Sam He Am (Somebody Give That Hobbit A Potato So He’ll Shut The @$%&# Up)

February 4, 2010

As an ESPN-watching male, I’m aware that I’m supposed to love the movie Rudy.

I don’t.

I’ve tried and, with dire viewing options the other night, I tried again. It’s nothing against Notre Dame or the story per se, it’s the title character. No matter what was going on, Rudy was blathering on and on about Notre Dame.

Half an hour into it, I was hoping that Ned Beatty, playing the father, would take the kid on a rafting trip down the Cahulawassee River and trade him to some mountain men for a jug of moonshine or some beef jerky.

At one point, Rudy gets a job as a groundskeeper at Notre Dame and proceeds to re-enact touchdown runs as his co-workers stare slack-jawed (likely realizing that, yet again, they will have to pick up this jackass’ slack).

Seriously, if real-life Rudy is/was as single-minded as he was portrayed, wouldn’t someone have eventually resorted to violence, if necessary, to get him to stop talking about Notre Dame football for ten minutes?

This wasn’t the first time that Sean Astin, who played Rudy, has driven me to distraction in a movie. In fact, he frustrated me in The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, too. All that bellyaching for boiled potatoes (or something) and his fussing over Frodo grated on my nerves.

Of course, Paloma and I did make the regretful decision to watch all three movies in (mostly) one sitting. I think I would have been irritable after watching The Big Lebowski for that long.

(actually, that’s unlikely, and I’d like to see a remake of the trilogy with The Dude as Frodo’s sidekick instead)

Tolkien seems to be an all-in or nothing proposition. I’d read one of the books and was entertained but not indoctrinated.

But, Paloma and I kept catching portions of the first movie on television. I can’t recall if she had read the books, but I know that she gets a bit googly-moogly over Viggo Mortensen.

(this is why I spend great amounts of time making sure that the two never cross paths)

So, so we rented all of them and set forth on our own journey. We started in late afternoon and made it through eight or so hours before fatigue bested us.

The next morning, after a lot of nervously dancing around the subject, we trudged onward toward Mt. Doom.

(it was Mt. Doom, right?)

How long were those three movies on DVD? Twelve, fifteen, twenty hours? By the time we were midway through the final film, there was no more joy, just a primal drive to keep moving, to reach the end.

Oh, they’re wonderful movies. There’s some amazing cinema to be had, but probably not in such a concentrated dose.

(though I briefly came back to life when the Ents appeared as I am a sucker for talking, ambulatory trees)

Nonetheless, much like Rudy, we showed grit, hung in there, and eventually reached the end credits.

Rudy finally suited up for Notre Dame in the final game of the 1975 season. It was November. I was a second grader and certainly more interested in dinosaurs than music, but, according to the Billboard charts from the time, there were songs that would be quite well known to me years later…

ABBA – S.O.S.
from Thank You For The Music

I snagged a used copy of ABBA’s four-disc box for a pittance and, though I like these Swedes, I’ve only ventured beyond a dozen or so tracks once or twice. I imagine I’ve heard most of the essential stuff.

I was a kid during ABBA’s heyday, but I still remember hearing most of their hits on the radio. S.O.S. has always been a favorite. It swoops – it soars – it’s ridiculously catchy.

Wouldn’t a bio-pic on ABBA be a license to print money?

Jefferson Starship- Miracles
from Red Octopus

I can’t say that I know much of Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship/Starship aside from essentially the radio hits and 1984’s Nuclear Furniture (which, for some reason, I felt the need to purchase). I’ve always loved White Rabbit and I didn’t hate We Built This City as much as the rest of the world seemed to despise it.

As for Miracles, it’s a gorgeous track that always seems to sound better on a rainy day.

The Eagles – Lyin’ Eyes
from One Of These Nights

There was a time when, like The Big Lebowski‘s Dude, I hated The Eagles. Perhaps it was their oversaturation on radio while I was growing up. Though they had called it a day, their songs seemed to be playing constantly.

And though Lyin’ Eyes got played as much as any of those songs aside from perhaps Hotel California, the harmonies and resigned tone of the song made it the one that made me pause on the station. Over the past decade or so, I’ve come to appreciate more of the group’s catalog.

Diana Ross – Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To)
from Diana Ross & The Supremes: The No. 1’s

There were a couple summers where I wore my hair in braids and my stylist was a clerk in a record store where I worked who spent nights as a popular drag queen whose specialty was Diana Ross.

(and none of that is made up)

Anyhow, Theme from Mahogany is a pretty song and filled with enough drama for a dozen drag queens. I can’t quite place it, but I seem to recall hearing the song playing in the mall with my parents during the Christmas season in ’75. The memory is there, but I can’t bring it into focus.

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