In his latest strong turn in a notable late-career resurgence, Kevin Costner stars in McFarland, USA. Yes, it’s another Costner film about sports (though this is nothing like Bull Durham, Tin Cup or Draft Day). And yes, this is another inspirational sports-minded film based on a true story that can appeal to an entire family. But I say in my video review above, this one is worth running out to the theater to watch.
In this case, the story revolves around a family moving to a small California farm town where Costner’s character takes a job as a science and physical education teacher. He spots some natural talents and persuades them to help launch a cross-country team while he and his family adjust to the new town and life. The cast also includes Maria Bello, Ramiro Rodriguez, Carlos Pratts and Johnny Ortiz.
The film is directed by the terrific Niki Caro (previously she directed the fine Whale Rider and North Country), from a script by Christopher Cleveland, Bettina Gilois and Grant Thompson. Producers are Mark Ciardi and Gordon Gray.
Disney is the latest to roll out an inspirational sports-minded family film (they previously had Remember the Titans among others, but there was also the huge Warner Bros. hit The Blind Side, which won an Oscar for Sandra Bullock). With any luck, this story of plucky cross-country teammates and a fish out of water will run away with box office and critical love too.