Welcome to my movie blog, containing reviews and articles. I've been writing since 2004 - with a short break during 2009.

We are...

I feel that when I'm going to spend an hour and a half, especially in these troubled times with A-levels lurking around the corner, I deserve to spend it on a film, not a movie - I'm already getting my predictable plotting and substandard acting fix from Doctor Who, thanks.

So this is a big shout out for my sister, who invariably quashes any real suggestion by saying "I feel like something light this evening", by which she means somewhere between "I want to watch something I've seen a million trillion times before starring an actor I like from TV" and "I don't want to watch what you're watching". And if you think I'm being harsh, the "something light" we watched yesterday eventually turned out to be We are Marshall, a cheery story about a tragic mass slaughter that affects a whole town. Over the weekend, the "something light" was Rent, an old fashioned tale of street muggings, poverty and AIDS.

The thing is, I've got this faint concept in the back of my head that if I watch enough of her films, maybe she'll get the idea she has to watch one of mine back. It ain't worked yet, and is unlikely to...she's set her heart on watching "1001 films to see before you die", which'll never work out firstly because she roundly refuses to watch anything resembling a classic off the list when its suggested, and secondly because none of them star an actor formerly seen in either Lost or Alias , with the exception of The English Patient. Incidentally, I've seen 165 off this list. Feel free, however, to track her progress on the list here:

Anyway. We are Marshall was never going to go down well with me. 50% real life tragedy, 50% feel-good movie, all set against the background of sport: something I will never understand. I don't just mean the rules, I mean the whole mentality. Here, they treated it like they'd all come back from 'Nam, complete with flashbacks in the field and grudging respect.

Did I enjoy it? Not really. Be MOVED! Be STIRRED! Be UPSET! Be INSPIRED! The problem with true stories is that they're true stories. On the one hand, you can't justifiably groan when the underdogs get the upper hand. But on the other, when dealing with memories and tragedies, you have to be careful. And the gently-gently approach hampers this film. It had about 6 executive producers - which I interpreted as "a cabal of people from the true story wanted it made"

What did occasionally lift it was the actors. Matthew McConnaughty is in airbrushed mode, no less annoying when playing a character who's meant to be annoying. But Matthew Fox was very good, as well as looking increasingly like the only Lost actor to make it off the island with a career. I also liked the young man who played Nate, although that may just have been the lovely 70s sweater-rollneck-tash combination he was sporting. I was born in the wrong era! And the President, David Strathairn, who I found bizzarely fanciable alongside being a wonderful character (invesitgation reveals I recognised him from L.A. Confidential). Ian McShane, the poor man's Al Pacino, deserves our respect for being the only guy in the movie who the "cliche approach" doesn't work on.

When I say the "cliche approach", I refer to a certain sort of logic that works in the screwed up world of We are Marshall. The scene starts with conflict and misunderstanding. There's no way person A is gonna agree with person B. Then person B begins to rubberduck - "you know, back when I was a kid my daddy had a ranch. And every day, he used to take those ranchhorses e.t.c." Enter piano, soft and sparse. Enter strings. FEEL MOVED DAMMIT! And by the end of the scene, persons A and B are friends again. From the point I started noticing, this scene pattern occured 8 times. Thank goodness, then, for Mr McShane being the only character it bounces off, more than once! He obviously can't hear the background music (dad suggested Saving Private Ryan; mum suggested The Right Stuff as far as the score was concerned).

The music was good, from a merely artistic standpoint - it's just the way they used it was horrible (see= "cliche approach") I feel like I'm kicking a puppy here. Attacking a feelgood sports movie for not being cinematic gold, when that's never what it aspired to be. For what it was, it was as good as it could be, probably better. But who cares? I don't have time to watch anything this predictable! Certainly the story was intriguing enough for me to want to find out what really happened (amend "this is a true story" to "this was a true story before Hollywood got its hands on it", please. It may have been accurate, but I hate that label...). And I did learn that American Football teams have about 50 players, which I'd never have imagined otherwise.

All in all, we are bored, we have seen it all before, we are amused by the obviousness of the direction and script, and in the occasional glimmer, we are Marshall.


Anonymous said...

Harshhhhhh. But hilarious.

Love Aly

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