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1974, 20th Century Fox, 99 min, USA, Dir: Robert Mulligan

A superb neo-noir with Jason Miller (THE EXORCIST) as the can-do man who holds keys to stolen-goods depots in downtown Los Angeles. Charged by his syndicate boss, urbane John Hillerman, with buying up an unused block of warehouses for more storage, Miller starts to encounter problems. Like an unraveling ball of yarn, trivial difficulties snowball out of control, threatening not only his career but his life. Beautifully realized, from the low-key performances to the evocation of a dying-on-the-vine downtown - whole blocks of which have not changed much since the making of this film. The gradual building of suspense and the aura of impending doom - a feeling so borderline we're not sure if Miller’s just being paranoid - is intensely disturbing. Bo Hopkins is the friendly good ol’ boy apprentice Miller gets saddled with and Linda Haynes is Miller’s understanding girl. Screenplay by Eric Roth (THE INSIDER, MUNICH, FORREST GUMP).

1993, Sony Repertory, 114 min, USA, Dir: David Anspaugh

Short and slight, with middling grades and little money, Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger (Sean Astin) nonetheless dreams of leaving his working-class community and playing for the University of Notre Dame football team. Tragedy strikes at the steel mill in Rudy’s hometown, prompting the pint-size young man to move to South Bend. After clocking hours at a nearby community college, befriending the socially awkward Notre Dame grad student D-Bob (Jon Favreau, in his film debut) and getting his grades up, Rudy is admitted to the university and convinces Coach Parseghian (Jason Miller) to let him play on the football team’s practice squad. When Coach Parseghian’s promise of Rudy suiting up for one home game is thwarted by the arrival of skeptical new coach Dan Devine (Chelcie Ross), Rudy’s unflinching perseverance to achieve his dream makes for one of the most beloved and inspiring American sports movies ever made. With Ned Beatty as Rudy’s father and Christopher Reed as Rudy’s ill-fated best friend, Pete.

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