McFarland USA (2015) - Rotten Tomatoes

McFarland USA (2015)

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Critic Consensus: Disney's inspirational sports drama formula might be old hat, but McFarland, USA proves it still works -- especially with a talented director and eminently likable star in the mix.

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Movie Info

From Disney comes MCFARLAND, the true against-all-odds story of the 1987 McFarland high school cross country team in an economically challenged community. (C) Disney

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Cast

Kevin Costner
as Jim White
Maria Bello
as Cheryl White
Morgan Saylor
as Julie White
Sergio Avelar
as Victor Puentes
Hector Duran
as Johnny Sameniego
Rafael Martinez
as David Diaz
Johnny Ortiz
as Jose Cardenas
Ramiro Rodriguez
as Danny Diaz
Danny Mora
as Sammy Rosaldo
Valente Rodriguez
as Principal Camillo
Vanessa Martinez
as Maria Marsol
Chris Ellis Jr.
as Coach Jenks
Diana-Maria Riva
as Señora Diaz
Omar Leyva
as Señor Diaz
Chelsea Rendon
as Sonia Rosaldo
Michael Aguero
as Damacio Diaz
Elsie Fisher
as Jamie White
Natalia Córdova
as Señora Valles
Ben Bray
as Ernesto Valles
Eloy Casados
as Dale Padilla
Josh Clark
as Coach Jameson
Ashley Bravo
as Lola Valles
Chad Mountain
as Clovis Coach
J. Downing
as Race Official
Brian Connors
as Park Aide
Alex MacNicoll
as Fitz Mitchell
Michael Tong
as Hunter - Centennial Runner
Baxter Frick
as Blowdry - Stevens Creek Runner
Juana Flores
as Señora Soto
Regi Davis
as Centennial Coach
Connor Weil
as Palo Alto Runner #1
Tyler Sellers
as Palo Alto Runner #2
Anthony Renaud
as Starter (Race #1)
Brian Hayes Currie
as Stevens Creek Coach
Sarah Benoit
as Principal Camillo's Assistant
Isabelle Ortega
as School Librarian
Jorge Luis Padilla
as Young Cholo
Salvador Velez
as Player #1
Isaiah Gonzales
as Player #2
Catherine Toribio
as Flirting Girl #1
Rosa Ochoa
as Flirting Girl #2
Rebeca Silva
as Grandmother Valles
John Funk
as Centennial Assistant Coach
Sean O'Connell
as Morro Bay Coach
Jeffrey G. Sheller
as Palo Alto Assistant Coach
Alfredo Lopez
as Mariachi Singer
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News & Interviews for McFarland USA

Critic Reviews for McFarland USA

All Critics (120) | Top Critics (35)

Yes, "McFarland USA" has the obligatory coda where we found out how everything played out for the coach and the key members of that 1987 team. You should stick around for that.

February 26, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

The latest in a long line of condescendingly inspirational sports movies about a catalog Caucasian who learns that people of other races are also capable of being decent.

Full Review… | February 23, 2015
Time Out
Top Critic

Here's a movie that should be disposable at best, and racially condescending at worst, and yet it sticks with you. It comes by its emotions honestly and wins you over.

Full Review… | February 21, 2015
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

You fall for the kids playing the runners because Caro lets their souls come through in the bus rides and the race sequences and the shameless scenes of cabbage picking.

Full Review… | February 20, 2015
Grantland
Top Critic

[Costner] could have sailed through this film but he gives his role an ingrained orneriness and melancholy that lifts the entire enterprise.

Full Review… | February 20, 2015
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic

Inspiration is for sale in here. And though more than a spoonful of sugar is slathered over the fact-based script, the movie delivers as promised on the thrill of the race and the lump in the throat.

February 20, 2015
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for McFarland USA

McFarland USA undeniably means well. It's sweet and charming, but like most inspirational sports movies, there is not a single surprise or unpredictable story beat in this film. It is very much an underdogs rising up to victory tale. The script also falls flat with the scenes involving Costner's wife, feeling awkward and labored. McFarland USA will choke up undemanding viewers, but there isn't enough in it to be remembered as a great sports film. Rating: 59

Bradley J
Bradley J

Super Reviewer

½

Can a movie be completely predictable and still be entertaining? With McFarland, USA the answer is an unqualified yes. I will admit that the narrative follows the familiar beats of inspirational sports dramas. Disney has made an industry of this genre. Remember the Titans, Cool Runnings, The Rookie, Miracle - they're all examples of how this subject has been done many times before. In these cases, it's been accomplished successfully. The variation to formula in this case is cross country track. Okay so that's a minor difference, but the picture has an authenticity to it. McFarland, USA is an genuinely heartfelt story worth revisiting. I feel compelled to justify why I enjoyed this. Those viewers who already find these traditional tales difficult to enjoy, will not be taken in by this film's simple charms. However of you're open to a nicely acted production that makes you feels good, you should give this a try. fastfilmreviews.com

Mark Hobin
Mark Hobin

Super Reviewer

Many movies follow a proven formula very closely, but sometimes a well written, well executed formulaic movie can remind you how appealing that formula can be, and that is McFarland, USA, an inspirational Disney sports film that warmed my heart. Kevin Costner stars as a science teacher and sports coach for a working class California town mostly populated with Mexican-American immigrant families. He sees the endurance and speed of several students and decides to form a cross-country team, even though he's never coached anything related to track in his life. What follows is a mixture of the inspirational teacher film and the inspirational sports team film. Thankfully the screenplay and director Niki Caro (Whale Rider) take their time to flesh out the runners, giving them personalities and different degrees of depth, troubled by real-world problems without easy answers. The movie works as a great tool for empathy as it respectfully illuminates the limited economic opportunities and backbreaking labor of so many Mexican-American immigrants toiling in our fields. The movie creates an amiable sense of community and even though moments can feel contrived, I always had a smile on my face. The people came across as people, complicated, proud, hopeful. It opens up a world and showcases just how hard these people work to assist their families. Costner is a stable anchor for the film but it's his young cast that really give the film its lift. The emotions are genuine and the uplift is earned, thanks to careful plotting and generous characterization. McFarland, USA is a feel-good movie that's better than good and a perfect film for the whole family. Nate's Grade: B+

Nate Zoebl
Nate Zoebl

Super Reviewer

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