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McFarland, USA 2015
Description: A track coach in a tiny California city transforms a squad of athletes into championship contenders.
Released: 20 Feb 2015 Director: Niki Caro Writers: Christopher Cleveland (screenplay), Bettina Gilois (screenplay), Grant Thompson (screenplay), Christopher Cleveland (story), Bettina Gilois (story) Actors: Kevin Costner, Ramiro Rodriguez, Carlos Pratts, Johnny Ortiz Genres: Biography, Drama, Sport
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McFarland, USA Reviews:

Okay, Kevin Costner can do this hero in his sleep. His "Coach/Manager/Player who has seen it all" hero is standard items for him. It's basically "Bull Durham", "Draft Day", "For Love of the Game" all rolled into the same guy. That's not a terrible thing. I like him in those roles. It's just nothing new. What's surprising is the plethora of fabulous performances by the children and townspeople in this terrific tiny TRUE story. They ROCK this picture. Unique recognition to the set designers who created a pretty zone for all the running sequences. It was a rich assortment of landscapes that mesmerized the visual senses on BluRay.Basic plot: Costner (Jim White) is a football coach at a reasonably successful high school program. Because of a mistake in the opening sequence, the coach is fired and lands in a dead-end city in Nowhere'sville, USA - aka McFarland, CA. The fish-out-of-water family has a several brushes with the local Mexican population where they think being the only (seemingly) white family in the zone is a terrible concept and are intending on moving immediately. Then Costner sees a child running a sub-5-minute mile on his method to work in the produce fields with the rest of the population of minority workers in the area. What follows is fairly standard Disney items of our innocent but willing racially-inferior minnows who war to receive better vs the racist, elitist assassin whales (rich kids) of the another schools. What makes this watchable is how real the storyline is. Don't receive me wrong. There are some formulaic sequences here. But how they pull it off is worth the cinematic journey. For Disney, I'm proud of them for taking a racial theme and turning it into a positive storyline for all involved.I have to tell the reason I'm giving this a "7" is because of the EXCELLENT behind-the-scenes stories where the filmmakers interview the runners from the team, along with the true coach, Jim White, and Kevin Costner all at the same sitting. Hearing them reminiscing (the film is set in 1989), talking about the movie, and showing genuine care and respect for their beloved coach and every other... It's what a coach should only hope for in the kids who grow up to be fine adults. Mr. White created a dynasty of runners that forged an ironclad identity with hope for the future in this nothing city when nobody was giving them a chance. One boy can still create a difference on a global scale if you work difficult enough. It's inspiring stuff.The highest praise I can give this movie: My two teenage athlete kids (soccer and baseball/softball) who have watched literally hundreds and hundreds of films were vs it. It was Disney for crying out loud. And a film about CROSS COUNTRY no less. They would rather watch "Mission Impossible 15" or anything else. These are seasoned moviephiles. But Dad just wouldn't be denied. ;-) Within the first 15 minutes, they were hooked and enjoyed each minute of the rest of the movie. They even sat through the behind-the-scenes interviews. It was a family experience I won't forget. Well done, Disney.As a coach myself, this is the type of items that inspires me to work with children who don't have a future in their actual situation. And if you're already a coach, it may launch your eyes to children who have natural talents that may be wasted on something another than where their real skills lie. Much recommended. :-)


McFarland USA is much more than the regular feel nice sports movie. The setting, acting, music, and storyline line blend perfectly to deliver a heart-warming tale. It is a movie that touches all sides of this real storyline to create it stand out vs the rest. By the time it's all done, you will feel like part of the McFarland family. Kevin Costner plays Jim White, a coach whose anger forces him transport to a struggling, McFarland, California, where he starts a job teaching science and gym. In this predominately Latino city Jim and his family experience a culture they hadn't been exposed to in Boise, Idaho. Very early on something about these children catches Jim's eye, their ability to run. With a tiny bit of work and convincing of some students and the school administration, Jim creates a cross-country squad that he believes, can achieve greatness. The setting for this film perfectly captures the feel for McFarland. Featuring plenty of dead grass, roaming dogs, unlimited fields, and weak riders with ridiculous paint jobs, the viewer gets a feel for the city at the very beginning of the movie. Most of the folks in this city are migrant workers. The run down buildings, chipping paint, and collapsing school display the poverty lvl of the city quite clearly. With a prison located across the road from the school, it is made clear that most children have the choice of going to jail, or working in the fields. While the city is rather plain, the director did a nice job of capturing the pretty mountains and landscapes of the surrounding area. In addition to the pretty scenery, the melody selected makes it feel like there is a mariachi band right in your room. The setting as a entire was delivered in a method that makes the viewer understand the economic state of the city and the surrounding area, which is a large support in helping the plot.Every singe one of the actors in this film played the role perfectly. I was stunned by the amount of hero development in such a short period of time. By the end of the movie, you will feel connected to each character. Kevin Costner seems to be simply testing himself, but Carlos Pratts steals the present with his nice portrayal of Thomas Valles. During a training session, Thomas has an emotional break down due to the combination of a stressful life at home and the unlimited cycle of poverty that the folks of McFarland can't seem to break. It is here that the crying, shouting, mad voice of Thomas spills all the struggles of the migrant workers and the lives they live. The characters and the writing also let for some comic relief. A boy who's last name is White struggles to pronounce Hispanic names, and the stock hero of a chubby Danny Diaz who is trying his greatest to hold up with the rest of the team.I'm impressed that the film didn't include a crazy amount of over dramatizations, because we all know that is the worst thing in the world. Considering it's a Disney sports film based on a real story, you could know how it ends before you even watch it. I highly suggest you watch it anyways. It includes scenes that leave your hands sweating and your heart beating, and creates feelings related to the first time you ever saw the Italian Stallion beat Apollo Creed in the ring. When it's all told and done, the city of McFarland, and especially its cross-country team, will keep a unique zone in your heart. Before you watch this movie, create sure your mom signs the permission slip, because you're about to go on a feel trip.


Greetings from Lithuania.It's difficult imagine anyone who would not cheer a bit after watching "McFarland, USA" (2015). This is a real story, and the film is truly nice and sometimes moving. It's inspirational storyline like you have seen many times actually, but it is made so well that at running time 2 h 5 min this film never drags and is involving from begin till finish.Overall, "McFarland, USA" is sometimes routine and familiar, yet very entertaining movie. Kevin Costner is nice in here, and although no Oscars will shine with this movie, it's nevertheless a very well made picture. Directing was solid - pacing of this film is great. Melody was nice, as well as cinematography. It's not very original picture, but a very fine one.



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