As all of you who have read my previous post, a few weeks ago, I finally had a chance to watch the movie, Mc Farland USA on the Starz cable channel. What was nice about this was that it was without interuption unlike channels that have to have several commercials throughout the movie.
Since watching the movie, I've seen several write-ups about the movie. Also, it was interesting checking the internet to see what was fact and what was Hollywood. Yes, the movie is based on a true story, but not everything was done in reality the way it was done in the movie.
To me and many people who saw the movie, I thought it was great, perhaps the most enjoyable sports movie I've seen! Too often, we get "caught up" into what can be too much detail. Niki Caro, the person who directed the movie wanted this to be a movie and not a documentary. That was meant for films such as Spirit Of The Marathon I and II and Fire On The Track. They're great movies as well. It's just that this movie is not a documentary!
Though it never hurts to have someone like Kevin Costner in the movie, seeing actors and actresses that I've never seen before was fantastic. Carlos Pratts (Thomas Valles), Hector Duran (Johnny Samaniego), Sergio Avelar (Victor Puentes), Ramiro Rodriguez (Danny Diaz), Michael Aguero (Damacio Daiz), Rafael Martinez (David Diaz) and Johnny Ortiz (Jose Cardenas) were outstanding! The names in parenthesis are the actual runners. They trained for their part in this movie by running at least five miles a day! Sergio actually ran for Mc Farland Cross Country team in 2011. His knowledge of running, I'm certain, helped the other six actors during the preparation.
Maria Bello who played Cheryl White, the coach's wife was excellent along with Diana Maria Riva who played the part of Juanita Diaz. What I enjoyed about their roles was the fact that it was more than a cross country movie. It brought out the way of life in Mc Farland, California, a small town in the Central Valley. Also, it brought out family which the director wanted.
Another item was the music. Enjoyed it! One of my favorites, though I need to translate what's being sung, is Juntos by Juanes. It's a really upbeat song.
One thing was unfortunate however. While the movie was in production, Mc Farland's streak of appearances at the CIF State Meet ended at 24 straight years. The school, because of their success, was elevated all the way up to Division I level despite the fact that the school had roughly 750 students. Personally, I feel that's unfair not only to the runners, but also the coaches and the Mc Farland community!
That being said, no question that Mc Farland USA is a "feel good" movie, especially to those who are Costner fans. I'm looking forward to the DVD in the mail soon!