It’s the holidays, so Hollywood likes to vacillate between soul crushing drama and uplifting feel-gooders. Guess which one this is? I’ll give some hints: Football. Tragic plane crash. 70’s music. If you guessed ‘feel-gooder’, then you’ve been alive for the last 15 years or so. I’ll admit it: I’m particularly averse to manipulative schlock fests, so it was with no small degree of trepidation that I sat down with McG’s ‘We Are Marshall’, the true story of a small West Virginian university struggling to overcome the loss of nearly its entire football team and athletic department in a horrific plane crash.
I mean, seriously. Just punch me in the throat already, right? Well, only partially. Due to a charismatic Matthew McConaughey, a truly unique story, and dammit, some blatant tugs on my football lovin’ heart I actually enjoyed it. Great movie? By no means, but certainly an entertaining one, and one guaranteed to make you choke up just a little (or a lot, depending). If you’re hankering for some uplift, but don’t want to go the Rocky route, this is the film for you. If nothing else, go to see McConaughey at his most idiosyncratic as the coach tapped to rebuild the Marshall football team, or to see Ian McShane not say ‘cocksucker’. Not once! Amazing!
Really though, I enjoyed this a lot more than I would expect of a film directed by someone who doesn’t bother to spell his own name. (A fact which galls me to no end) That enjoyment rests mostly on McConaughey, but also for a very simple (and for the most part treacle-less) tale of a town trying to overcome a truly horrendous event. Go see it already.