Friday, 20 February 2015 00:00

McFarland, USA Featured

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Walt Disney Pictures and Mayhem Pictures present a 128 minute, PG, Drama, directed by Niki Caro and written by Christopher Cleveland with a theater release date of February 20, 2015.

 

Based on a true story this film is truly inspirational, family oriented and a must see in the theater that left the audience clapping from start to finish.

Jim White (Kevin Costner) is coaching a football team in Boise, Idaho when during half time on August 21, 1987 a smart mouth player set off the coach’s temper during his pep talk causing the boy to flee the room with a bloodied face. Not long after White and his family Cheryl (Maria Bello), daughter Julie (Morgan Saylor) fifteen years old and Jamie (Elsie Fisher) ten are relocated to a new home in a city that is 99% Mexican and the way of life in McFarland are field pickers. Looks at first are always deceiving but when the White family settles in they begin to realize that McFarland maybe isn’t so bad. Heck they got a live chicken as a house warming from their neighbor.

McFarland is one of the poorest towns in America but for White it was a job and a way to take care of his family. Yet when he loses his position as football coach at the school he soon incarnates a new sport, cross country, and assembles his team of seven runners, Thomas (Carlos Pratts) team Captain, Johnny (Hector Duran), David Diaz (Rafael Martinez) and his two brothers, along with Victor Puentes (Sergio Avelar) and Jose (Johnny Ortiz). After rigorous training and some family crisis the team finds themselves registered to compete in their first race, October of 1987, in the Palo Alto International. In November of 1987 McFarland Cougars compete against Clovis High School and later find themselves qualifiers for state finals. These boys are living the American dream thanks to coach White yet through it all with the opportunities of a college future they all know there is truly no place like home. On December 12, 1987 this team competes in the California State Finals, with the support of their family win or lose, McFarland has made a name for itself in the sport of high school cross country.

This story is enlightening and even though its over two hours you would not think so since the story is so inspirational which during my screening was obvious due to the amount of clapping the audience made during the competitions, making you feel like you’re actually there cheering on the Cougars. A great story, wonderful score, superb direction and writing make this film worth seeing in the theater but if not make sure to catch it on DVD at home.

Costner is brilliant, Bello, a great support to Costner, Saylor does a nice job and Fisher is hardly noticed but the cast of towns folk in McFarland is superb and a fantastic support to the story line. The seven young runners were nicely developed and even though a bit raw in the acting department they were all a joy to watch on the big screen especially since the story develops their characters pretty well. I laughed, I cried, I learned some things about life and people but through it all this film is worthy of the big screen. Written and thoroughly enjoyed with two and half paws out of four by Jon Patch.

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