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Ross Family Movie Challenge: 'Rudy' vs. 'An American in Paris'

Van Redin; Everett Collection

Every week EW’s Dalton Ross and his wife, writer Christina Kelly, have a…um, lively discussion about what movie they should watch with their two children (Dale, 12, and Violet, 9) that weekend. Now they make their cases publicly and you get to vote on the choices and decide how the Ross family will be spending part of their weekend. The power is in your hands, people. Last week, Dalton’s pick of ‘Galaxy Quest’ dropped Grabthar’s hammer on ‘The Secret of Roan Inish’. Will Christina be able to rebound from her devastating loss? Read on and then vote for which movie they should watch this week.

Dalton’s Pick: Rudy (1993)
With the exception of the Rocky film franchise — and really, how ridiculous is the Rocky film franchise? — I have certainly erred as a father in not showing my children enough inspirational underdog sports movies. Because they are pretty much all awesome. I know they are awesome because they always make my wife cry. Then again, my wife cried during The Hannah Montana movie, so maybe that’s not as telling a sign of storytelling prowess as I once believed. I did show Dale and Violet The Mighty Ducks, and they loved that, so it’s time to step up my game. It’s time to never take no for an answer. It’s time to put all the doubters and naysayers in their place. It’s time to make like my man Rudy and show them…Rudy.

We all know the (true) story of Rudy: Sean Astin plays a hobbit-sized guy with absolutely no athletic ability who dreams of playing football for the Irish of Notre Dame. Along the way he befriends a pre-weight loss Jon Favreau while using pluck and moxie to win over skeptics who eventually have no choice but to mutter things to themselves like, “Damn, that kid has heart.” And he does! Tons of heart! So much heart that… well, I don’t want to spoil the end for anyone, but rest assured my wife will be reaching for the Kleenex. And remember: If you vote this week against Rudy the movie, you are, in effect, voting against Rudy the person. And can you really live with yourself after doing that? So say it with me: “RU-DY! RU-DY! RU-DY!”

Christina’s Pick: An American in Paris (1951)
I am still stunned by my crushing defeat last week.  I was as outclassed as Donald Young was in his U.S. Open match against Roger Federer. And Young-like, I am entering this week’s battle with a heavy heart, the heart of a loser. For I have seen and loved Rudy. I’m not made of stone. It is, if not the Federer of inspirational sports movies, at least the Djokovic. Since I seem to have tennis on the brain, I wish I could counter with an uplifting film about a tennis player–but there are none to recommend. Which is kind of shocking. People of Hollywood, get on it, will you?

Instead, I yearn to watch a movie set in my favorite city, the Paris of the 1950s. Who can resist the agile, innovative dancing of Gene Kelly and the classic Gershwin score? Kelly plays a struggling American painter, and Leslie Caron is a fetching girl that Kelly and his good friend both fall in love with. I first watched this movie as a child, on a black and white set in my grandparents’ bedroom after Thanksgiving dinner. While they were playing pinochle, I was dreaming of a faraway, glamorous life.

A word about children and old movies. Some people say their kids find them boring, but ours have enjoyed all the classic films we have shown them, such as The Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins, and It’s a Wonderful Life. I believe it is good to expose children to old movies; otherwise they will grow up thinking all movies star farting animals. Not to mention that it is very educational for the young to see such ancient artifacts as rotary phones and people who chat in cafes without being glued to their smartphones.

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