Which pigskin pictures made the play-offs?
7. 'Rudy' (1993)
In 1986, director David Anspaugh and writer Angelo Pizzo gave us the greatest basketball movie ever made, "Hoosiers," about a tiny Indiana team's improbable run to the state championship. With "Rudy," the duo was back in Indiana, and back in underdog territory, as they told the story of Daniel 'Rudy' Ruettiger (Sean Astin), a 5'6" athletic non-marvel who bled Notre Dame blue and gold and dreamed of one day being on the team. It's at once an insane dream and one that's manageable for the film, which only has to get Rudy on the field for a single play (or, as it turns out, two, the second far more memorable than the first), after two hours of him doggedly trying to get into the school, onto the team (as a glorified tackling dummy on the practice squad), and then onto the game day roster. Astin takes a character who could be insufferably single-minded — especially as the coaches lecture other players (like a young Vince Vaughn) about how they need to have Rudy's level of heart — and makes him endearing and admirable, he's ably supported by the likes of Ned Beatty, Charles Dutton, Robert Prosky and a young Jon Favreau, and the score is one of the best ever for a sports film. Rudy had no business being on that field, and "Rudy" has no business working as a movie, but the finished product is one of those films that, for men of a certain age, must be watched to the end anytime it appears on cable.
- Alan Sepinwall