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"McFARLAND, USA"
(2015) (Kevin Costner, Carlos Pratts) (PG)


Alcohol/Drugs Mild
Blood/Gross Stuff Mild
Disrespectful/Bad Attitude Heavy
Frightening/Tense Scenes Moderate
Gun/Weapons Minor
Imitative Behavior Heavy
Jump Scenes None
Music (Scary/Tense) Minor
Music (Inappropriate) None
Profanity Mild
Sex/Nudity Mild
Smoking Minor
Tense Family Scenes Heavy
Topics to Talk About Heavy
Violence Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A high school coach gets one last chance at redemption in one of the poorest towns in America where he tries to create a cross country team out of an unlikely assortment of students.
PLOT:
It's 1987 and Jim White (KEVIN COSTNER) is a high school teacher and coach who's nearly at the end of his job related options. Having lost his temper and injured one of his football players at his last school, he's now moved his family -- wife Cheryl (MARIA BELLO), nearly 15-year-old daughter Julie (MORGAN SAYLOR), and her younger sister, Jamie (ELSIE FISHER) -- to the impoverished town of McFarland, California. He's managed to get a job there at the local high school teaching life sciences and PE, while also serving as the assistant football coach for a team that's quite horrible.

After getting canned from the latter position and noting that some of the boys are quite fast and show lots of stamina while running, he comes up with the idea to create a cross country team despite having no experience doing so and notwithstanding the fact that none of the students has ever competitively run. Nonetheless, he manages to convince the principal and gets seven students -- Thomas (CARLOS PRATTS), Johnny (HECTOR DURAN), Victor (SERGIO AVELAR), Jose (JOHNNY ORTIZ) and the Diaz brothers, David (RAFAEL MARTINEZ), Danny (RAMIRO RODRIGUEZ) and Damacio (MICHAEL AGUERO) -- to form his team.

Most of them work picking vegetables on large farms just like their parents and other family members, and that seems to be the most likely future for most of them, unless they end up in prison like Victor's cousin, Javi (RIGO SANCHEZ), who's only recently gotten out. Jim is determined to change that, and despite the long odds and facing other high school teams that are better financed and prepared, he enters his squad into various races.

At the same time, he and his family come to know and be accepted like family by many of the town's various residents, which is a welcome development following their shaky start there. As the races continue and the boys start to prove their prowess at the sport, Jim finds redemption and happiness in helping make a change in their lives and the town in which they live.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Since the film features a fairly large Hispanic cast, Hispanic kids might be drawn to it, while those into running might also be interested.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For thematic material, some violence and language.


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