McFarland, USA continues the Disney sports drama tradition of previous films like Million Dollar Arm and Remember the Titans. Here is the official boilerplate/synopsis of the movie:
Based on the 1987 true story, “McFarland, USA” follows novice runners from McFarland, an economically challenged town in California’s farm-rich Central Valley, as they give their all to build a cross-country team under the direction of Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner), a newcomer to their predominantly Latino high school. Coach White and the McFarland students have a lot to learn about each other but when White starts to realize the boys’ exceptional running ability, things begin to change. Soon something beyond their physical gifts becomes apparent-the power of family relationships, their unwavering commitment to one another and their incredible work ethic. With grit and determination, the unlikely band of runners eventually overcomes the odds to forge not only a championship cross-country team but an enduring legacy as well. Along the way, Coach White realizes that his family finally found a place to call home and both he and his team achieve their own kind of American dream.
My First Impressions:
I had not seen this film in theaters so seeing it at home was my first time. I have found the previous Disney sports movies interesting and this one fits that same mold. The film seemed to drag on a bit with a running time just over 2 hours but looking back not sure what I would cut to make it more concise. I would have liked to have seen some more levity or something to make the pace seem quicker. As with most dramas the audience target seems slightly older than your typical Disney fair. The movie also touches on some of the culture difference of an immigrant/farming community as well as stereotypes of both the community and the coach / his family.
Bonus Material Thoughts:
I watched the Blu-ray & Digital HD pack release. It contains the film and some bonus material. The offerings with this film are your standard fair of deleted and extended scenes as well as a look at the true story that inspired the film. There is also a music video by Juanes.
The most interesting of the pieces was the reflections featurette that included the original team members, Coach White and Kevin Costner. They are sitting around and talking about the team and some of the themes of the film.