Have you ever watched a movie where you instantly find yourself cheering for and hoping that the main characters win? I do. I’m a sucker for underdog movies and especially sports movies with underdogs as the main characters. I checked out McFarland, USA not realizing really what this movie was about, except there was running involved, Kevin Costner was in it, it was based on the 1987 true story, and was also a Disney movie.
In McFarland, USA, Kevin Costner stars as Jim White, coach of a football team in a predominantly white, influential, and affluent neighborhood, until he has a falling out with administration and is forced to move to the only place where he can find a job, at McFarland, a primarily Latino high school in an economically challenged town in the Central Valley of California, where farms can be found everywhere. Here, Jim and his family are forced to live on a teacher’s salary where he makes less than usual when he is forced to get creative to make a cross country team when 1) he loses his job as assistant football couch and 2) he notices that the students in his P.E. class do not have cars, are running from the fields to school to home, and that they don’t actually mind running in class. Running long distances is very easy to them, so he decides to create a cross country team, the first in McFarland’s history.
With a first-time cross country coach and a first-time team, they meet adversity and are forced to band together to show their families and community that they can win and are actually on the same playing level as the rest of the teams they are competing against. This description may sound cheesy and like the classic underdog story, but I encourage you to check this movie out, as the directors make sure to flesh out and give lives to all of the people in Jim’s life, the people in his players’ lives, and in the community all around them, making this movie entertaining no matter what character you find yourself relating to the most.