Based on the true story of the 1987 Cross~ County Team of McFarland High School in California~ DISNEY brings to the BIG SCREEN the AMERICAN DREAM ~ that if you work hard with determination and fortitude, regardless of your background, your heritage or your impoverished neighborhood, your strong will and incredible work ethic will lead you to achieve GREAT THINGS….welcome to MCFARLAND, USA.
Forced to move to a new High School with his family in tow, Teacher and Football Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner) isn’t quite sure how he, or his family, are going to adjust to living in a mostly Latino community.
When White also finds out the head Football coach position isn’t open either, he becomes even more frustrated and discontented with his new move. Knowing that he and his family need to make this work, White soon realizes that many of his students come to school after working in the fields for hours, and then return to the fields after school too, as he comes to the realization that the life he and his family enjoy is very different from the lives of many of his students. Another realization for White is that many of the young men in his school can RUN FOREVER, as they run everywhere they go. Seeing that these kids have true potential in becoming cross country runners, White sets out to form the first cross country team at McFarland High School.
Easier said than done, Coach White struggles to convince not only the principal and runners, but their parents too, that being a part of this TEAM, and seeing what they can achieve together, is as important as anything they are learning in class, or in the fields.
While White is working tirelessly coaching this team of incredible runners, his wife Cheryl (Maria Bello) and his two daughters struggle to find a way to fit-in in this new town they now call HOME…
Will Coach White be able to turn these boys not only into runners ~ but State contending runners? Will the community and the boys families find value in what they are trying to accomplish? And will Coach White and his family come to realize that there is not better place to call HOME ~ than where they are right now???
I give McFarland USA a B+: It was incredible watching this real-life story unfold on the screen, as these 7 young men learned to face all that life had to throw at them, while realizing too, that with hard work and determination, their isn’t anything you can’t do! I love nothing more than real life stories, and it seems that last years surge of real-life dramas coming from every movie studio, is continuing right into 2015. Director Niki Caro does a superb job of bringing to light the hardships and real-life angst that these families face each and every day, but also manages to do it in the charming DISNEY WAY, not spending too much time on the negatives, and way more time on the positives unfolding on before you on screen. The young Latino actors that rounded out the cast ~ Ramiro Rodriquez, Carlos Pratts, Johnny Ortiz, Rafael Martinez, Hector Duran, and Sergio Avelar were also exceptional ~ leaving me to believe that there will be many a leading actor in our future from this group of young professionals. So, head out to a theater near you this weekend with your entire family in tow, because I promise, you will all love McFarland, just as much as I do!