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With: Matthew McConaughey, Matthew Fox, Anthony Mackie, David Strathairn, Ian McShane, Kate Mara, January Jones, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Arlen Escarpeta, Brian Geraghty, Tommy Cresswell, Christian Kanupke, Nina Jones, Kevin Atkins, Mark Patton, Huntley Ritter, Brett Rice, Dalton Polston, Andrew Wilson Williams, Ellie Zellers, Mark Oliver, Brian Beegle, L. Warren Young, David Dwyer, Wes Brown, Mike Pniewski, Cafabian Heard, Mandy Best, Nikky D. Williams, Laura-Shay Griffin
Written by: Jamie Linden, based on a story by Cory Helms, Jamie Linden
Directed by: McG
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for emotional thematic material, a crash scene, and mild language
Running Time: 130
Date: 12/12/2006

We Are Marshall (2006)

1 Star (out of 4)

Kick and Tired

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Yet another in a series of inspirational, based-on-a-true story sports movies, this one tells of the aftermath of a tragic 1970 plane crash that killed nearly the entire Marshall University football team, as well as its coaches, staff and a few fans. Directed by McG -- of Charlie's Angels (2000) and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003) -- the film starts off by establishing just how important football can be to a small town; everyone talks football all the time, and the team members are local celebrities. But from there, We Are Marshall swings wildly between somber and stupid. The director has no idea what to do, and so he latches onto montage, accompanied by vintage era soundtrack music, at every turn; we get "the recruiting montage," "the training montage," etc. Otherwise he relies on the most hackneyed of setups and payoffs. Matthew McConaughey plays the replacement coach, and he turns in a wildly over-pitched performance that seems more suited to an Ace Ventura movie. David Strathairn attempts to lend the movie some dignity in his role as the school president, but even he winds up looking ridiculous. It ends with The Big Game, but I won't spoil the surprise.

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