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McFarland, USA (2015)

PG  |   |  Drama, Sport  |  20 February 2015 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 2,534 users   Metascore: 60/100
Reviews: 34 user | 61 critic | 32 from Metacritic.com

A cross country coach in a small California town transforms a team of athletes into championship contenders.

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(story), (as Chris Cleveland) , 4 more credits »
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In 12 theaters near Seattle WA US [change]

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Jim White
Ramiro Rodriguez ...
Danny Diaz
...
Thomas Valles
...
Jose Cardenas
...
David Diaz
...
Johnny Sameniego
...
Victor Puentes
Michael Aguero ...
Damacio Diaz
...
Señora Diaz
...
Señor Diaz
...
Principal Camillo
Danny Mora ...
Sammy Rosaldo
...
Cheryl White
...
Julie White
...
Jamie White
Edit

Storyline

A struggling coach and teacher who has been 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 among several high school boys and slowly turns them into championship runners and brings them closer than even he could ever imagine.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Champions can come from anywhere

Genres:

Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic material, some violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 February 2015 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

McFarland  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$11,020,798 (USA) (20 February 2015)

Gross:

$40,563,717 (USA) (27 March 2015)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Colombian music superstar Juanes was approached to write the theme song for the film. "Juntos/Together" was performed during the 2015 Grammy Awards. It is the first Latin song in 10 years to be given the privilege. See more »

Goofs

After running up and down the almond mounds, one of the students claims people picked the almonds. Almonds are not picked. Machines shake the trees and machines gather the almonds from the ground. Machines have been harvesting almonds since the 1950's and before. See more »

Quotes

Principal Camillo: Have you ever coached cross country?
Jim White: No.
Principal Camillo: Have you ever coached track?
Jim White: No.
Principal Camillo: You have competed in high school maybe.
Jim White: No.
Principal Camillo: Well you sound perfect.
See more »

Connections

Features Adventure Time (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Function Underground
Written by Leonard Michael Lenaburg
Performed by We The People
Courtesy of Fervor Records Vintage Masters
See more »

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User Reviews

 
This ain't Golf
18 February 2015 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. "A Disney movie" was once synonymous with good-hearted family fare. Even though the lure of big box office has caused the studio to expand their film boundaries a bit, no one does it better when the material is a heart-warming, inspiring story … especially if based on a true story. This latest has less in common with The Mighty Ducks, and more with Miracle, The Rookie, and Dreamer.

Based on a true story that began in 1987, Kevin Costner plays high school coach Jim White, who after a couple of unfortunate incidents, finds himself with a not so desirable teaching/coaching gig in the San Joaquin Valley in central California – specifically the poverty stricken farming community of McFarland. To say that life is hard in McFarland is a bit of an understatement. The families are mostly Hispanic and heavily dependent on crop picking. Once the kids are age 10, they are put to work in the fields before and after school.

Toting their prejudices, Coach White and his wife (Maria Bello) and two daughters arrive as outsiders, but quickly discover their neighbors are very proud people who value family and community. Coach also discovers that the area boys have developed a natural ability to run distances in the heat, so he forms a school cross country team, and the rest is literally history. The runners dominate the California state meet by winning 9 of the next 14 years, and many of the boys go off to college – something previously not even a remote dream for most.

Since this is Disney, most of the jagged edges are rounded off. Crime, discrimination, politics, racism, and poverty are present, but do not receive much attention. Director Niko Caro (Whale Rider, North Country) does nice work in keeping the story grounded and focused on the individuals. We get a feel for the skepticism and family obstacles faced by this first group of runners. More importantly, we witness the pride and involvement as the boys begin to have some success, and the sense of belonging that sneaks up on White and his family.

Costner does get a shot at a motivational speech, but it's small in scope and wonderfully centered on what the boys have accomplished, rather than some unrelatable shot at changing the world. Seeing him on a "Barbie" bike brings a laugh, as does some of the high school boy chatter directed at their duck-out-of-water coach. We don't really get to know the individual boys too much (some are actors, some are actual McFarland students), but the end credit video recap of where they are now (27 years later) really hits home as to the importance of guidance and mentorship for youngsters.

The film is extremely pleasant and the story's roots in the real world lend credence to the inspirational message and underdog-overcoming-obstacles story. It's also a reminder that opportunity to make a difference is all around us. Just look what Jim White and runners have accomplished!


22 of 53 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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