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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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(2006), PG ["Hard" PG*] (2hr 3min)

Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
December 27, 2006
71 out of 100

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2006), PG ["Hard" PG*] -- fully equivalent to many R-rated films in language and abuse of alcohol.

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Warner Bros. Pictures, Thunder Road Productions, Legendary Pictures, Wonderland Sound and Vision
Distribution (US): Warner Bros. Pictures
Director(s): McG
Producer(s): Jeanne Allgood, William Fay, Basil Iwanyk, Adolfo Martínez Pérez, McG, Scott Mednick, Brent O'Connor, Thomas Tull, Mary Viola
Screenplay: Jamie Linden
Story: Cory Helms, Jamie Linden
Cinematography/Camera: Shane Hurlbut
Music: Christophe Beck
Film Editing: Gregg London, Priscilla Nedd-Friendly
Casting: Justine Baddeley, Kim Davis
Production Design: Tom Meyer
Art Direction: Jonah Markowitz
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6

"From the ashes we rose." From the ashes left by the airliner crash on November 14, 1970 killing 75 of the Marshall University athletics department near Huntington, West Virginia. Thirty seven of them were football players from the Marshall Bisons Thundering Herd varsity team. Six were coaches. The remaining 32 were the athletic director, supporters and flight personnel. Overnight Marshall University is left with only a few junior varsity and freshmen football players with no leadership. The NCAA would not allow a freshman starting lineup ... until they met University President Dr. Donald Dedmon (David Strathairn) ... after Dr. Dedmon met Jack Langyel (Matthew McConaughey).

This is a true story. Not a "based on" or an "inspired by" a true story. And apparently it is surprisingly true to the facts. Nonetheless it is a Hollywood production. And Hollywood won't do that which does not make money.

After losing the game with the Eastern Carolina Pirates in the Ficklen Stadium, the Marshall Bisons Thundering Herd team boarded the return flight. The plane crashed, wiping out an entire university department. Soon, the the town and the university expressed uncertainty whether to try to restart a football team. Many thought it would be disrespectful to do so. But not so with the few junior varsity members led by team Captain Nate Ruffin (Anthony Mackie) who was not at the Pirates game due to a shoulder dislocation. And not so with the many supporting university students gathered outside the room where the deciding vote was to be taken by the Board.

Initially, Dr. Dedmon and Board president Paul Griffen (Ian McShane), whose son Chris (Wes Brown) died in the plane crash, felt compelled to discontinue the football program. But Nate and the others who were gathered convinced Dr. Dedmon and Griffen into a change of heart. The football program will resume. Now Dedmon had to rebuild the football program almost from scratch.

After dozens of high profile coaches were solicited with no success, Dr. Dedmon settled for Jack Lengyel in Wooster, Ohio. Jack is a married man with three kids and no particular glory in his past, but he knows football. Jack is fairly well off and lives a comfortable lifestyle. With Jack's wife, Sandy (Kimberly Williams) and his three kids playing in the front yard of their modest suburban home, Dr. Dedmon asked why on Earth Jack wanted to leave all that to be the new head coach for the Thundering Herd hundreds of miles away. Jack said he had noted the losses of the fathers in Huntington and said it was for the three children and his wife playing in the front yard. A very poignant point was made by the writers that should be shared with you. One of the characters said of Jack that he is "One fabulous father -- you got your family dreaming together." What a wonderful feeling that would be. To have your wife and children behind you 100%.

Arriving at Marshall, Jack notes a football team of three or four players and no coaches. Now Jack has to rebuild the team and the program. After some slick coercion by Jack, helping him as assistant coach is Red Dawson (Matthew Fox) who chose to drive to the Pirates game rather than fly. Red said he would give Jack one year. Red, who is tormented by guilt, is one of the local folks who wonders whether rebuilding the team for the 1971 season with little to no chance of winning (the most important thing to the previous coach) would be honoring the deceased team or mocking them.

We Are Marshal  is another feel-good film about real life tragedy and triumph. And it is up there with other feel-food films. There is much more I could tell you about it and much of it is good. But this film is not a "safe" film for families in spite of its PG rating. Twenty-eight uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary, twice by a teen, and teen drinking and drunkenness make it an influential risk and should perk your moral ears. Enough material was found by the Impudence/Hate (I) and Drugs/Alcohol (D) investigation areas to make We Are Marshall  fully equivalent to many R-rated films in language and abuse of alcohol. The other four investigation areas found the content to be equivalent to most PG or G-rated films in those areas. Remember that even though four of the investigation areas found programming to be equivalent to many G or PG films, that two of the investigation areas found material equivalent to some R-rated films means your kids will be exposed to "R" if they watch it.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
The only violence or violence-related programming in We Are Marshall  are episodes of the inherent football violence and the plane crash. While these properties of the film are certainly "necessary" to the portrayal of the true events, you should know about them before you decide for what age stratum of your family this film might be fit. Violent programming in and as entertainment can and does have a "sympathetic" effect os some viewers. It may embolden violence or aggression in the viewer not even related to the subject in the film. [1 Cor 15:33, Prov. 16:29]

Impudence/Hate (I)
Twenty eight uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary in this PG film is indeed an influential risk. I remember as a child the father of one of my friends, when the subject of cussing came up, told us of the "monkey see, monkey do" properties of cussing. One of his friends used some foul language in his son's presence and sure enough within hours his son was using them, too. As God warned, one will make sinners of the many [Rom. 5:19] which explains the cascading of negative behaviors. Rom. 5:19 also explains how being a good example can prevent others from sinning: how the avoidance of profanity can prevent others from sinning with it. You are parents. You know what I am talking about. You have likely seen the application of Rom. 5:19 for yourselves in your own kids.

Sexual Immorality (S)
The only matters that approach sexually immorality is the rude stare of teen boys at a teen girl and the camera angle/pose to force the viewer on private parts (though clothed). [Prov. 22:11] Even Jesus Himself warned us of staring. [Matt. 5:28]

Drugs/Alcohol (D)
There is danger in presenting in and as entertainment young people consuming alcohol. This film presents teens wanting, obtaining, possessing and consuming beer. It also presents three teens being drunk and one who was older as worldly and able to handle alcohol. [Eph. 5:18] A study by the American College of Physicians (ACP) has found an undeniable link between the presentation of alcoholic beverages and tobacco in and as entertainment and abuse of them and arrogance/defiance with them by adolescents. And teaching/causing youth to abuse alcohol/tobacco (or drugs) by emboldening youth with them in and as entertainment invokes Luke 17:2. If alcoholic beverages in entertainment were not a problem for our young, why is there and why has there been such a push to get and keep booze commercials off prime time broadcast TV? Even the University of Connecticut corroborates the ACP finding.

Offense to God (O)
Characters use God's name in vain without the four letter expletive four times in this film and once with it. Though the episode of using God's name in vain with the four letter expletive was rather muffled and intentionally incomplete, there was no doubt about what was said. Knowing that God sent his only Son to horribly die for us to save us from our sins AND to spend three days in Hell so we would not have to spend one moment there, do you really want to abuse His name? With or without the four letter expletive? [Deut. 5:11]

Murder/Suicide (M)
There were no murders of suicides noted in the entire 123 minutes of the film.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Prov. 16:29 A violent man entices his neighbor and leads him down a path that is not good. [The issue is the violence. "A violent man" can be a man, woman OR the men/women demonstrating the violent behavior/action on the screen, too. Now you know why violence, especially in and as entertainment, can embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. See "Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children Congressional Public Health Summit." Further, God speaks darkly of violence 56 times in the Old and New Testament of the KJV. And see 1 Cor. 15:33 below.]
  • Rom. 5:19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
  • Prov. 22:11 He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend. ["He who loves a pure heart..." addresses many things, including not lusting with the eyes.]
  • Matt. 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. ["Wine" can be any intoxicating substance including illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs. The issue is do not abuse the body by intoxicating it. Though it is not a sin to drink, it is a sin to get drunk OR to influence to get drunk or to drink in defiance such as underage drinking.]
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. [Vain is shav' {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as an expletive. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or thoughtful discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name.]

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    We Are Marshall (2006) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • football violence, repeatedly
  • massive plane wreckage with chaos and massive deaths
  • scenes of deep sorrow and grief

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • 28 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary, twice by a teen
  • organizing defiance of authority

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • rude stare
  • camera angle/pose to force viewer onto private parts (clothed)

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • teen trying to get beer
  • sight of booze in teen possession, repeatedly
  • teen drinking, repeatedly
  • teen drunkenness, multiple

    Offense to God (O)
  • five uses of God's name in vain, four without the four letter expletive and once with it

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • none noted

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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