McFarland, USA

Disney’s McFarland, USA took me back to my high school days. I participated in cross country and track all four years of high school. The intense trainings on hills and other beautiful courses from the movie reminded me of my worry free days. My only responsibilities included: earning good grades and cleaning my parent’s home. Oh and course, doing the best I could at the races. I think I managed to do all of these things pretty well. I wasn’t the best but I wasn’t the worst either.

Another part of the movie that took me back to high school was attending quinces/quinceaneras. Attending 15th birthday parties was the thing to do on a Friday or Saturday night. Going to quinces was especially a big deal for me in 9th and 10th grade. I looked forward to eating good food, dressing up and dancing with my friends. The highlights of the party were usually the dance and cake! For those who aren’t familiar with a quinceanera, it’s similar to a sweet 16 party and/or bar mitzvah . The girl typically has a church mass with her court (this usually involves 7 couples of males and females), friends and family. After the mass, a lunch or dinner reception is held. The dance immediately follows the reception. The girl dances with her father, court and chambelan (her partner). The birthday girl usually wears a white dress. Her court wears tuxedos and formal dresses in whichever color she and/or her mother choose. Some quinces also include small children called lucky charms. Her parents and/or lucky charms typically give her a gift at the dance. The gift is usually a pair of high heels (her first pair of dancing shoes) or a car…if they’re rich enough. Getting back to the movie…

The movie takes place in 1987 in a small Mexican-American farming/picking town near Bakersfield, Calif. Coach White (Kevin Costner) moves there with his wife and two daughters. He takes a teaching and coaching position in McFarland as a last resort. He was terminated from a previous football coaching job. He threw a football cleat at one of his players out of anger. It turns out, Coach White isn’t meant to be a football coach. While coaching physical education and driving around the small town, he realizes there are some good runners at his school. He convinces the principal to let him start a cross country team. The team involves seven male runners. Before school, some of the runners work with their families as fruit and vegetable pickers in the fields. This is all they are meant to do in life until Coach White comes along. Coach White pushes them to do well in their trainings and races. He also pushes them to get a college degree. Although the movie is predictable, I still enjoyed it. I enjoyed the movie’s sense of community very much. The movie is based on a true story. I recommend the movie to people of all ages.

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