‘This is a movie for us’

January 28, 2019

David Anspaugh dreamed that if he ever became a filmmaker, he would watch one of his movies at the Adams Theater in Decatur, his hometown.

That dream toppled when he was in college with the building’s demolition, but Embassy Theatre in downtown Fort Wayne gave him another chance to fulfill his wish. Sunday, it kicked off its three-film Sports Flicks series with “Rudy,” the 1993 inspirational sports drama Anspaugh directed about University of Notre Dame walk-on football player Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger.

Anspaugh learned of the showing by coincidence and quickly made plans to participate in a Q&A session before the show.

“Who are we to say no?” Jonah Crismore, the Embassy’s chief programming officer, said of Anspaugh’s unexpected offer.

Anspaugh, who posed for photographs and signed autographs in the lobby before the movie, said he visited the Embassy as a child, both for films and music performances.

“For me, this is the closest to seeing a movie in my hometown that I’ve ever had,” Anspaugh said to the partly filled theater.

Greg Kadziolka attended the screening with his 17-year-old daughter, Ashley, whom he persuaded to watch half of “Rudy” : his favorite movie : when it was on TV over Christmas break.

“She still hasn’t seen the first half,” Kadziolka said while waiting to meet Anspaugh, adding his daughter preferred to wait for the Embassy showing.

Anspaugh would approve. TV screens, no matter how big, don’t provide the same experience of watching movies on the silver screen, he said, noting it’s easier to miss things : both audibly and visually : on a TV.

He asked the moviegoers to raise their hands if this was the first time seeing “Rudy” in a big screen.

“That’s most of the audience,” Anspaugh said after the informal survey. “You’re in for quite a treat.”

Anspaugh spoke for about 20 minutes before the movie about why he and writer Angelo Pizzo sought to make “Rudy.”

“This is a movie for us,” Anspaugh said. “It’s not about Notre Dame. It’s not about football. It’s about how most of us are told that whatever our ambitions or dreams are, that you’re either not athletic enough, you’re not smart enough, you’re not good enough, you’re not whatever enough. It’s just not always the truth. Most times it’s not, and thank God. It’s been a real motivational tool for a lot of people.”

Before the movie started rolling, Anspaugh said he didn’t know whether he would stay for the entire runtime because a drive home to Bloomington awaited him. He stood in the back as the movie began, the sound loud and the images crisp.

The Sports Flicks series continues with “Breaking Away” on Feb. 10 and “Hoosiers,” which Anspaugh also directed, Feb. 17. Admission is $10.


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