If you were thinking perhaps of bonding with the father or son this Santamas season by seeing a movie about football, you might consider a movie that is actually about football and not, as the case would be, We Are Marshall.
No, We Are Marshall isn’t about football any more than Apocolypse Now was about Vietnam. It’s merely a convenient setting in which to tell a different story. Like in this case, one about people who cry a lot.
Really, crying. No amazing passes. No astounding plays. No last minute, make this touchdown and win the woman/trophy/respect of your fellow inmates. The few football scenes are more about bringing someone to tears than playing the game. In this movie, if someone isn’t tearfully shouting “We are Marshall,” then they’re crying.
All that happens in the bulky two hours and seven minutes of We Are Marshall is everyone cries. Almost every story arc in the entire movie is just the progression of a character from a non-crying one to one that does cry. The talented Anthony Mackie cries every fifteen minutes, often with declarations of how much pain he’s in over the loss of his teammates. Matthew Fox and Ian McShane get to save their crying to the climax of the movie. Oh, wait: Their crying is the climax of the movie. In fact, the only person who doesn’t cry is Matthew McConaughey, who, in some drive to win an Academy Award, seems to have stapled his lip half shut. He uses what’s left of his mouth to continually and rapidly spout that right-thing-to-say-and-also-funny-and-insightful dialog that is falls just short of the realism one experienced in For the Love of Benji.
Now it’s appropriate, mind you, after such a tragedy as one witnesses in We Are Marshall to cry. But do you really want to go and spend both time and money to watch his useless cryfest? Couldn’t you just just pop your own popcorn and then break your nephew’s favorite new Santamas toy? At least then you could sit in a comfortable seat.