McFarland, USA: The Most Inspirational Movie of 2015

The movie is amazing. I laughed. I cried. And I came away a better person because I realize that like the family in the movie, it’s easy to forget just how lucky you are and how not to judge a book by its cover. And that greatness doesn’t come from money or fancy homes or anything you can buy.

I’ve always been a fan of Kevin Costner and the trailers for the movie caught my eye. Set here in California, highlighting the story of a culture that few people experience, giving us all a reason to truly appreciate a lot more things in life. We can complain about our jobs or our finances but we aren’t up at 5am to pick in the fields, then run to school, then go back to the fields after school, just to help put food on the table. The love displayed in those families who don’t have all the things that many of us do will really make you think. (“Don’t say to me no!” was always said in love and now when I have to remind a child to not be resistant, that phrase keeps coming to mind!)

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There’s the team in the movie!

In the movie, the three Diaz brothers have quite the family dynamic with Senora Diaz being a favorite character, a woman who parents her children sternly but with a lot of love, affection and family devotion. While the lifestyle is hard, the family comes together over dinner and envelop Coach White and his family into their own in a way you have to see or experience to understand. And then there are the enchiladas.

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The quinceneara scene! Every dad should have this moment, something that so many of us just don’t celebrate in a way that we should.

Without giving too much of the movie away, I will say it moves quickly for all of it’s two hours and eight minutes. Coach White’s character is a dedicated coach who has to make a big lifestyle change when he moves his wife and two daughters to McFarland. Learning to fit into an entirely new type of environment, letting go of stereotypes and seeing the good in people happens to them together as Coach White builds a cross-country team consisting of “six runners and Danny Diaz” where there had previously been no track team at this struggling school. From recruiting to training to entering meets, you grow to love the characters and understand more of their unique personalities, and each runner begins to dream about the possibilities they now have, possibilities including college and going further than anyone else in their family has gone. And you’ll cheer for them while you admire their drive…and hope that you never have to run up those hills. He turned the underdogs into inspirational motivators that you won’t quickly forget, and each time I run (which is several days a week, though I need to get one of those “I hate running!” shirts), I picture the hill scene. I.Will.Not.Quit.

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The relationship between these two is special, cemented by a moment that you have to see to understand but grown by an understanding that only a dedicated coach and a smart, resilient, headstrong young man could create.

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My favorite scene was the ocean visit. That’s all I’ll say. Sniff.

“Uno, dos, tres…McFarland!”  Me, I’m looking forward to cooler weather here in California so I can proudly wear my new McFarland hoodie, and I’ve been listening to the soundtrack quite a bit. The music gets you going and will have you moving in your seat. Juanes, where have you been all my life?  Now go see the movie when it comes out on February 20th! Take the fam or your special loved one, it’s great for everyone!

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