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Like many of you, I don’t have the time or want to make the financial investment to see every movie the moment it hits the theaters.
I was on a trip recently to see family and I watched a couple of movies that had been out a while with my sister and brother-in-law on pay-per-view. The first one was “McFarland, USA” and the other was “Focus.” I’ll review “Focus” tomorrow (June 23).
Regarding “McFarland USA”, under no circumstances research the actual story about coach Jim White and the McFarland, California high school cross country team before seeing this movie. Yes, White coached the team to success and most of the team members went on to successful lives.
However, Walt Disney Pictures took major dramatic license with the story and if you read the actual story before seeing the movie, it will ruin the movie for you.
I’m a big boy, I understand why movie studios do that. But I was a little disappointed the story wasn’t exactly the way the movie portrayed it to be.
The movie, which stars Kevin Costner as White, is the story of a group of students and their families who live in McFarland, California which is just north of Bakersfield. It’s a hard life for the students as they go to school while working with their families in the fields picking crops. And yet, those students also found time under White’s guidance to be a state power in cross country.
I love these type of movies. I love “Hoosiers” and “Rudy.” But what I also liked about them is they didn’t feel predictable even though you knew what the outcomes would be. I mean no movie studio is going to produce a movie about an unsuccessful cross country team or a guy that didn’t get into Notre Dame.
“McFarland USA” is like that. You aren’t counting down the seconds before the scene you expect is coming on the screen. You know it’s coming, but director Niki Caro crafted this film to make you feel for just a little bit that maybe it won’t happen. But you know it will and it does.
Besides Costner, another famous face is Maria Bello, who portrays his wife Cheryl. The rest of the cast turns in excellent performances and I think you will enjoy this movie. Again, just postpone the research on it until after you see it.

UNTIL NEXT TIME. . .

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