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We Are Marshall
DVD disk
09.25.2007 By: Quigles
We Are Marshall order
Director:
McG

Actors:
Matthew McConaughey
Matthew Fox
David Strathairn

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
When a plane crash causes the deaths of 36 members of the Marshall University football team, as well as 39 coaches and fans, the surviving players do everything in their power to keep the program alive.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
When it comes to movies like CHARLIE'S ANGELS, lacking subtlety is a non-issue. WE ARE MARSHALL makes me wonder if McG thought that applied to all films. It tries to be this powerful, tear-jerking story about a town that fought through their grief and found a way to honor and respect the team they lost, but every emotional moment is overdone to the point of obnoxiousness. When females cry, their mascara runs like crazy. When men cry, they shed a single tear, as they stand stone-faced with their bottom lips trembling. When the team of football players' plane comes crashing down, the remaining players show up at the scene, and suddenly the camera starts thrusting about in every direction, blatantly attempting to emit a feeling of wartime chaos. A better director would've chosen something less intrusive.

If you're going to make a movie where almost half of it is people crying, and the other half of it is people talking about why they're crying, then you should be focused on evoking a sense of believability for the audience to connect with. People don't connect with swelling violins and overly dramatic slow motion; or at least, not on anything more than a superficial level.

Not that McG is at fault for all of the film's miscalculations. He actually suits the screenplay, which is just as much to blame for the artificial, manufactured bullshit that's so often prevalent. I guess studios think as long as you slap a "based on a true story" tag to a film, it has all the realism it needs. But with a tale like this, the smaller moments are what counts, and without genuine dialogue or an honest approach to the filmmaking (meaning, not constant attempts to manipulate the audience's emotions), the whole thing falls apart.

Matthew McConaughey eventually shows up to have the film change pace from being a by-the-numbers sports drama to being a by-the-numbers sports comedy, and then back to sports drama again about twenty minutes later. Finally, it comes time for the climactic final game, which actually is the second game of the season. The reason for this is obvious: Hollywood wanted a happy ending, and WE ARE MARSHALL didn't have one. After winning that one game, the team did horribly for the rest of the season, and years after that as well. I guess the victory is supposed to symbolize them honoring their lost teammates, but I fail to see how exactly a single winning game of football can do that. And I also fail to see how losing 75 people in a plane crash can be overcome with something as trivial as football to begin with. I'm sorry, but sports do have their limits.
THE EXTRAS
Shockingly little in the way of special features.

Legendary Coaches: How Coaches Overcome Adversity (36:57): A documentary featuring interviews from the real life counterparts of the film's characters, including Jack Lengyel, Bobby Bowden, Lute Olson, Pat Summit, and George Horton. Very interesting stuff.

Marshall Now (01:00): An ad for Marshall University.

There's also a Theatrical Trailer.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
I sense most viewers will become wrapped up in WE ARE MARSHALL. It's a powerful and affecting true story, guaranteed to wring some tears from its audience. I wonder how many people will see past this and notice just how much Hollywood bullshit is coated over every potential moment of genuine heart. I noticed a lot.
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