Jim White moves his family after losing his last job as a football coach. He sees that some of the students are worth starting a cross-country team and turns seven students with no hope into one of the best cross-country teams.
A struggling coach and teacher who has had to move around for different incidents in his career finally comes to one of the poorest cities in America: McFarland, California. There he discovers buried potential in several high school boys and slowly turns them into championship runners and brings them closer than even he could ever imagine.
White did not create the cross-country team at the school, but instead restarted it after it had been dropped for a year. He rebuilt both the boys' and girls' cross-country teams, despite only the boys' team being featured in the film. Similarly, White took both the boys' and girls' teams to the California coast beach at Cayucos during the 1985 (not 1987) season. See more »
When Carlos is at the top of the pile of almond hulls, he said that someone picked them. Almonds are not picked. A machine shakes the tree and the almonds fall into the machine or are swept up later. See more »
[reading Jose Cardenas's paper]
We fly like blackbirds through the orange groves, floating on a warm wind. When we run, we own the earth. The land is ours. We speak the birds' language. Not immigrant no more. No stupid Mexicans. When we run, our spirits fly. We speak to the gods. When we run, we are the gods.
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In making this movie Kevin Costner stuck to the formula, the one that most feel good sports movies use, and made it work beautifully. There are no unexpected fancy twists in this one. The acting is straight up and solid. The ethnic background of the movie adds to the movie in good way. I enjoy a few of the scenes that involve the interactions between the coach or his family and the locals. They demonstrate how cultural interaction and familiarity can eliminate fear and breakdown the walls that divide us. Don't get me wrong, the movie is not trying to give you a social/cultural lecture, this stuff comes naturally mixed with the main story line.
If you like the genre, you'll enjoy this movie.
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