Speed Racer

  • Directors: Larry Wachowski, Andy Wachowski
  • Producers: Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski, Joel Silver
  • Writers: Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski
  • Genres: Action, Family, Sport
  • Actors: Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, Kick Gurry, Roger Allam, Matthew Fox

Speed Racer (Emile Hirsch) is an 18-year-old whose life and love has always been automobile racing. His parents Pops (John Goodman) and Mom (Susan Sarandon) run the independent Racer Motors, in which his brother Spritle (Paulie Litt), mechanic Sparky (Kick Gurry), and girlfriend Trixie (Christina Ricci) are also involved. As a child Speed idolized his record-setting older brother Rex Racer (Scott Porter), but Rex was disowned by Pops for his decision to join a corporate racing team and was publicly defamed for appearing to cheat in a race. He was then killed while racing in the Casa Cristo 5000, an incredibly intense cross-country racing rally notorious for rough and foul play. Now embarking on his own career, Speed Racer is quickly sweeping the racing world with his skill behind the wheel of the Mach 5, but remains primarily interested in the art of the race and the well-being of his family.

Mr. Royalton (Roger Allam), owner of conglomerate Royalton Industries, offers Speed an astoundingly luxurious lifestyle in exchange for signing to race with him. Speed is tempted but declines due to his father’s distrust of power-hungry corporations. Angered, Royalton reveals that for many years the key races have been fixed by by corporate interests, including Royalton himself, to gain profits. He threatens Speed’s career and family, making good on these threats by having his drivers force Speed into a crash that destroys the Mach 5 and bombarding his family’s business with lawsuits. Speed decides that he must do something to stop Royalton and save the Racer business, and an opportunity to do so arises in the form of Inspector Detector (Benno Fürmann), head of a corporate crimes division. Racer Taejo Togokhan (Rain) claims to have evidence that could indict Royalton but will only offer it up if Speed and the mysterious masked Racer X (Matthew Fox) agree to race on his team in the Casa Cristo 5000. Taejo believes that a win could substantially raise the stock price of his family’s racing business and thus cause a proposed Royalton-arranged buyout to be more expensive. Speed agrees but keeps his decision secret from his family.

Speed enters the Grand Prix against great odds: Royalton has placed a bounty on his head that the other drivers are eager to collect, and he is pitted against legendary Hall of Fame driver Cannonball Taylor (Ralph Herforth). Speed overcomes a slow start to catch up with Taylor, who uses a cheating device called a spearhook to latch Speed’s car to his. Speed uses his jump jacks to expose the device to video cameras and cause Taylor to crash. Speed wins the race, having successfully exposed Royalton’s crimes. Racer X, who is watching the race, reveals through a flashback montage that he is indeed Rex, having faked his death and undergone plastic surgery to change his appearance as part of his plan to save his family and the sport of racing. He chooses not to reveal his identity to his family, believing it would do more harm than good. The Racer family celebrates Speed’s victory as Speed and Trixie kiss, and Royalton is sent to jail.

We Are Marshall

  • Directors: McG
  • Producers: McG, Basil Iwanyk
  • Writers: Story, Jamie Linden, Cory Helms, Screenplay, Jamie Linden
  • Genres: Drama, Sport
  • Actors: Matthew McConaughey, Matthew Fox, Anthony Mackie, Kate Mara, Ian McShane, David Strathairn, Kimberly Williams Paisley, Robert Patrick, Brian Geraghty, January Jones

On the evening of November 14, 1970, Southern Airways Flight 932, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9 which Huntington, West Virginia’s Marshall University chartered to transport the Thundering Herd football team to Greenville, North Carolina and back to Huntington, clipped trees on a ridge just one mile short of the runway at Tri-State Airport in Ceredo, West Virginia and crashed into a gully. The team was returning from their game against the East Carolina University Pirates — a 17–14 loss. There were no survivors. In all, seventy-five people lost their lives. The dead included the thirty-seven players, head coach Rick Tolley and five members of his coaching staff, Charles E. Kautz, Marshall’s athletics director, team trainer Jim Schroer and his assistant, Donald Tackett, twenty-two boosters, and five crew members.

In the wake of the tragedy, President Donald Dedmon leans towards indefinitely suspending the football program, but he is ultimately persuaded to reconsider by the pleas of the Marshall students and Huntington residents, and especially the few football players who didn’t make the flight. Dedmon hires a young new head coach Jack Lengyel, who, with the help of Red Dawson, manages to rebuild the team in a relatively short time. They are aided by the NCAA’s waiver of a rule prohibiting freshmen from playing varsity football (a rule which had been abolished in 1968 for all sports except for football and basketball, and would be permanently abolished for those sports in 1972). The new team is composed mostly of the eighteen returning players (three varsity, fifteen sophomores) and walk-on athletes from other Marshall sports programs. Due to their lack of experience, the “Young Thundering Herd” ends up losing their first game, 29-6 to the Morehead State Eagles. The Herd’s first post-crash victory is a heart-stopping 15–13 home win against Xavier University in the first home game of the season.

The following week, Marshall lost to the Miami Redskins 66 to 6. They would win only one more game in 1971. Jack Lengyel resigned as head coach in 1974 with a record of 9-33. He would later become athletic director at the Naval Academy. He’s now in the Hall of Fame. Donald Dedmond accepted the presidency at Radford University where he would remain until he retired in 1994. Gene Morehouse’s son Keith followed in his fathers footsteps and became a broadcaster for Marshall Football where he remains today. Reggie Oliver started every game for the Thundering Herd until he graduated. He later returned to Marshall as an assistant coach and now lives in Ohio. After graduation, Nate Ruffin moved away from Huntington, got married and started a family. In 2001, after an illness, Nate died at his home in Virginia. He would return to Hunington one last time for a reuninon with his old buddies