long distance running

Disney’s ‘McFarland, USA’ Movie Review

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Walt Disney Studios has carved out something of a niche for themselves with the feel good sports movie. “Miracle,” “The Rookie,” “Secretariat,” and last year’s “Million Dollar Arm” have all done well for the mouse. What’s great about each of these movies is that while the ending might be foreseeable, but they’ve never been formulaic. That’s doubly true with “McFarland, USA.” It’s based on a real story and has a fantastic emotional core.

It’s also a return to the sports genre that has served Kevin Costner so well over the years. In “McFarland, USA” Costner plays a down on his luck high school gym teacher and coach who sees in his students real potential for a winning Cross-Country Team. Of course, a small team from Central Valley of California is a big underdog against the well established schools, but through grit and determination, they manage to win.

But that’s just the barest of plots to hang a film upon. It’s the layer and layer of rich story and character development that make McFarland a great movie.

Director Niki Caro (North country, Whale Rider) makes the most of the Central Valley scenery and uses a gentle hand to get the most from the actors as well. Kevin Costner could practically sleepwalk through a sports move these days, but he doesn’t here. His portrayal of coach White has range and realism. He’s flawed, but can and does, learn.Read More »Disney’s ‘McFarland, USA’ Movie Review

Disney’s McFarland, USA Cross Country Trailer

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The real-life story of how Coach Jim White saw the potential for long distance runners in the students of McFarland’s agricultural “picker” community is the fulcrum point of this feel-good movie. It led to many college scholarships and state championships for real life kids, but it never would have happened had the high school’s principal said no. That moment is captured in this ‘clip’ from Disney’s “McFarland, USA.”

The principal is a perfectly cast Valente Rodriguez. Since he’s left off the IMDB credits, I want to make sure he gets his due here.

Disney’s “McFarland, USA” comes to theaters February 20, 2015!

Full plot synopsis below:

Read More »Disney’s McFarland, USA Cross Country Trailer

Behind the scenes of Disney’s “McFarland, USA”

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I’m excited to share with you more about about Disney’s upcoming feel good sports film “McFarland, USA.” It features Kevin Costner as coach Jim White who uproots his family and moves to a California Central Valley agricultural farm and encounters a Latino culture that is foreign to him, but in which he finds unexpected strength and speed.

The movie is in the vein of great sports films like, Remember the Titans, The Blind Side, and Seabiscuit. It’s also based on a true story. Watch this behind the scenes featurette to learn more:

Disney’s “McFarland, USA” comes to theaters February 20, 2015!

Full plot synopsis is below the jump:

Read More »Behind the scenes of Disney’s “McFarland, USA”