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In the tradition of Disney sports movies comes MCFARLAND, USA, based on the inspiring true story of underdogs triumphing over tremendous obstacles. This heartwarming drama follows novice runners who strive to build a cross-country team under Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner) in their predominantly Latino high school. Everyone has a lot to learn about each other, but when Coach realizes the boys' exceptional running ability, things change. Beyond their talent, it's the power of family, commitment to each other and work ethic that transform them into champions -- helping them achieve their own American dream.
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When someone cares about kids and gives them encouragement and hope, our entire society becomes better.
Glenn Kenny on RogerEbert.com characterized the casting this way: “Costner’s uncanny evocation of Gary Cooper masculinity and Gregory Peck compassion in the role of coach Jim White is the glue that holds it together, but the rest of the cast is equally inspired.” The comedy arises from natural human experiences, like someone asking Costner a question about his yard and him saying “I don’t have a yard” as a wry criticism of the dry climate. There is a scene which is powerfully reminiscent of the car Herbie’s suicide attempt on The Love Bug, too, an interesting reverberation of a nearly 50-year-old Disney movie. The triumphant underdog theme is very well-worn, and it takes a lot of creativity to make it a special experience, and this movie uses the right combination of a lot of things to do so. While slow-paced, it is very engaging; while drab due to the brownish quality of central California, it’s got enough human interest to keep the attention. It’s a good movie.
This movie is a nice, uplifting movie about persevering and overcoming! It is also about opening your eyes and seeing things from a different perspective.
I was worried about this being yet another movie where a white teacher goes and saves a bunch of brown-skinned kids. It is KIND OF like that, but I think the kids in this case also save the teacher. Plus, with it being based on a true story, it makes it much less bothersome. And honestly, there are movies where the Black coach saves the Black kids (Coach Carter), though it is easy to forget those.
This was a good movie to show to my high school students. We talked about the quinceañera scene, about stereotypes that are shown and changed in the movie and about farmworkers, leading into the discussion of their working conditions and pay, as well as a bit about modern-day slavery.
One thing I REALLY liked about the movie is at the end, it gives you and update about where the members of the team are now (well, at the time the movie was released).
Excellent, clean movie that you can show to middle or high schoolers, cover items on the curriculum and not worry about it being inappropriate.