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Notre Dame Cult Classics

Maija Gustin, Jordan Gamble, Adriana Pratt, Courtney Ecklerle, Matt Brown | Monday, November 9, 2009

With the upcoming release — and preview screening here at Notre Dame — of “The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day” fast approaching, all the excitement on campus begs a question: Why does Notre Dame love cult classic “Boondock Saints” so much?
In lieu of extensive research and a definitive answer to this question, here instead is a glimpse at some of Notre Dame’s own cult classics. Not all are Irish, and not all garner the respect and adoration that “Boondock Saints” does. But Domers love them anyways.
From hilarious musicals to anarchical action flicks, Notre Dame loves to spend those months without football watching these movies, over and over again, getting them the coveted distinction of being Notre Dame Cult Classics.

The Departed
Just like “Boondock Saints,” Martin Scorsese’s 2006 Oscar-winner “The Departed” has Boston, crooked cops, the Mafia and obscene violence. Unlike “Boondock Saints,” however, it is a legitimately “good” film (hence the “Best Picture” award) and it has Notre Dame shout-outs galore. Martin Sheen (who has a history of characters with Domer connections) plays a Catholic police detective who brags (okay, mentions) that his son goes to Notre Dame. And don’t forget Jack Nicholson’s memorable final appearance in an Irish t-shirt.

She’s the Man
For three not-very-good reasons, the women of Notre Dame seem to love “She’s the Man:” It’s quotable, it’s ridiculously good fun and Channing Tatum spends half his screen time shirtless. Plus, for all of the pseudo-intellectual movie critics on campus, “She’s the Man” is an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s cross-dressing comedy, “Twelfth Night.” Let the academic discussion commence.

Wedding Crashers
There is something terribly charming about lying playboys who find clever ways to get as many girls as possible, as long as they’re hilarious. Honestly, who wouldn’t be entertained by Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson’s antics as they searched for the best ways to have a good time? The rules of their game are plastered over dorm walls for good reason. “Wedding Crashers” combines humor with fantastic characterization and traipses its audience down the aisle, dropping them off at the altar of two comedic geniuses. 

Mean Girls
Whether it’s torturing your friends with a sweatpants comment or a well placed, “You can’t sit with us!” there is a little Regina George in all of us. “Mean Girls” has become everything from a Friday movie night regular to a wake up call on how ridiculous girl behavior really is. Unlike most high school movies, it actually comes eerily close to the real thing — girls can be vicious. “Mean Girls” is a classic because it shows how close bonds can come out of it, maybe over a good conversation or even falling backwards into a group of your peers during a trust exercise. Just don’t say that you’re sorry because people are jealous of you, and you can’t help it that you’re really popular. And guess what — Regina was right. Fetch never happened.

Sweet Home Alabama
If “Sweet Home Alabama” isn’t sweeping the campus, well, it should be. Reese Witherspoon is any man’s dream — a smart, fiery, strong-willed woman that isn’t too hard on the eyes, if I do say so myself. Plus for all you ladies out there, word is that Josh Lucas ain’t too bad either; the man makes glass from lightning. While it’s nothing really new on the romantic comedy scene, you can’t go wrong with your basic big-time-city-girl coming back to town and having to choose between old and new. Come for the love, stay for the Civil War reenactors.

V for Vendetta
A powerful, faceless theocracy slowly wrestling away the rights of its subjects in the name of God and country. A young woman lost and confused in an oppressive society. A masked, mysterious, intelligent man fighting for long forgotten freedom. Somewhere in these dark images is an idea that Notre Dame relates to. From the elegant, alliterative soliloquies to the hellishly brutal violence, it’s a film of great performances, beautiful and disturbing images and stirring moments. But behind these, it’s a film of ideas, and ideas are bulletproof.

High School Musical
At first you may seem skeptical that this is a Notre Dame Cult Classic; it is a musical set in high school and aren’t we non-musical college students? Well let’s note the evidence that this Disney trilogy is indeed a cult classic here on campus. On average, one in four Notre Dame girls owns at least one copy of “High School Musical.” Then there’s the sheer existence of “High School Musical”-themed parties. And, though there is only one confirmed case, the presence of Zac Efron’s face on throw pillows on futons in common rooms. These three factors alone are enough to establish this High Schooling Romp as a Classic. If you’re still skeptical, walk into a room full of people and yell “What team?!” If anyone answers “Wildcats,” then this choice as a cult classic is clearly justified.

Rudy
Does this even need an explanation? “Rudy” is the quintessential underdog story. It is the true story of a young man from a small, working- class town who dreams of playing football at the University of Notre Dame. No one believes in him, not even his father or his brothers, except his friend Pete. But he proves everyone wrong and wins the hearts and respect of many along the way. The story is heartwarming and inspiring and has a great soundtrack. Oh yeah, did I mention it takes place at Notre Dame?