Routine and clichéd, but not without it's moments.6/10
'MCFARLAND, USA': Three Stars (Out of Five)
Disney's sports drama flick, based on a true story, about the high school coach of a Mexican-American cross country team, in a small California town in 1987. It stars Kevin Costner as the coach and was directed by Niki Caro (the director of such other critically acclaimed films as 2002's 'WHALE RIDER' and 2005's 'NORTH COUNTRY'). It was written by Christopher Cleveland, Bettina Gilois and Grant Thompson. I found the movie to be pretty routine, and cliched, but not without it's moments.
Costner plays Jim White; a high school football coach who's forced to relocate his family to McFarland, California; after getting into trouble in Boise, Idaho (for being too rough on his players). It's a mostly Hispanic small town and Jim worries that, due to gang violence there, it might not be the safest place to raise his two daughters (Morgan Saylor and Elsie Fisher). He attempts to fit in, at the school, but once again gets into trouble; this time with the head football coach. After noticing what fast runners a lot of the students are, he asks the principal if he can start a cross country team. White then begins enlisting troubled, but very quick, students.
The story is an inspiring underdog tale, with a lot of heart, in classic sports film tradition. Costner is great in the leading role and the supporting cast, of mostly young unknown Hispanic actors, are all good too. The directing is decent, for this type of film, as well; but I think Caro's previous work is much better. While this movie goes through all the right motions, and does what it's basically supposed to, that's also (basically) all it does; there's nothing refreshing or original to it. I also found it quite boring, at times, due to it's cliched nature and tired overused melodrama. It's an inspiring story though and Costner is especially good in it.
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