By Rajanae Hudson
The movie “McFarland, USA” is a true story about Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner), who wants to start a cross-country track team because he is inspired by Carlos Pratts’ (Thomas Valles) amazing running speed. Coach White moves to McFarland in 1987 to start over after being fired from his job coaching high school football in Idaho. He keeps seeing Carlos running and then recognizes him working in the fields.
Coach White introduces himself to Carlos and asks him if he wants to be on a track team.
Carlos is unsure at first, because he doesn’t know what a track team is. After thinking about it, he decides to join Coach White’s track team. He tells his brothers about joining the team. They say yes to the idea and begin training on a dirt field.
Coach White approaches McFarland High School, where he teaches science and PE, with his plan to start a track team. His plan is turned down at first, because he doesn’t have a background in coaching track. He keeps asking the school administration until they say yes, and in the meantime he is getting his team ready for competition.
Carlos, who is Hispanic, is working in the fields and going to school. He is working hard to make money and after he is done, he runs home everyday, which is how Coach White sees him. Carlos’ brothers do not run for fun, so Carlos has to convince them to join the team.
¨McFarland, USA¨ is inspiring because it is about how Coach White, his wife and two daughters move to a different state and little town where they don’t know anyone and stand out because they are one of the few white families. His new neighbors look at him thinking, “why is he here?”
But to him, it doesn’t matter that people look at him funny, because he thinks the people will have to get used to him. And they do, because as Coach White works with the boys track team, the community sees how successful they can be.
This is a good film because Coach White is able to get his way–to become a cross-country track coach–and help Carlos and his brothers to create the team. Costner’s acting is good, his role is believable as a coach. Without him, McFarland High School wouldn’t have a track team and Carlos and his brothers would have never made the championship.
Costner’s role in “McFarland” is similar to the role he played in the movie “Black or White.” In both movies he plays a character who helps people. It doesn’t matter to him what culture you are, it just matters that you can be successful. Costner’s choice of roles sends an inspiring message to people to understand that if you haven’t experienced something before you can always try to make it work and never give up.
Valles is OK as an actor, but his scenes are most important when the audience can simply see him run. Though the running is important to the movie, it does get boring after a while seeing him run so many times.
This movie is recommended for all coaches and athletic students to watch because it is inspiring.