These Cross Country Runners Are Changin’ Kevin Costner’s Life In ‘McFarland, USA’


McFarland is crappy little town in California’s Central Valley on Highway 99 between Bakersfield and Fresno. Which I know because I grew up in a crappy little town on Highway 99 between Bakersfield and Fresno. Sadly for my town, we have not yet been immortalized in a Kevin Costner movie like McFarland, USA.

Co-starring Maria Bello and directed by “Whale Rider” helmer Niki Caro, the film is a based on a true story about a coach who arrives in a dirt poor farming town and turns his mostly Latino charges into cross country stars. Insert the American Dream, some dramatic beats about immigrant families, and mix in sun-kissed cinematography, and you have all the ingredients for a movie that seems to be exactly what it promises. Disney’s last shot at the inspiration, cross-cultural sports movie, “Million Dollar Arm,” didn’t quite work out well, so we’ll see how this goes. [ThePlaylist]

“McFarland, USA” seems like the blandest of bland titles, but I guess I can understand why they didn’t call it “Minimum Wage Legs.” (Actually, it’s less than minimum wage, because farm workers don’t get overtime until after 60 hours, rather than 40. Enjoy your competitively-priced fruit, gringos). The three Diaz bit was accurate though. Once, during a graduation ceremony at my high school, the principal was reading off the names of the graduates, and was so used to all the Spanish names that he announced “Geoffrey Jones” as “Jeffrey Ho-ness.” Incidentally, we had a very good cross country team.

It remains to be seen how they’re going to make a cross country race look cinematic.  But I’ll be rooting for them, because I can’t wait to cry my eyes out when the plucky Central Valley kids beat those spoiled punks from Palo Alto or Orange County or Clovis or wherever. Also, Danny Trejo better be in this somewhere.

DANNY TREJO’S HOMEBOY: Órale, you’re changing that coach’s life!

DANNY TREJO: No, ése. (*leans back against lowrider, takes sip of michelada*) He’s changing mine.

Opens February 20th.