Monday, October 08, 2007

We Are Marshall

When it comes to sports movies I guess I’m a real sap. I enjoyed “We are Marshall.” Part of that was due to the fact that it was based on a real incident. To tell you the truth I thought Matthew McConaughey’s performance as the new head coach of the Marshall University football team in the wake of a tragic plane crash was a little over the top, but it seemed to fit in with the role. What was eerie was seeing the players in their letter jackets. Honest to goodness they look just like mine when I was playing high school football. I recommended the movie to one of the women in our front office and she liked it. She is a family-oriented “happy ending” person. It has a good cast. I’m not going to say anything more about it in case you wanted to see a football movie that demonstrates how life and death is so much more important than a game and yet how important a game can be to help us cope with loss.

As a kid I read a number of biographies, autobiographies and some ghostwritten autobiographies. Lately I’ve gone through a period of watching DVDs and movies based on real life events. “Zodiac,” about the Zodiac killer of the late 1960s was disturbing in more ways than one. It’s about the obsession both police investigating the killings and those writing or reporting about them get caught up in. For some it cost them their jobs, health and marriages. Officially the killer wasn’t caught, but the film points toward a likely suspect.

I recently picked up a copy of “World Trade Center.” I watched it the weekend after the 6th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. I have to give credit to Oliver Stone that he didn’t go overboard as he is apt to do, but am convinced from watching it that the 9/11 attacks are something I will never be able to fully think about without feeling a sense of loss. It tells the story of two of the New York Port Authority policemen who were trapped in the rubble at Ground Zero and survived. Usually I’ll watch a movie several times to see if I like it. I haven’t been able to watch it a second time yet, even though for the officers it had a happy ending.

On television sometime over the last few months I watched Spike Lee’s “Summer of Sam,” a take on the Son of Sam murders. Not really a fan of Brooklyn or the Bronx I found some of the 1999 film downright stupid and or funny. Like when the dog talks to David Berkowitz. Then there’s Spike Lee playing a reporter. I’m not sure if he was going for the best wooden performance award or if he was poking fun at himself, but there was a funny bit where some of the bystanders verbally attack him (the reporter) for the job he is doing.

Sadly Hollywood at its best can’t substitute for real-life drama or tragedy. Witness for example the shootings in Crandon, Wisconsin early Sunday morning A 20-year-old off-duty Forest County Sheriff’s Deputy shot and killed six people, another person is in critical condition. I lived and worked in Northern Wisconsin for six years. I’d travel through Crandon at least three times each year and back to go see family in Michigan’s U.P. I always thought of it as a nice quiet community. Residents living there now probably wish it still were.