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WE ARE MARSHALL, 2006
Movie Reviews!

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WE ARE MARSHALL, 2006
Movie Reviews

Directed by McG
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Matthew Fox, David Strathairn, Ian McShane
Review by Brent Randall



SYNOPSIS:

When a plane crash claims the lives of members of the Marshall University football team and some of its fans, the team's new coach and his surviving players try to keep the football program alive.

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REVIEW:

Coach Jack Lengyel (Matthew McConaughey) is hired to lead the 1971 Thundering Herd after the tragic plane crash in 1970 that single handedly wiped out the entire football team and coaching staff with the exception of two players and one coach, Red Dawson (Matthew Fox). Based on the true events of the Thundering Herd, Coach Lengyel does a remarkable job of getting people to believe not only in football again in Huntington, West Virginia, but life in general, and through his efforts along with the support of the school, Jack Lengyel brought Marshall from the ruble, and revived a football program, a university, and a town.

His brilliant efforts truly showed how leaders emerge in the darkest of times, and acts of heroism can truly come from ordinary people. The relentlessness and refusal to quit by Coach Lengyel was infectious, and his efforts eventually landed him in the College Football Hall of Fame. His wins and losses were not as impressive as say Bobby Bowden or Joe Paterno, but his winning spirit and fight won the voters over. Coach Lengyel proved time and time again, that it is not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog that counts.

Watching this movie, one gains a true sense of loss. I found myself reverting back constantly to tragedies in my own life, and I felt the pain the people of Huntington experienced in the fall of 1970 and beyond. The movie accurately depicts the era, with clothing, cars, and all, but more importantly, it accurately depicts the trauma this town suffered. The loss these people faced seemed insurmountable, and it is epitomized through Paul Griffen (Ian McShane), the father of the Marshall quarterback killed on the ill-fated flight. Paul refuses to move on, not because he chooses not to, but simply because he cannot. Ian McShane does a fabulous job of illustrating a father's loss, and I can truly feel his pain as he speaks, moves, or eats his pie at the local cafe. Every movement, the pain perspires, and he represents the majority of the town. However, Coach Lengyel, along with fellow coach, Red Dawson, and one of the two surviving players, Nate Ruffin (Anthony Mackie), slowly begins to erode the hardened hearts and bring life to a lifeless town.

Once again, McConaughey gives another brilliant performance. He sells the audience on Coach Lengyel's infectious spirit for life, and truly represents the proverbial light at the end of a very dark tunnel. In fact, every character is brilliantly depicted, the football sequences were realistic and not over dramatic, and the acting is superb. This is another movie where McConaughey shines and his talent as an actor is truly displayed. We Are Marshall allows us as humans to ride an emotional roller coaster, and we find ourselves evaluating what is truly important in life. It is a movie that makes us question why we put things off until tomorrow, and I found myself truly thankful for the day. For our lives can change drastically in a blink of an eye, and We Are Marshall does a fabulous job of putting that into perspective.

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