McFarland, USA: a Kevin Costner film. This feel good story is based on real events that occurred in 1987, in McFarland, California, in a farming community in the Central Valley and a predominantly Mexican-American population. Costner plays Jim White, a high school football coach who has a temper, was hired as a physical ed teacher and assistant football coach. He and his family, move to McFarland. He begins teaching and notices the talent pool for a cross-country team. As the team develops, the White family becomes involved in the community. Seven runners comprise the team. Screenwriters, Christopher Cleveland, Bettina Gilois and Grant Thompson, are to be praised for their work. Niki Caro, a New Zealander, directs. Caro brings a fresh approach to what could have been another Hoosiers tale but this is more than yet another sports story and Adam Arkapaw’s cinematography during the cross country races is excellent. After watching this 128 minute movie, I left the theater feeling good. Costner’s performance is excellent and the writers allow you to see a community working together in spite of the poverty and the difficult environment. I could see this film a second time.
And… Last month I sent some of you an email about the excellent PBS documentary on August Wilson. Each year for the past 9 years TAG has presented an August Wilson play. Starting March 6, those of you in Honolulu can see “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”. I normally only comment on what I’ve seen, but given the past quality of TAG’s productions of Wilson’s plays, I’m not waiting on seeing the play before recommending you see the play.