I watched James Woods play Rudy Giuliani in a TV film, pre-disgrace

  • The web howled on the unintentionally hilarious viral clip of James Woods enjoying Rudy Giuliani in a 2003 TV biopic.
  • I went again and watched “Rudy: The Rudy Giuliani Story,” and I’m shocked to report that it’s not horrible. 
  • In the 17 years because the film was launched, the Emmy-winning, Oscar-nominated Woods has turn out to be a infamous right-wing web troll, whereas Giuliani has sullied his fame by evolving into President Donald Trump’s most publicly disgraceful advisor. 
  • Woods and Giuliani could be nationwide embarrassments now, but it surely’s no fault of “Rudy” the TV film.
  • This is an opinion column. The ideas expressed are these of the creator.
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“I’m just not much of a cuddler,” mentioned the actor James Woods, enjoying the titular character in the 2003 TV biopic “Rudy: The Rudy Giuliani Story.”

This “cuddler” clip from the movie went viral on Twitter this week, and for good cause. It depicts Giuliani courting his future second ex-wife, Donna Hanover (performed by Penelope Ann Miller), on a moonlit stroll on the seashore with an clearly green-screened “ocean” in the background.

Dated manufacturing values apart, the clip is jarring as a result of it harks again to a time — which can be arduous to consider for anybody below 30 — when each Woods and Giuliani weren’t the nationwide embarrassments they’re at present.

I watched “Rudy” on Amazon Prime, absolutely anticipating the remainder of the film to be as laughably dangerous because the beach-stroll scene. Shockingly, for a 17-year-old made-for-basic-cable biopic, it isn’t horrible.

Capsule ‘Rudy’ overview: Kind of OK!

I’m as stunned as anybody, however “Rudy” is a kind-of-OK TV film.

The scenes depicting Giuliani’s actions on the morning of 9/11 — when he scurried from constructing to constructing making an attempt to outlive the collapsing towers and keep a functioning authorities — have an efficient docudrama really feel to them, not not like the Oscar-nominated 2007 movie “United 93.”

And when Woods (as Giuliani) is angrily barking at his staffers, psychologically abusing his spouse, and riling up a whole lot of cops with an incendiary “tough on crime” speech — the actor actually captures his topic.

Also to the filmmakers’ credit score, “Rudy” is not any hagiography. The script is predicated on the e book “Rudy!” by the longtime Village Voice investigative reporter Wayne Barrett — who spent a giant portion of his profession aggressively chronicling and skewering each Giuliani and Donald Trump.

Giuliani’s bare ambition, racial insensitivity, wanton cruelty, and heavy ingesting are all plainly depicted. The true-to-life scene in which Giuliani tells the press he is separating from Hanover — earlier than he even instructed his spouse — is each rage- and squirm-inducing.

While it is robust to be shocked by a lot anymore, I was shocked that the howl-inducing beach-stroll clip from “Rudy” was not indicative of the film as a entire, which for its time and milieu was fairly good.

Giuliani, a lawyer for President Donald Trump, at a information convention on November 19.

Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo

The revered character actor and ‘America’s Mayor’

At the time “Rudy” aired on USA Network, Woods had been a revered character actor for the higher a part of three a long time, working with esteemed administrators like Sergio Leone, Oliver Stone, and Martin Scorsese. He appeared in a traditional early “Simpsons” episode, lampooning his over-the-top intense display presence. He was a two-time Oscar nominee and an Emmy-winner. He even received Emmy nods for each “Rudy” and for enjoying the odious Trump mentor Roy Cohn in the 1992 HBO film “Citizen Cohn.”

Concurrently, Giuliani in 2003 was lower than two years faraway from being Time journal’s Person of the Year, was broadly revered for his management on 9/11 and its rapid aftermath, and was already touted among the many GOP front-runners for the 2008 presidential nomination.

Flash ahead 17 years later, and Woods is a prototypical angry-boomer social-media troll. Over the previous decade, the actor has turn out to be higher recognized for his hard-right pro-Trump rants, conspiracy theories, and baseless accusations like calling Democrats “virulent anti-Semites” than for his performing.

Woods has been suspended by Twitter a number of occasions, to which he as soon as responded: “If you want to kill my free speech, man up and slit my throat with a knife.” As free-speech vacationers will do, nevertheless, Woods in 2015 sued a random Twitter consumer who referred to as him a “cocaine addict.”

Over that very same interval, the erstwhile “America’s Mayor” Giuliani launched a transient and disastrous run for president, received divorced for a third time (with his ex alleging he was serially untrue and ingesting closely), and has turn out to be higher recognized for unhinged cable-TV appearances than for his calm, empathetic demeanor as America’s mourner-in-chief in 2001.

For good measure, Giuliani additionally hatched the Ukrainian shakedown scheme that received Trump impeached, and he has since moved on to the “nationwide embarrassment” stage of his distinguished profession, pursuing baseless voter-fraud conspiracy theories and undermining democracy to the bitter finish.

Woods and Giuliani have destroyed no matter optimistic reputations that they had, however of all of the issues they need to be embarrassed about, “Rudy” isn’t considered one of them.

This is an opinion column. The ideas expressed are these of the creator(s).

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