We Are Marshall

MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +3

Content: +3

Matthew McConaughey, Matthew Fox, David Strathairn, Ian McShane, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, January Jones, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Huntley Ritter, Kate Mara. Sports drama. Directed by McG. Written by Jamie Linden

FILM SYNOPSIS: In 1970, while traveling back to Huntington, West Virginia, 75 members of Marshall Universitys football team and coaching staff were killed in a plane crash. A community steeped in football tradition, Marshall football was more than just a sport, it was a way of life. As those left behind struggled to cope with the devastating loss of their loved ones, the grieving families found hope and strength in the leadership of Jack Lengyel, a young coach who was determined to rebuild Marshall's football program and in the process helped to heal a community.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Well, I said it after the last twelve football movies and Ill say it again: the films in this genre are as alike as Indian head nickels. Of course, to sell the concept to a studio head, the pitch man has to come up with some sort of hook. In case of football movies, these hooks range from a girl fighting for and eventually being accepted onto a chauvinistic team, to the new coach having to rebuild his foundering team. Actually, those are pretty much the only two hooks for football movies. And since the last film about a girl joining a male team starred a teenaged Helen Hunt clear back when cheerleaders still wore knee socks, moviegoers have pretty much had just one type of football movie scenario that of the new coach rebuilding his foundering team.

Here we have a story based on a true and tragic incident. But make no mistake, this film isnt really about the dead team members. We dont learn much about that team. Heck, we dont even learn why the plane crashed. This film is more about the perseverance of a sport by those who think football is something God himself prefers to Sunday worship.

Despite the sameness of these movies, they can be enjoyable. First, however, it helps to like football. And from what Ive noticed about most football enthusiasts, just about any film where people wear helmets is their first choice for a Friday date movie. If the football action is interestingly filmed and the team roster consists of wise-cracking but sympathetic players, then pigskin zealots will go no matter how often theyve seen the hook.

Matthew McConaughey channels Robert Duvall in his effort to create a tough but sensitive head coach who must rebuild the team while motivating the rest of the town to rebuild the football program. There are some attempts at motivating messages about starting over and dealing with the guilt and anger that follows tragedy, but most every emotion thats tackled here has been handled with more filmmaking skill in past entries.

Theres plenty of football field carnage and of course theres the final slow-motion pass that will make or break the game. Nothing new. Nothing really challenging. Nothing really entertaining. And even the loss from the crash could have been treated with more poignancy. For me, it was just something I had to sit through. Kind of like when I have to watch Monday night football with a family football fanatic (of which I have many, may God bless and keep each and every one of them).

My video alternatives: Brians Song, Rudy, Invincible, Remember the Titans, and Facing the Giants (soon to be released on DVD).

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Warner Bros.

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: About 8 or 9 uses of the s-word and several minor expletives (damns and hells).

Profanity: A player starts to profane Gods name once, but the phrase is not completed.

Violence: A brief scuffle between teammates. We see a fire after a plane has crashed. There are the typical action sequences on the field.

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Several college teammates get drunk on beer one night.

Other: None

Running Time: Unknown
Intended Audience: Teens and Adults

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