Mike Kueber's Blog

November 24, 2012

Saturday Night at the Movies #56 – 127 Hours and Rudy

Filed under: Movie reviews — Mike Kueber @ 1:25 am
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A few days ago, I watched (and reviewed) the documentary titled The Aron Ralston Story and enjoyed it so much I decided to re-watch the dramatization of the same story.  I had seen 127 Hours several months ago and hadn’t enjoyed it much, but I think I had been distracted.  My second viewing was a bit more enjoyable, but the dramatization, even with its Oscar nomination for Best Picture, doesn’t work as well as the documentary. 

127 Hours closely tracks the true story.  The only significant addition to the storyline is the apocryphal encounter with a couple of girls during the early part of Aron’s adventure.  The only significant omission from the storyline is its failure to describe the actions of Aron’s mom and work boss that resulted in a helicopter coming to Aron’s rescue after he had extricated himself from the canyon.  The documentary also included more verbal descriptions of what Aron was thinking (e.g., whe he finally freed himself from the rock or confronted a final 800-foot climb to save himself), while the dramatization seemed to rely on the actor to communicate non-verbally.  I often need the help of verbs.  Conversely, the dramatization of the amputation was too graphic for my taste, and I had to fast-forward past it.  The Rotten Tomato critics give 127 Hours a score of 93%, with an audience score of 84%.  That’s too high – I give it only two and a half stars out of four.   

Rudy (1993) is a sports movie about a kid who dreamed of playing football for Notre Dame.  I have seen the movie countless times, but watched it today because my son Tommy suggested that I bring it to his brother Bobby’s house for our post-Thanksgiving celebration.  That was one of the best ideas that Tommy has had for a long time.

The movie is based on the true story of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, an academically-challenged, 5’6’ 160-pounder who against all odds (a) earned admission to Notre Dame (as a junior transfer), (b) made the football team’s practice squad, (c) dressed for and played in the last game of his senior year, (d) sacked the opposing quarterback in the last play, and (e) was carried off the field, the only Notre Dame player in decades to experience that honor.  It’s hard to imagine a more inspirational movie, but Rudy placed only 54th on AFI’s list of the Top 100 Inspirational Movies – behind It’s a Wonderful Life and To Kill a Mockingbird.  I can understand those two movies that top the list, plus #32 Casablanca, #43 Gone with the Wind, and #53 Shane, (and the missing Liberty Valance, but it shouldn’t be behind Schindler’s List, ET, Miracle on 34th Street, Saving Private Ryan, Norma Rae, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Philadelphia, The Wizard of Oz, All the President’s Men, Forrest Gump, Gone with the Wind, African Queen, and On Golden Pond.  Not even close.  The Rotten Tomato critics score it at 84 and the audience gives it a 88.  I say four out of four stars, easy.

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