Anyway, let's let the drama continue. Like Remember the Titans, MacFarland USA is based on a true story. Aren't all sports movies? I mean, other than Angels in the Outfield? Back in the 80's, Jim White was fired from being a football coach after a simple incident and complaint. Two things here: I never watched a movie with this Kevin Costner before, and after watching Whiplash I didn't expect it to be that easy. Now his family has to hightail it all the way from Boise to MacFarland, one of the poorest towns in the United States and it kind of reminded me of the place outside our Grand Bahia Principe Esmeralda resort in Dominican Republic outside our bus. White hates it in MacFarland immediately, all rural farmer-like neighbours, and his last name doesn't really help much. At least here, people call him 'White' for more than one reason and it's actually a little funny. At first a little lazy and depressed with his job as a gym teacher, he one day notices how these students, Thomas in particular, can run at an almost record-breaking time worldwide in all of America. The thing is, MacFarland doesn't have a cross country team, but seeing as these seven guys, well, six, not counting fat Danny, have true potential, he intends to start one.
And don't worry; I'm not joking about the actor of Danny being fat, it's how everyone else in this movie jokes about him. And not everything in this movie is accurate, the main one being Jim White wasn't kicked out of football and he simply just resumed the cross country team after it was put on halt a year before his arrival. Whatever. Yet this movie is not insulting in the most. In some ways, it outsults all sorts of big issues we have about race and town. For instance, why do you think the White's hated it in MacFarland at first? Why did Jim apparently think of these folks by the gas station and restaurant gang members? But let me just say for a fact that MacFarland USA is the most relatable film I've seen all year. Okay, I'm from a town called Lindsay. True, it's the biggest town in the City of Kawartha Lakes, but it isn't really a city. That isn't a bad thing at all; the people are so nice, there are no crimes from what I can remember, and at high school, I haven't been bullied once since 2012. However, my dreams are big in life, since I want to be a full-time writer and or an actor someday and it can be hard getting connections in a small town. What can also be a challenge is sports teams. Toronto and Ottawa have dozens and dozens of people to play for teams of every sort, which often upsets me. Another time where there's a situation like this, in book, is Big Nate Goes for Broke when Nate tries to discover the Achilles Heel of their rival school that always beats his at everything. And sometimes that leads to tormenting. Sometimes to bullying. This movie shows superbly how you can still prevail even over the "mightiest" of foes. For instance, the MacFarland team knows what it's like to be up at the crack of dawn picking cabbages and having families that need them, which (spoilers) gets in the way of the team a bit. Why Jim White wants to build a team, apart from Thomas' skill, is never quite clear, but the movie lets you guess, and I bet it's because of the sudden impressive endurance they have and a way for him to redeem himself.
The only real thing I can think of to complain about is that the movie is sometimes predictable; but in this case, Costner and his seven biceps have made an exemplary movie about dream, about diving into something new, whether it's running or the possibility of going to college rather than working for your family. It shows just because someone's a little chubby doesn't make them bad at something, it shows how everyone's vulnerable, and by the end, I expected a giant avalanche of bad and instead got one of the most inspirational talks I've ever heard. Throughout the movie, I was in shock, or suspense, or joy at the sight of seeing a few teens either seeing the ocean for the first time or seeing the love of their dream. And I haven't spoiled even a quarter of what you'll find. Give it a try!