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Movie Breakdown: McFarland, USA

February 19, 2015


People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing led us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

Kevin Costner continues his lackluster attempt at a comeback with a role that sees him teaching a bunch of poor kids how to be good at running cross country.

The Reality:

If you’ve seen Hoosiers, then you’ve seen McFarland, USA.  Granted, McFarland, USA isn’t as well made as Hoosiers and its story follows cross country runners and not basketball players, but plot and tone-wise it’s straight up the same film.  There’s a coach with a rather troubled past who finds himself in a complete “fish out of water” situation that seems hopeless, but instead of giving up he molds a group of downtrodden locals into something really special.  Yep, McFarland, USA is totally a “been there, done that” sort of thing and, to make the movie even more appealing, I can also note that it features clunky dialogue, stiff performances (what in the world happened to Kevin Costner’s charisma?) and a slew of incredibly heavy-handed messages.  You know what though?   Despite all of its various shortcomings, I liked it.  The film is a very heartwarming and inspiring experience that’s easy to enjoy.

If you’re in need of a pick me up these days, you could do a lot worse than McFarland, USA.  Grab a tissue or four and matinee it.

The Lesson:

I’m a goddamn sucker for sports movies.

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