McFarland, USA Movie Review #McFarlandUSAEvent

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As part of the #McFarlandUSAEvent blog team, I got to do some pretty cool things thanks to Disney.  All opinions, as always, are 100% my own!

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Today is the day!  McFarland, USA is in theaters!  I am excited for this one, not just because I got to meet the great actors and director and the real life inspirations behind the film, but because this movie has so much heart and is such a great sports film.

I have always been a huge lover of sports films because I love sports.  I played softball and basketball until I got injured and ended up getting Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).  I’m also loving how this great movie is directed by a female – Niki Caro.  We asked her how directing McFarland, USA was different from movies she’s directed before:

I figured out the way I work best, which is real stories and real people.  Go to the real community, ask for their collaboration.  Keep my eyes and ears open and my mouth shut.  And just see how life is lived; be really observant.

L to R: Jamie White (Elsie Fisher), Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner), Julie White (Morgan Saylor), and Cheryl White (Maria Bello)Photo Credit: Ron Phillips - Disney 2015

L to R: Jamie White (Elsie Fisher), Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner), Julie White (Morgan Saylor), and Cheryl White (Maria Bello)
Photo Credit: Ron Phillips – Disney 2015

We first meet Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner) in 1987 when he gets fired from his job on the east side of the country.  He then movies to McFarland, California with his family (Elsie Fisher, Morgan Saylor, Maria Bello) to take a teaching job at the high school. McFarland is an economically challenged but farm rich city in the Central Valley.  While making his class run laps around the track he notices that some of his students are fast… really fast.  So he looks into it and decides to make a cross country team.  Of course, there’s not a lot of faith from others on the success of it.

Photo Credit: Ron PhillipsDisney 2015

Photo Credit: Ron Phillips
Disney 2015

In the movie, Coach White has some troubles getting used to the culture.  I mean, who wouldn’t be a little confused when your neighbor gives you a chicken as a welcome gift?  Also, Coach White has to deal with some unhappy parents because with practice the kids are missing their shifts in the fields where they have to pick.

L to R: Thomas Valles (Carlos Pratts), Victor Puentes (Sergio Avelar), Jose Cardenas (Johnny Ortiz), Johnny Sameniego (Hector Duran), Danny Diaz (Ramiro Rodriguez), Damacio Diaz (Jamie Michael Aguero), and David Diaz (Rafael Martinez)Photo Credit: Ron Phillips Disney 2015

L to R: Thomas Valles (Carlos Pratts), Victor Puentes (Sergio Avelar), Jose Cardenas (Johnny Ortiz), Johnny Sameniego (Hector Duran), Danny Diaz (Ramiro Rodriguez), Damacio Diaz (Jamie Michael Aguero), and David Diaz (Rafael Martinez)
Photo Credit: Ron Phillips Disney 2015

I love how the characters come together as a real team – not just while running races but away as well.  There is so much heart in this movie.  Watching a small town go from just being an agricultural town to also being a town with a championship team is just amazing.  They shot the film in McFarland, California as well.  Of course, the town was  very excited:

The doors were flying open to McFarland.  And, it starts with Jim.  He’s kind of the like the unofficial mayor.  But when we went out there to shoot, the town couldn’t do enough for us.  There’s so much love and pride there.  So much.  And they were so happy that we were there.  Every time we shot, everybody would come.  We’d put a bit of tape along the road so they didn’t get in the shot.  All of those scenes that we shot there, the scenes around the market and stuff, believe me – just out of frame, there are 300 people.  I love it.  I just love to feel that embrace of the community.  There’s nothing better.McFarlandUSA54e3a86e7deb6Make sure to head to the theaters this weekend to see McFarland, USA!  It is sure to be a favorite of yours this year and for years to come!  It sure tugged on my heart strings – it made me laugh and cry.

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Comments

  1. Sounds like a cool movie!

  2. I cannot wait to see this movie. Movies like this have always been my favorite. Rudy, The Blind Side – anything like this is awesome. Thanks!

  3. I’m looking forward to watching this with my son. I think that we will both enjoy it!

  4. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says

    My hubby is looking forward to this movie. He likes Kevin Costner.

  5. This looks like such a great movie!

  6. I love this movie. And I love Kevin Costner. I can’t wait for the rest of the family to see this movie.

  7. This sounds like a cool movie

  8. I def want to see this! I saw it in a preview couple weeks ago and it looked good!

  9. Sounds like a great movie. Kevin Costner has been in some great sports movies, and it looks like this is another one.

  10. I’ve been waiting for this movie to come out. It looks like such a heart-warming movie and I can’t wait to see it.

  11. This looks like such an awesome movie! As a runner, I cannot wait to see it!

  12. You are sooo lucky you got to meet the actors. What a blast! I can’t wait to see this movie too! 🙂

  13. I’ve never really been into sports related movies that much but this one sounds like quite an interesting one! Plus who doesn’t love Kevin Costner 🙂

  14. Carly Anderson says

    A couple of my students had plans to see it last night! I can’t wait to hear what they thought!

  15. Looks like an inspiring movie. I ran too much in the Army to really enjoy it now that I’m out but my daughter is a gazelle and loves it, so we might check this out when it hits DVD.

  16. Ann Bacciaglia says

    This looks like it is going to be a fantastic movie. I am hearing there is Oscar buzz already.

  17. I just love Maria- excited to see this!

  18. This looks great! I can’t wait to see it!

  19. As a runner, this is definitely on my must see list!

  20. This movie is right up our alley. I love sports movies and can’t really think of a Costner movie I didn’t like.

Trackbacks

  1. […] far you have gotten to read my interview with the amazing Kevin Costner, Director Niki Caro, and the real life inspirations behind the film Coach Jim White and the Diaz Brothers.  Today I am […]

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