How many more football movies can you make? I saw the DVD box, and figured We Are Marshall was Remember the Titans one more time. While that wouldn't be a bad thing, per se, what I ended up getting was a film with some more depth than the usual winning touchdown pass that characterizes such films of the football genre.
The story focuses on the aftermath of a plane crash involving the football team of Marshall University. This school, in Huntington, West Virginia is the prototypical college town where weekends in the Fall the whole town lives, eats, and breathes football. One tragic November day in 1970, a plane crash kills almost the entire football team, as well as most of the coaches, and some of the biggest fans. There were 75 killed in all, as the plane attempted to land under foggy conditions.
While such a loss of life is totally tragic, what makes it even more tragic is that the entire town, so previously focused on football, gets stuck on this, and can't move on. They even decide to disband their beloved football, and not to field a team for the upcoming season. The real story of We Are Marshall is the triumph of the human spirit in the face of such overwhelming tragedy.
Matthew McConaughey plays Jack Lengyel, the deceptively simple coach that takes on the coaching job, that no one else would even touch, to rebuild Marshall University's Herd. He fields his team with Freshman (which required a waiver from the NCAA), the very few remaining players, and athletes from other sports. He is realistic, and knows that while winning is everything to some, at least for this town, at this time, just playing the game will be enough of a start.
I enjoyed We Are Marshall, and think it should appeal to more than just football fans. It also features "The Unit's" Robert Patrick as the former head coach, and "Lost's" Matthew Fox as the assistant coach which both turn out decent performances. While it's more of a downer than a stand up and cheer, this tale of death, and rebirth is one that should not be forgotten.
Overall Grade: B+
Reviewed by Jonas