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With Rudy Giuliani in the news, Twitter rediscovers the ‘Rudy’ TV movie

Few public figures have had quite the fall from grace as the former NYC mayor

Few public figures have had quite the fall from grace as that experienced in the last few years by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. The man who first rose to fame as a U.S. Attorney who prosecuted the mob had an eventful and controversial tenure as Mayor of New York between 1994 and 2001,  before he emerged as a national hero following the 9/11 attacks in 2001. 

Giuliani’s behavior in the Trump era has been somewhat less universally well-received. His actions as a Trump campaign surrogate in 2016 occasioned whispers that he wasn’t at his best, and he reportedly was considered as secretary of state before he was passed over, reportedly because of his habit of falling asleep in meetings

In the last two years, Giuliani has served as the president’s attorney on the Russia matter and later in impeachment, which appeared to involve very little legal work, but rather yelling on television on Trump’s behalf, making trips to Ukraine in order to dig up dirt on Joe Biden and his family, and occasionally butt-dialing reporters.

This fall alone, the ex-mayor first pushed a dubious story about Hunter Biden’s laptop, and later emerged as the leader of Trump’s post-election legal team, which involved an appearance at the wrong Four Seasons in Philadelphia, a truly embarrassing performance in the courtroom, and a press conference in which hair dye appeared to streak down both sides of his face. And that’s to say nothing of his embarrassing appearance in the second Borat movie:

This week, a clip went viral of Rudy: The Rudy Giuliani Story, a TV movie from 2003 in which James Woods — another man who has frequently embarrassed himself with his Trump advocacy — played Rudy. The clip, posted by movie producer Marie Mardi, featured Guiliani (Woods) and his second wife, Donna Hanover (Penelope Ann Miller) sharing a romantic walk on the beach: 

The clip had been viewed more than 2.5 million times as of Tuesday afternoon. 

The Rudy movie is quite a curiosity, even beyond its odd use of green screen, and cringe romance. The movie was based on Rudy: An Investigative Biography of Rudy Guiliani, a book from 2000 by investigative journalist Wayne Barrett, who long wrote for The Village Voice. 

Barrett’s book is extremely, extremely, anti-Rudy, arguing that Giuliani didn’t deserve credit for stuff like the drop in crime and the cleaning up of Times Square; that credit, the book argued, should have gone to Guiliani’s predecessor, David Dinkins. (Dinkins, who lived just long enough to witness the long, drawn-out, abject humiliation of his onetime rival, died on November 23, at age 93. Wayne Barrett, who also wrote a book about Trump called Trump: The Deals and the Downfall, happened to pass away on January 19, 2017, the day before Trump’s inauguration).

Barrett’s book also dug up that Giuliani’s father had once been arrested for armed robbery — granting a hypocrisy angle to the mayor’s tough-on-crime policies — and generally depicted Giuliani as a anger-prone, racist, womanizing ass. 

The movie, while acknowledging Giuliani’s controversies and philandering to some degree, was not nearly as anti-Rudy, the reason of course being that the book was published prior to 9/11 and the movie produced afterwards. 

Of course, I’d watch the hell out of, say, a ten-part documentary about Giuliani’s entire life and career, in the tradition of OJ: Made in America. It would touch on race, police brutality, womanizing, the rise, fall and rise of New York, and finally all of the grotesqueries of the Trump era, many of which intimately involved Rudy. The last episode could be called “Four Seasons.” Or perhaps “The Dye is Cast.”

CULTURE (counter, pop, and otherwise) and the people who shape it.

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