Disney’s “McFarland, USA” Review

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My family got to see a preview screening of the Disney movie “McFarland USA” directed by Niki Caro. The movie is based on the true story of Jim White (Kevin Costner) and how he coached a cross-country team from a low-income community into 1987 California State Champs. The movie theme of taking small town athletes and transforming them into championship contenders is nothing new; however, this movie has a way of swaying the audience emotionally, making them want to cheer or cry during several parts. 

The plot follows Jim White (Kevin Costner) as he gets a group of Hispanic kids to form a cross-country team that the whole town of McFarland rallies behind. The Hispanic kids all grow up in families of pickers (picking fruits/vegetables from the fields). They must balance their family responsibilities with that of school and cross-country. b2ap3_thumbnail_mc2.jpg

“McFarland USA” is a movie that reminds us that sports can break socio economic boundaries and lead people to opportunities that they never thought possible. The move left me feeling that sometimes you can find a home and family in the strangest places and it reminds us that home and family are more important than money or job titles. If you are in the mood for a feel good Disney movie where the underdog wins then this is a MUST see movie. My family thoroughly enjoyed it and recommends it.

Based on the 1987 true story, “McFarland, USA” follows novice runners from McFarland, an economically challenged town in California’s farm-rich Central Valley, as they give their all to build a cross-country team under the direction of Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner), a newcomer to their predominantly Latino high school. Coach White and the McFarland students have a lot to learn about each other but when White starts to realize the boys’ exceptional running ability, things begin to change. Soon something beyond their physical gifts becomes apparent—the power of family relationships, their unwavering commitment to one another and their incredible work ethic. With grit and determination, the unlikely band of runners eventually overcomes the odds to forge not only a championship cross-country team but an enduring legacy as well. Along the way, Coach White realizes that his family finally found a place to call home and both he and his team achieve their own kind of American dream.

Disney’s “McFarland, USA” stars Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, Morgan Saylor, Martha Higareda, Michael Aguero, Sergio Avelar, Hector Duran, Rafael Martinez, Johnny Ortiz, Carlos Pratts, Ramiro Rodriguez, Danny Mora, Valente Rodriguez, Vanessa Martinez, Chris Ellis and Diana Maria Riva, and is directed by Niki Caro with screenplay by Christopher Cleveland & Bettina Gilois and Grant Thompson, and story by Cleveland & Gilois. Gordon Gray and Mark Ciardi are producing, with Mario Iscovich and Mary Martin serving as executive producers. “McFarland, USA” releases February 20, 2015.


Rated PG

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