If you want to watch a family friendly, inspirational Disney movie, McFarland USA is it.
Make the lead Kevin Costner, and it’s the guacamole
to my taco salad (I would have said sour cream, but no one in my familia
likes that stuff).
Oh, and there’s running!
Costner plays Jim White, a football coach turned cross country coach to seven high school students who work the fields picking vegetables with their parents but who happen to have mad running skills. White and his family end up in the predominantly Latino community in California because there’s just nowhere else for him to go after an incident with a student.
I was a little worried that the movie would delve into one too many stereotypes, but I was pleasantly surprised that while it did bring them up, both the boys and the Whites spend a lot of the movie learning about each other. Learning about other people’s cultures and respecting them, what a concept!
|With my Black Girls RUN! peeps.
White is less than perfect, which makes me like him more. Just good enough to shape up this group of boys into a championship-worthy team.
There is some formulaic fodder — OK, a LOT of formulaic fodder — but there’s also heart. And a snapshot of what some migrant families have to do to make it in these United States. It’s not always pretty.
But back to the running. The boys struggle, as new runners do. But their coach guides them, including some great scenes of football-coach White watching VHS tapes and reading books about running. Did I mention it’s 1987?
Some of the landscape and scenery where the boys’ races are held is cringe-worthy for runners. Hills. Mountains. More hills and mountains.
Of course, it also made me want to get on the road. Heck, I wanted to run home from the movie theater.
Not surprisingly, Disney takes some liberties with the story. For a closer look into what really happened, read this old Sports Illustrated story
Crazy-good, inspirational story both on and off the screen. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and will be reading up on the real coach and his runners.
If you’ve seen the movie, what did you think? If not, what are you waiting for? What’s your favorite running movie?