The Walt Disney Pictures media movie preview for McFarland, USA was held at my favorite location, the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California. As always, the thought of getting to see the latest Disney movie at the studio, puts a huge smile on my face.
I was excited to see McFarland, USA after all the trailers and previews, Disney had shared with us. Grabbing our popcorn and securing a seat in the packed theatre, I settled down and got ready to see if it would live up to its hype.
The movie is based on a true story set in 1987 and starts out with football, Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner) during a half time pep talk. When Coach White loses his temper with his star player, it results in the lose of his job. Offered a position as asst. football coach and PE/science teacher at McFarland HS in California, Jim White (Kevin Costner) takes his family and possessions and makes the long drive west. The family’s first look at the house and neighborhood including an encounter with the local low rider car club (gang) leaves Jim questioning his decision to relocate to McFarland, California.
An incident during a football game has Coach White sticking up for a player, which gets him removed yet again from football coaching duties. This latest situation along with several others that occur during PE, lead Coach White to see the potential in several of the students and set up a cross country team. A new opportunity for the predominately Latin community of high schoolers, whose primary reason for running is to simply get to their destination. Setting up and training the McFarland HS team is no small feat as family, school and work responsibilities interfere constantly. But along the way, Coach White and the team learn what it takes to be a Cross Country coach and runner, working together to learn how to fit training, compete and win the prelim races and finally the State Championship Meet.
The team consists of 7 runners – Johnny Ortiz (Jose Cardenas), Victor Puentes (Sergio Avelar), Thomas Valles (Carlos Pratts), Johnny Sameniego (Hector Duran), and the three Diaz Brothers – David (Rafael Martinez), Damacio (Michael Aguero) and Danny (Ramiro Rodriguez). The Diaz brothers help their parents as “pickers” in the fields, before and after school and on weekends. Thomas Valles, also a picker, is dealing with a pregnant sister and negative father figure, Coach White and his family must learn to live and adjust to life in McFarland, while the other runner have their own unique hardships to deal with. Blending cross country meets and fundraising car washes, Latin traditions like tamale and quinceñera parties, and a heartwarming story together in a way that will make you cheer in your seat, McFarland, USA takes us on a journey showing us that not matter where you are from or what life deals you, there is a champion inside each of us able to run and grab a piece of the American dream.
I can’t wait for everyone to see Disney’s McFarland USA, premiering, February 20, 2015. It is a feel good story that will make you laugh, cry and cheer! Loretta Garcia, Entertainment Writer for ChipandCo.com – see you at the movies!
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