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The Greatest Football Stories Ever Told:
Twenty Tales of Gridiron Glory
. "We Are Marshall"

A true story of rising from the ashes of mass grief and choosing to rebuild a destroyed team rather than run from the reminders. When in 1970 a plane crash claims the lives of all aboard, the the Marshall University football team is virtually wiped out -- the pride and joy of Huntington, West Virginia. Three team members survived because for different reasons they weren't on the plane.

Despite school president Dr. Donald Dedmon's (David Strathairn) personal emotions he and others come to the painful view that the football program must be suspended. He holds a private meeting to make it official. But team captain Nate Ruffin (Anthony Mackie), one of the survivors, sees it differently and marshalls (no pun intended) the student body to convince the ruling body. Ruffin is passionate about the school and the community facing their grief by immediately rebuilding a team. A mass display of student body emotions dramatizes that feeling and heads off the notion of quitting.

Facing Dedmon, Ruffin answers his question about how to begin. "Get a coach," he counsels.

After an exhaustive recruitment campaign in which every possible alumni who might coach rejects the offer, an out-of-towner reads about the problem and volunteers. Enter Coach Jack Lengyel whose first order of business is to let the town, through the press, know that he's serious and, given a chance, will put a new team together. To do it, however, he has to get the state university board to officially allow him to use juniors play, something that has never been approved before.

After intensive training, games begin and history is written. The effort and the results will warm the hearts of football fans everywhere. Others might find the movie formulaic and perhaps somewhat sentimental, but no worse than other sports stories.

McConaughey ("Failure to Launch," "Two for the Money") is the key and he turns in a performance for which his type and talents are well designed -- perhaps his best in a while. With his extended Texas drawl line delivery he conveys the emotions where needed, especially in the inspirational speeches he delivers to the team in order to get the most out of them on the field.

Ian McShane ("Scoop") is the dour upper level school adminstrator Paul Griffin who has to be convinced of the wisdom of rebuilding in the face of how he's dealing with the loss of his own son Chris, the previous team quarterback and leader. Kate Mara ("Brokeback Mountain") is nicely credible as Chris' fiance' with all the beauty and desirability to widen the understanding of the impact such loss has on so many.

The title, as most fans will know, is the team slogan, a chorus something like "God is Great" for a secular team spirit.

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                                      ~~  Jules Brenner  


The DVD


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it's some info I did not know about and it made me realize life is really meaningful and precious.

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Matthew McConaughey as Coach Lengyel
Inspirer, teacher, leader.
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