Why You Should See McFarland USA Today

*I received an all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles for the coverage of several press events for Disney and ABC. All opinions are 100% my own and we only recommend shows that are a great fit for our readers.

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Photo credit: Disney

I am going to take my family to see McFarland USA today and I want to share with you why I think it is important for them to see, now.  McFarland USA follows a teacher as he is sent to his “last resort” school and his family is none-too-happy with this placement.  McFarland USA follows their real-life journey to finding their place in a world where they cannot fit in, but somehow, find a way to shine!  Along the way the amazing story of the American dream develops for 7 young men in a town that could be any small, poor town in America.

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Photo Credit: Disney

McFarland USA could not be more relevant to American culture than right now!  What we are witnessing in our country and the change in our culture makes this film speak to everyone who loves America and hungers to watch the American dream evolve.  This is definitely a movie that will make you feel great about this great country we live in and the opportunities that are available to everyone who works hard and applies themselves.  As Kevin Costner said about the film, himself, it’s about so much more than the finish line.

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Photo Credit: Silvia Mtz, Mamá Latina Tips

While I was in Los Angeles last week, I was also able to sit down with Niki Caro, the director of McFarland USA.  It was so much fun listening to her talk about directing this film.  She talked about the town, the actors, and the people who make McFarland USA!

Question:  How was directing this movie different from movies you normally direct?

Niki Caro: It was the same because I like to work in a certain way and, I figured out, it’s taken me such a long time,  but I figured out the way I work best; which is real stories and real people. Go to the real community, ask for their collaboration, keep my eyes and my ears open and my mouth shut. Just see how life is lived.  Be really observant. It would be really arrogant and stupid wouldn’t it for me, a middle class urban mother of two from New Zealand to presume what life’s like,  to impose my will onto the lives of Mexican teenagers who work in the fields and run.  I know nothing about that, but I can learn.

I’ve become a lot more competent because I have a lot of skill now of going into communities and representing them faithfully and, hope respectfully, certainly lovingly, shine a light on what those lives are like.  Nothing gives me a bigger thrill than to show people from little places.People like these, how  beautiful they are, and show other people how beautiful they are.

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Photo Credit: Silvia Mtz, Mamá Latina Tips

Question: What was it like working with Kevin Costner?

Niki Caro: It’s awesome. He’s so handsome, in every way and yet there’s nobody more humble. I couldn’t have wished for a better partner. His skill, his experience, his wisdom, and just his decency as a man; breathtaking.  It would have been enough if my expectations had been okay.

The movie star, Kevin Costner, is going to come onto my set and he’s going to do this thing. We should all be so lucky, right?  I hope, because of the sort of director that I am, that he will show up as an actor and not bring kinda the movie star stuff with him. Not only did he show up as an actor, but he showed up as himself and the man he is  He’s so decent. He’s so honorable, so humble and so generous to those boys. It was very, very moving for me to watch the way — how fatherly he was with them and equally what the boys did to him. They’re so irreverent and really brought out his tenderness and his humility.  I’m so happy.  I watched the movie and I know that the relationship you see on screen is totally genuine.

Now when I called cut, he didn’t go off and get in his trailer. He was still hanging out with the boys. He was subtly guiding them, not imposing his will ever on the production or on me, despite his experience, but just supporting those kids as young men. Even right back to when they first met, we had a table read. These kids come and there’s all of Disney and there’s Kevin. He just said to them, “You boys remember this. You will remember this — what you’re about to experience — you will remember for the rest of your lives. This is about to be one of the most important and defining things you will experience as a human being and enjoy it.”  What a guy. There’s a long answer, wasn’t it?  I could talk all day.

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