McFarland, USA (2015)
McFarland, USA is the true story of Jim White (Kevin Costner) and the cross-country team he started in 1987 at McFarland High School in California. At the time, Coach White had been fired from several jobs due to his attitude and aggression which left his family no choice but to settle for a small, underdeveloped, Hispanic town as their next place to live. Coach White took any job offer given to him, and when he is given the job as P.E. coach, he notices that the boys in the class can run like the wind. Through persistence and persuasion, Coach White is not only able to put a school running team together, but one that can compete!
I can’t help but feel like McFarland, USA and Spare Parts (a movie released about 1 month ago) feel super similar. My review isn’t going to be about the similarities of the 2 movies, but Spare Parts is a true story about a substitute teacher sponsoring a group of Hispanic high school teens in an underwater robotics competition against colleges such as MIT and Virginia Tech. You do the comparison if you happen to see them both…
As far as a movie goes, McFarland, USA feels like many of the other “based on true story” Disney movies such as Remember the Titan’s, Invincible, and Miracle. You know exactly where the story is going and you know what lessons this movie is going to be teaching, but it still is a feel good time and is great for the family. It shows us how hard work and discipline can change someone’s life, whether it is the students who have no direction, or the coach who is desperately holding onto his career. It is always interesting to see the true story behind the movie as they show many of the real people at the end and what they are doing now. That is what makes these underdog stories so special and emotional. If these movies were simply written this way, they would get old fast, but it’s great to know these are true.
At the end of the day, McFarland, USA may be the kind of story we’ve all see before, but that doesn’t make it any less special and you will be rewarded for watching it. Same goes for the other movie I mentioned before as I enjoyed Spare Parts just a little bit more than this… Co-starring Ramiro Rodriguez, Carlos Pratts, Johnny Ortiz, Rafael Martinez, Hector Duran, Sergio Avelar, Michael Aguero, Maria Bello, Diana Maria Riva, Omar Leyva, Morgan Saylor, Elsie Fisher, and Valente Rodriguez.
7/10 Stars – It might be overdone in cinema, but watching a true story about the success of the underdog never gets old.