As they showed in Hoosiers, director David Anspaugh and writer Angelo Pizzo know their cornball. Their subject this time is an Illinois high-school kid, short on height, weight, good grades and athletic ability, who dreams of playing football for Notre Dame. He gets his wish. It’s the movies. It’s also a true story.
Sean Astin is a winner as Rudy Ruettiger, who earns the grades, a place on the scout team and, in 1975, a chance to play for a glorious 27 seconds. There’s little Rocky-like rah-rah. It’s Ruettiger’s persistence that his teammates and the film celebrate. For that, Rudy earns a rousing cheer.