Disney Pictures’ newest film, McFarland, USA is a feel-good, family movie that is a must-see this month. After a series of bad choices in his career, Jim White, played by Kevin Costner, finds himself in a small, predominately Latino town in California with what he thinks is a less than desirable job. When he gets to know his new students and realizes their exceptional work ethic, drive and family ties, things change for White and the students for the better. He takes a group of underprivileged, novice runners and turns them into champions.
I had the pleasure of seeing an early screening of McFarland, USA in Los Angeles and interviewing Kevin Costner about his role. Not being an avid runner myself, I honestly didn’t know what to expect with this movie. I was definitely pleasantly surprised by McFarland’s charm, story and the characters. I laughed. I cried. I cheered for the underdog.
According to McFarland USA director, Niki Caro, the movie “gives us a really accurate reminder of the lengths to which parents will go to give their children a better life. And nothing is more inspiring than that. And nothing is more American than that.”
This family-friendly movie is a must-see for the whole family with its underlying theme that “now we know what we don’t know.” Kevin Costner was superb as a believable coach working his way into the hearts of his boys and their families.
While all the characters were great, one of my favorites was Mrs. Diaz. The Diaz boys’ mom, played by Diana Maria Riva, was tremendous. Mrs. Diaz was a scene-stealer with her comedic-timing and witty comebacks that you fall in love with her the minute she tells the first person, “Don’t you say no to me!”
The story takes you on a journey of a team of high school cross country runners who defy the odds to prove that they are a force to be reckoned with in the running world.
While I don’t want to spoil the ending of the movie, I have to say that the ending credits were done so well by updating you on the real-life people that you’ll leave the theater smiling from ear to ear happy for them.
McFarland, USA hits theaters nationwide on February 20, 2015.