McFarland, USA (2015) Review
Jim White an American Football coach loses it all when his temper gets the better of him and he lashes out at one of the players. There’s only one place he can get a job McFarland, a very poor area with no hope for the people. That is about to change when he gets a team into cross country.
I love a good sports film (probably with working full time in sport) and let’s face it who better than be in a sports film than Kevin Costner? He really is something else in them, he’s worked his way through Baseball, American Football and with this one his character Jim White becomes a cross country coach.
From the offset we just know everything will come together and White will manage to make a big influence on the young boys lives. But not only that getting the town behind them and making the parents all proud, as well as giving the school some credit. The community in the area were all Mexican, which was going to prove difficult in some aspects for the family having to move their. When they actually accepted and realised that it was a great community who pride themselves a lot on family that is when White begins to change his outlook.
Not getting on with the other Football coach it isn’t long until White must find something else to combine with the PE teaching part of his job. When he witnesses the teenagers running to and from school and working all other hours, he knows that they have natural gifts when it comes to running. So he sets out to help them channel it into competing, which doesn’t go to plan the first time round but this then changes the training schedule and I must say the way they trained for the hills looked extremely difficult!
Something I didn’t realise about cross country running was how much of team sport it actually is in terms of finishing places and how it ranks overall, this gave the togetherness and teamwork that was needed for them to really push on. Proving everyone wrong along the way, which is certainly something we want to see in a film about sport. A film about the bonds between coach and athlete.
This certainly does tick all of the boxes with that showing that you really do have to know the athlete and family for everything to work out. White goes out of his way at one point and joins them in the field to see how much hard work they do when not at school or in training. That was a massive thing as he realised even more that he had to help them to give them a chance of a very different life.
I would certainly recommend this one if you like sports films with a good base and true story. Was a nice surprise to watch as I had never really heard if it in all honesty, I mean my love for Costner probably played a small part as well.