Friday, February 20, 2015

McFarland, USA

I like movies.... a lot!  I like to go and escape into the plot and the scenery and forget my every day stresses.  Plus, can we talk movie popcorn? Yum!  So, I was excited for the opportunity to see McFarland, USA.  I knew it would be a feel-good movie, and Disney always does their movies well.

What I didn't expect was to be moved and inspired.  I didn't expect to talk about the movie all the way home with my husband.  I didn't expect to go home and re-commit to goals I had set.  I didn't expect to look at life with a different perspective.  McFarland, USA is the movie that did that for me.

Let me tell you a little bit about 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.

So, why was I so moved?  One of the things that inspired me is how the boys kept running no matter what.  They had incredible challenges in their lives, yet they overcame and kept running.  They found in each of themselves that spark that when ignited shows us we can accomplish greatness.... it's there in all of us.

I loved how the community encircled the White family.  It all started with a chicken!  There were cultural differences and  stereotypes and pre-conceived prejudices,  yet all that was put aside as they learned to embrace the differences and love... they became family.

I loved how Coach Jim White and the boys themselves changed not only the direction of their lives but generations that followed.  At the end of the movie you can see the actual boys (all grown men now) and what they've done with their lives.  So many of them returned to McFarland and continue to give back to the community, not only through the careers they've chosen but by their community support.

I left the movie wanting to re-ignite my spark, wanting to make a difference, with a renewed belief that one person's droplet of kindness can have a ripple effect that goes on and on.  I left the movie wanting to be a better me.

McFarland, USA opens in theaters nationwide today, February 20th.  If nothing else, you'll enjoy the movie, the story is entertaining, funny, and heart-warming.  But you just may, like me, come out a little bit better.

Disclosure:  I was given the opportunity to see this movie for the purpose of a review.  The opinions are all my own and free of charge!

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