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Cheering for McFarland USA

McFarland USA Movie Review

Far from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, the draw of the beach, and favorite destinations like Disneyland live ordinary people in an unknown city of California called McFarland. There, they live and breath a fancy word known as agriculture but they simply call it being pickers and are behind the inspiration for Disney’s newest movie called McFarland, USA.

Coach Jim White played by Kevin Costner inspires in McFarland USA

Based upon a true story, McFarland changes how you see your food, the strength needed to do something different, and even inspires non-runners to lace up the sneakers seeking their first medal.

Kevin Costner plays Coach Jim White who finds himself at the end of his career when he arrives at the only choice left for him is as a football coach at McFarland High School. His family doesn’t want to be in predominantly Latino community of McFarland and he certainly wants nothing to do with his new life but when faced with no job he turns his attention to an unlikely group of students who are not afraid of hard work because their daily life is filled with hard work.

Pickers in the field in McFarland USA

Sometimes you have to get to the end of what you thought you wanted to truly find your heart’s desire.

Many people will go see this movie purely because of two names, Disney and Costner, but it is the other actors and the story line that will stay with you and leave you inspired. While Costner is the star and does an excellent portrayal of a washed up coach, he also successfully fades to the background to let the true story shine through. Not many actors can successfully pull that off but he does brilliantly.

McFarland High School Cross Country Team

Seven boys eventually form the first cross country team from McFarland High School. Rafael Martinez plays David Diaz, Michael Aguero plays Damacio Diaz, and Ramiro Rodriguez plays Danny Diaz, known as the Diaz brothers. Hector Duran plays Johnny, Sergio Avelar plays Victor Puentes , and Johnny Ortiz plays Jose. These seven boys are the true stars of the film, inspiring the older generation to go beyond what they’ve always known and encouraging children to stay authentic to their roots while still reaching for something better.

Cross country race McFarland USA

In the credits they show the real life inspirations behind the characters in the movie and how these seven cross country runners changed their future and the lives of so many others after them.

The mother puts Kevin Costner in his place in McFarland USA

If you want to be inspired, be filled with hope, and just maybe even consider lacing up those running shoes at the back of your closet then go see McFarland, USA. It will leave you cheering and you might even have a laugh or two at the mother who steals the entire movie by putting Kevin Costner in his place.

Carlos Pratts plays Thomas in McFarland USA

Parental advisory: (Spoilers)

A father becomes enraged, yelling ensues, and hits the wall with his fist ending with a high school student physically assaulted. There are a few mentions of gangs culminating when a rival’s car rolls into town and Coach White’s daughter is assaulted. Someone threatens to jump off the overpass in a suicide attempt. This move is geared for older children who can handle more adult situations and will quickly forget these scenes even exist once the movie is over. My eleven year old son saw the movie and loved it.


McFarland | Facebook | Twitter | #McFarlandUSA

[quote]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.[/quote]

McFarland, USA is rated PG for thematic material, some violence and language.

  • Release Date: February 20, 2015
  • Running Time: 128.5 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Cast: 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, Diana Maria Riva
  • Director: Niki Caro
  • Producers: Gordon Gray, Mark Ciardi
  • Executive Producers: Mario Iscovich, Mary Martin
  • Story by: Christopher Cleveland & Bettina Gilois
  • Screenplay by: Christopher Cleveland & Bettina Gilois and Grant Thompson

Images courtesy Walt Disney Studios. Used with permission.

Media tickets to an advanced screening were provided to facilitate the McFarland, USA movie review.

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Wendy Wright

Head Geek at Plugged In Family often found at Comicon, Disneyland, or online increasing her gamer score on Xbox. As a member of the 501st Legion, Wendy spreads her love of Star Wars across the Galaxy in her handmade Jawa costume volunteering for charities with her husband and two sons.

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