This Saturday is one of my favorite days of the year. It's Labor Day weekend, the fall weather is coming in and college football is back.
The first full Saturday of college football is jam-packed with some of the best matchups all year. It's the first real football weekend of the fall, and it's wire-to-wire fun for college football die-hard like myself.
When certain significant sporting events come around, I like to rewatch old sports movies. Before March Madness starts, I always watch the Jim Valvano 30-for-30. Before the Minnesota Wild plays in a playoff game, I like to watch "Miracle." This week I made time to rewatch "Rudy."
"Rudy" is my favorite college football movie, which has become a hot take over the last decade. Time has not been kind to the underdog story of the undersized kid that wanted to play for Notre Dame. While I do think "Remember the Titans" is a better movie, I have a soft spot for "Rudy."
Where it's fallen off in a lot of people's eyes is the dishonesty in the events of "Rudy," which could be putting it lightly. Almost every minor detail in the movie was incorrect from when the last game was played to many of the supporting characters not existing in real life.
"Rudy" is a biographical picture, which means it's a dramatized version of a historical event. It claims to be the story of Daniel Ruettiger, the ultimate underdog that beat the odds to play football for the mighty Notre Dame Fighting Irish. And to go along with the inconsistencies of the minor details, almost every big scene in the movie didn't happen.
If you haven't seen "Rudy," this column might not make a ton of sense. But for those who have, I hope this doesn't ruin the movie for you. For instance, when Rudy's teammates put their jerseys on the coach's desk in protest of him not making the roster, that never happened.
Rudy had a significant conflict with his older brother Frank. Well, Frank isn't real either. Rudy was the oldest of his siblings.
Rudy also befriended the stadium manager named Fortune, who famously let him work to help pay tuition and gave him the monologue that convinced him never to give up. Not only was Fortune a fake character as well, but the GI Bill would've covered Rudy's tuition struggles. Rudy was in the Navy, which paid for his tuition at Holy Cross and Notre Dame. The film didn't mention his service at any point.
The final scene shows the entire crowd at South Bend, IN, chanting "Rudy" in hopes that he would get on the field for the last few plays of the game. In reality, it was a small section of the crowd, and the chanting didn't start until he sacked the Georgia Tech quarterback.
The film ends with the team carrying Rudy off the field in a pure moment of happiness and celebration. Well, that might have been false as well. According to Joe Montana, a quarterback for Notre Dame at the time, Rudy was carried off on the field by "three of the biggest pranksters on the team."
Despite what is likely a sad reality, it's time to ask if this matters. Does the entire movie essentially being a lie matter to you? Does it matter that the real Rudy was the one that came up with the idea for a film about himself with so many inaccuracies? For me, it doesn't.
The more significant the historical event is, the more it should align with what really happened. The story of a scrub football player getting into one game for two plays has zero impact on history. If this movie weren't made, hardly anybody would care. If we are talking about a historical event like Watergate or a sports figure like Michael Jordan, it needs to align more with the truth.
At some point, I will bring up "Bohemian Rhapsody" again. As a Queen fan, no movie has infuriated me more than "Bohemian Rhapsody" with all of its blatant inaccuracies. But I don't have another 1,000 words to get into it. But in some sense, every biopic stretches the truth. You have to decide if that matters or not.