Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 10/5/00
Edition - 1993 (2000) - Columbia TriStar
review by Bill Hunt,
editor of The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B/B/C
Specs and Features
114 mins, PG, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced,
single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch at 1:20:34, in chapter
21), Amaray keep case packaging, Rudy:
The Real Story featurette, First
Down with Sean Astin interview clip, original "making
of" featurette, isolated score (DD 5.1), trailers for Brian's
Song and Jerry Maguire,
talent files, film-themed menus, scene access (28 chapters),
languages: English (DD 5.1 and 2.0) and Spanish (DD 2.0), subtitles:
English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean & Thai, Closed
"This is the most
beautiful sight these two eyes have ever seen..."
Anyone that's read the Bits
for any length of time knows that I'm a football fan. I love it like
I love breathing air. Every year, come August and September, I get
that feeling - you know? There starts to be a chill in the air, and
that can only mean one thing - football season's about to start. For
me, and for millions of other fans, the game is a sacred thing. It's
steeped in the rich tradition of hundreds of college campuses and
the deeply ingrained love of a particular team. Me... I'm a
Minnesota Vikings fan. Purple is in my blood. When you grow up in
Wisconsin, you're a Packers fan. Your family is filled with Packers
fans. If you're lucky enough to have season tickets, they've
probably been handed down like an heirloom. Hell - there are guys
who have been on the Green Bay Packers season ticket waiting list
for 30 years. You inherit a team from your family just like you
inherit your genes. Let's see... Johnny's got red hair, blue eyes
and he's a Packers fan. Football is a serious thing.
But, for whatever reason, there have only been a handful of great
football movies. There have only been a handful of great sports
movies period. There's Knute Rockne, All
American and The Natural.
There's Hoosiers, Rocky
and Bull Durham. But for every
great movie, there's ten pieces of crap like Any
Given Sunday (don't even get me started) - movies that
completely miss the point. Why can't Hollywood do better with sports
films? Well... they're tough to do. They're pure and simple, so a
lot of people tend to call them sappy or schmaltzy. And they're
predictable - there's a formula to them that we all know and expect.
How many of you would be disappointed in a sports movie if the
characters didn't win the big game? You expect the big game win - so
how do you make the film interesting? It's tough. But Rudy
IS one of those great sports movies. The story is based on a real
person, the characters are interesting, the acting is good, and the
story isn't as predictable as you might think.
Rudy follows the life of a
young man named Rudy Ruettiger (played by Sean Astin), who grows up
in a working class family in Joliet, Illinois in the 1970s. Rudy's
only dream in life is to play football for Notre Dame, but he's a
slow learner - his grades in high school wouldn't even get him onto
the campus of a community college. So when he graduates, he ends up
working in the local steel mill just like his father (Ned Beatty)
and older brothers. The only person who believes in Rudy's dream is
his friend Pete. But when Pete is killed in an accident at the mill,
Rudy realizes that he's wasting his life - if he wants his dream,
he's gonna have to go out an get it. So with little money and no
place to stay, he gets on a bus for South Bend. There, he's
befriended by a Catholic priest, who gets him into nearby Holy Cross
Junior College. The plan is that if he can make the grades, maybe he
can transfer to Notre Dame and then try out for the team's practice
squad. Rudy is also befriended by a janitor (Charles Dutton) who
gives him a job and a place to stay, and a fellow student, who helps
him with his classwork. But just getting accepted to Notre Dame
isn't going to be Rudy's only challenge. How do you win a spot on
one of the country's best football teams when you stand five foot
nothing and weigh a hundred and nothing?
I think the real beauty of Rudy
is that it isn't just about football and it isn't really about
winning the big game. It's about heart. It's about chasing a dream.
It's about never giving in when people tell you that what you're
trying to do is foolish. Some might call that crazy, but not me.
Funny thing is, all those things I just mentioned - heart, hard
work, determination, perseverance - that's what football is all
about. Add to all that a really great supporting cast (which also
includes Lili Taylor, Vince Vaughn, Robert Prosky and Jon Favreau)
and a moving score by composer Jerry Goldsmith, and you've got a
On DVD, Rudy delivers good
looking anamorphic widescreen video. This isn't the best film
transfer we've seen from Columbia TriStar - there's some dust and
dirt evident here as well as a little too much edge enhancement. The
print also looks a little soft on occasion. But the colors are
really nicely rendered. They're rich when necessary and muted at
other times by design, but they're always accurate. The contrast is
also wonderful, with good deep and detailed blacks. The audio is
about on par with the video. The disc includes a remixed Dolby
Digital 5.1 soundtrack that boasts good clarity and some nice
ambiences. It still can come off sounding a little flat at times,
but it gets the job done and the score sounds terrific (note that
the score is also available in 5.1 on an isolated track - a nice
touch). The 2.0 track is fine for those who will use it, and 2.0
audio is also available in Spanish.
Columbia TriStar calls this disc a special edition. I don't know if
I would, however. The disc does include a trio of behind-the-scenes
featurettes, but let's take a closer look at them. One (First
Down with Sean Astin) is nothing more than a 1 minute
interview with the film's lead. Another is a "making of"
fluff piece of the kind that is typically put together by a studio
to promote a film. It's okay, but you're not going to learn anything
new (and it only runs 3 minutes). By far the best thing on this disc
is a 13-minute look at the real Rudy Ruettiger, who talks about his
life and his achievements compared to what we see in the film.
There's real emotion to be found here, and it's a very moving and
interesting piece. Rounding out the disc are talent files and a pair
of trailers for Brain's Song
and Jerry Maguire (but oddly
not Rudy, which probably means
that they couldn't find one or the quality wasn't up to par).
There is one thing here worth mentioning - a bone I'd like to pick
with Columbia TriStar's marketing folks (and something we've been
complaining a lot about recently here at the Bits).
What were you guys thinking by showing the film's ending on the
cover?! Why not use this film's terrific poster artwork? If you're a
movie fan reading this, and you haven't seen Rudy,
please don't let the spoiler of the disc's cover art discourage you
from seeing this film. You will still appreciate the payoff - trust
me on this.
All issues related to this disc aside, Rudy
is a great film and it really looks and sounds good on this DVD.
This is an inspiring true story, and it's a movie that you can enjoy
with the whole family. If the ending doesn't move you, you probably
can't be moved. So hang up your cynicism and your fear of the "heartwarming
story" and give this disc a spin. I think you'll be very glad