My Review: McFarland, USA

Photo: Chris White

“You play golf? This ain’t golf.” That’s one of the many great lines in Niki Caro’s McFarland, USA.

The film chronicles the true story of a down-on-his-luck coach, Jim White (Kevin Costner) who moves his family to McFarland, Calif. in search of a fresh start. White becomes a coach and teacher at McFarland High School, a public school that’s not as financially privileged as its counterparts. After a short and unsuccessful stint as an assistant football coach at the school, White becomes the P.E. coach and notices something amazing about some of his students: they can run. He decides to create a track team and coaches a group of seven guys into championship contenders.
Going into the theater, I thought that McFarland, USA would be just another cookie-cutter sports film. That wasn’t the case. Let’s face it, McFarland, Calif. was basically a forgotten city. Have you ever heard of it before this film? I know I haven’t. White and this amazing team truly put this town on the map. I believe it was crucial for this story to be told and the film did so very nicely.
As far as the film itself, I thought it was nicely done. Kevin Costner seemed to be much more comfortable in this role than in his last role in Black or White. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the great performances from Ramiro Rodriguez, Carlos Pratts, Johnny Ortiz, Rafael Martinez, Hector Duran, Sergio Avelar and Michael Aguero. The entire cast gave awesome performances, but these seven actors had the tough job of playing the runners on the McFarland team. The on-screen chemistry between them and Costner was evident and it really made the film stand out from other sports films.
Bottom line, I’d definitely recommend McFarland, USA. I’m actually planning on seeing it again which, as you know, is something I rarely do for films while in theaters.
I Give It An: A-

Check Out The Trailer Here

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