “Rudy” takes it upon himself to pick up the pace. He blasts through the line at full speed and barrels into running back Jamie O’Hara. In the real world, not only would “Rudy” likely have got his ass whooped by half the team, he would have been on the bus back to Joliet that day.
Instead, the coach praises “Rudy” for his heart and chides O’Hara for “lack of hustle.” That’s total bullshit not only because that would never happen, but after this stunt there’s no way any coach worth two piles of cat barf would ever dream of putting “Rudy” on the field.
But that’s exactly what happens, which leads to the moment which defines “Rudy.” After all the years filled with all the bullshit…after all the practices and preparations he’s pulled to get to the signature moment of his life…the minute “Rudy” gets on the field in an actual game, what does he do? He absolutely proves he has no business being there by running around shouting at the coaches “What do I do?!”
So…who’s the bigger idiot? “Rudy” or the standard-lowerers who made a hero out of his dumb ass?
10) The Type-Casting Of Ned Beatty
A recurring feature in this series is noting a phenomenon I call “reverse typecasting.” This happens when when you see an actor who played a role in something which became part of this country’s cultural fabric, and even when you see them in something made before their face became associated with an iconic character, that’s all you can see.
Anybody who is familiar with the career of Ned Beatty has a pretty good idea where this is headed. That’s just a goddamn shame because for all the great things he’s done, and for all the films that are that much better because he’s in them, some things just can’t be unseen.
Here’s what this boils down to…I’m supposed to make a hero out of some lying little shit-bag who keeps fucking around with the rules to get into places where he clearly doesn’t belong in an attempt to usurp spots which rightfully belong to somebody who did the “required reading.”
That’s why “Rudy” became the perfect hero for “Millennials” a.k.a the “Participation Trophy” generation and the dipshits who parented them. Actually, it would be hilarious if weren’t frightening. This world is full of talented people who could really make a tangible difference; literally tackle the biggest problems we face as a species. But we’ve let the “Rudys” of the world take charge…and given them yet another platform on which to show they suck.
Fuck every “Rudy.” Fuck them harder than Ned Beatty.
P.S. Most people don’t know Lou Holtz starred as “Granny” on the 1960s CBS “sit-com” The Beverly Hillbillies.
P.P.S. To see my theory on why Notre Dame is the perfect cauldron which bubbled up a “Rudy,” just click here.
You can see all the movies I hate here.
Fucking hysterical, Dubs.
I’ve never been a fan of the flick. In fact, when people rattle off “Top Sports Movies of All Time” in any obligatory conversation sports fans have when they eventually run out of things to talk about, Rudy automatically comes up as if its Pavlovian.
Most great sports stories are underdogs stories and Rudy doesn’t fit that bill either, at least not for me.
I also agree with you that the movie is pandering, particularly the scenes with Charles S. Dutton, who’s a damn fine actor but is probably rolling over in his grave about the role. That clapping scene tho.
I look forward to the Domers’ responses on this one.
I live in Indiana. The Golden Dome is less than two hours from my front door. My guns are loaded and ready in case the Ukraine breaks out on my front lawn tonight…