Sunday, December 31, 2006
Tonight The Wife and I went and watched We Are Marshall and before I get to the review I need to give a little back ground. The film is about the Marshall football team that died in a plane crash and the following year as the team starts to rebuild. I grew up outside Huntington, WVa where Marshall is located. I knew the story growing up. I even when to some games in the mid-eighties and early nineties until I graduated from high school. One of my dad's account was Marshall's athletic department so that's another connection. I remember when a player from my home town of Ironton died suddenly (I can not remember or even find his name right now), Marshall was on a national championship run in 1-AA and they were playing in his memory. That's the good part of my Marshall past.
Now the bad, once it was announced that Marshall was joining the Mid American Conference (same conference as my Bowling Green Falcons) and all of Marshall's fans and media writers blasted the MAC and said it was beneath them. The fans were rude to every MAC team including one game that a high level school officials pregnant wife had to be surrounded by security to protect her from the fans. Also, how can I for get about the student section being forced to move to the home side because teams complained about racial slurs. I made a personal agreement with myself after Marshall left the MAC that I could not consider not hating them until they had been out of the MAC for five years.
It's not been five years, but the story of a tragedy that effected everyone in the area forced me to want to see this movie. In 1970 Marshall's football team was flying back from a game against East Carolina when the plane crashed outside of Huntington. Pretty much everyone died. The university had to decide if it wanted to field a team the following year and the challenge to field a team the following year.
This was a great movie, The Wife and I started to tear up withing the first 10 minutes. It is a well written and shot movie the football action was shot in double time and slowed down which gave it a very crisp feel. Also I was surprised at Mathew McConaughey, normally in every movie he is in he plays Mathew McConaughey, but i seriously believed he was Jack Lengyel. Then there was co-star Jack Sheppard, I mean Matthew Fox he played Red Dawson the surviving coach from the 1970 team that switched spots with another coach and drove back to Huntington. He was emotional and you could feel the pain he had because of fate and losing a coach and players he recruited to play.
This film mas mostly shot in Huntington so throughout the most of the movie I'd lean over to The Wife and say I know where that is! That for me made the movie even more real. It was shot on campus, places that all locals know. They did not fake locations, they even used a lot of locals as extras and bit rolls.
Overall I teared up at least four times and I don't think The Wife ever stopped. We heard sniffling throughout the theater. If you love football, movies, or movies based off of real events, or you want to see how tragedy can be turned into good then you need to see this movie. I will be in line the night this movie is released on DVD. A++