Knute Rockne: All American
Perhaps Ronald Reagan’s greatest talent was his ability to float to the top. Although he occupies a small portion of Knute Rockne: All American, a paean to the pioneering Notre Dame football coach, Reagan’s George ”The Gipper” Gipp is the character everyone remembers. Reagan learns the focus with a raffish, languid performance and the sentimental hook of his motivational demise, but Pat O’Brien deserves credit for his sui generis full-steam-ahead take on Rockne — fake nose and all — from the legend’s teen years on. When called before a committee investigating college football, he’s positively Shatneresque in laying out what his boys have learned: ”Southerners aren’t lazy, Northerners aren’t cold, Middle Westerners aren’t hicks, and Californians aren’t big and dumb.” EXTRAS Only diehards will get how an Oscar-winning short about Teddy Roosevelt ties in (he pushed for more stringent safety measures in college games, resulting in the legalization of Rockne’s trademark forward pass), but Sidney Blackmer, who plays TR like a character from Team America: World Police, is not to be missed. And take in the pun-heavy Porky Pig cartoon for the full ’40s experience.
Knute Rockne: All-American