McFarland, USA online movie review - Race over and go see this movie. McFarland, USA is worth-visiting.
Set in the late 1980s, the film directed by Niko Caro, focus on the life trials of a downward spiraling career of high school football coach Jim White (Kevin Costner), whom has been fired from so many jobs, that he eventually ends up, in the only town that would hire him, McFarland, California.
As his wife, Cheryl (Maria Bello) and two kids, Julie (Morgan Saylor) & Jamie (Elsie Fischer) struggles to fit into the majority low-income Hispanic neighborhood; White himself, struggles to reach the students and faculty of his new school. He eventually turns, his attention from football to cross country, because he sees some potential in some of the students; despite having no experience in the sport. Ultimately, White is able to create a team of ragtag of runners, with high school, students: Thomas Valles (Carlos Pratts), Johnny Sameniego (Hector Duran), Jose Cardenas (Johnny Ortiz), Victor Puentes (Sergio Avelar), Damacio Diaz (Michael Aguero), David Diaz (Rafael Martinez) and last Danny Diaz (Ramiro Rodriguez) as they try their hardest in becoming the state champion. Centering on the concept of teamwork and cooperation. McFarland, USA is able to teach viewers on the values of solidarity, very well; not only when it comes to sports, but also when it comes to working together as a community. It also teach people, not to judge others by racial stereotypes. You see, this, with Coach White. While, he might be a little prejudiced at his Hispanic students at first; you really do see some character development from White toward the middle, despite Kevin Costner barely acting. You see him, warm up to them, and later helps the runners, run their best, realizing this is what makes them special. Yet, this movie has also invoked some groans among some critics who recognize its 'white savior' premise as tiresome and clichés. I have to somewhat agree with them, on that. The white savior rescuing people of color from their poor plight, trope has indeed been overdone to death. Still, this movie was still entertaining, even if the film's messianic portrayal of Coach Jim White leading a ragtag group of Latino cross country team from McFarland, California to the state championship is a bit predictable and safe. I just wish, the movie took more chances with the subject matter. The plot didn't seem to stand out, that much, besides the few drama with Jim White's family, but at least, they kinda made cross-country seem somewhat intense. Since the movie isn't a documentary, Hollywood did change a little bit of how the team got to championship. A good example is how Jim White even got to coach at McFarland High School. No, he wasn't fired from a number of teaching jobs prior to teaching at McFarland. Instead, he started teaching in the McFarland school district after graduating from Pepperdine University in 1964. During that time, white taught different subjects at numerous grade levels before starting his coaching career in 1980, not 1987 with cross-country. Another thing, about that, is the fact that White did not create the cross-country team at the school, but instead restarted it after it had been dropped for a year. He also taught the school's girl's cross-country team, despite only the boys' team being featured in the film. Regardless of that, all of the supporting actors playing the team members were very good in their limited role. It just some of them, really don't stand out. I really got confused on, who is who, at parts. I also believe, the movie didn't need to over-exaggerate some of them to do that. A good example is how they portrayed Danny Diaz (Ramiro Rodriguez). He wasn't overweight in real life, nor was the slower member on the team. He was in fact, one of the fastest people at McFarland High School. They portray him, a little too cartoony. Another thing, the film fails to notice, is how not all of the runners from the 1987 team were featured in the film. It would be nice to see, original runner, Luis Partida in the team, because he indeed help them, win. Despite that, David Diaz (Rafael Martinez) was a great replacement. Even if, he graduated the year before McFarland's first state title win in real life. The supporting actors that played Jim White's family was also amazing. It's nice to see that the character that Maria Bello plays is given more to do, than being a supporting wife to Costner's character. She gets her own sub-plot, with her, trying to get along with the women in her neighborhood. Even the child actors that play Jim's kids, were fine in their roles. I just wish, they were able to hired another actress to play Jim's other daughter, Tami. Her absence from this film, is a bit jarring. Yet, I can understand, why the filmmakers wanted to combined those two characters (Jamie & Tami) together. It does save time. Overall: This poignant, uplifting tale is very heart-warming and inspirational. While, it might not stand out, much compare to other Disney sport films. It's still worth checking out. I'm in it, for the long run.