McFarland, USA (2015) Script

He's just sitting there, man.

You can run around the edge!

I know, right. That's what...

All right, guys.

It wasn't my fault. Yeah.


We just set a record. It's not a good one.

The most points ever scored against this school, -and it's halftime.

You think that's funny, Mitchell?

No, sir.

Well, then why are you laughing?

You're our captain, elected by these guys.

Our only senior.

The time for you to make an impression was in practice this week.

On the field tonight. Not now.

And certainly not on the sidelines, planning a party at your parents' house because you know they're gone this weekend.

Pick it up.

Brandon, come here.

Come here. Yeah, you.

I said pick it up.

Now hand it to him.

Now, we have about five minutes before we have to go out there, in front of everybody who's come here to support us tonight.

The question is, what's gonna happen to you now, when you have to go out there, and everybody thinks that you're gonna lay down.


-Get out.

Me? I didn't say anything.

I said get out.

Are you kidding me?

Come here, let me take a look at that.

Dad, please tell me that you took the wrong exit.

Are we in Mexico?


Shall we go take a look, folks?

Come on.

Is this really the place?

Who's she?

Paint store.

First thing tomorrow.

Assuming there is one.

-Julie. -What?

Let's go find your room, girls.

Come on.

This place is a dump.

Like you care. You'll be at college soon.

I'm the one who's gotta live here.

I think we're all tired, guys.

Why don't we go find something to eat, okay?

Sounds great.

They gotta have a restaurant, right?


-Hello. How are you? -Good.

Good. Um...

We got tacos, tortas, burritos, tostadas and quesadillas.

You got burgers?

No, we got tacos, tortas, tostadas, burritos, and quesadillas.

Uh, tacos.

We'll take the tacos, thank you.

Okay. What kind of meat do you want?

Asada, al pastor, chorizo, cabeza, lengua, jamon?

I'll bring you a selection.

You can sit wherever you want.


I want to watch The Brady Bunch.

Yeah. How about it?

All right, everybody, just stay with me.

-Dad? -Just...

Come on, man. Don't be scared, mija.

Hey, that's enough.

Hold on.


You know what, we're not staying.

First thing Monday morning, we're out of here.

-Jim. -No, we're not staying here, all right?

I'm not having you and the girls stay here.

I'll find something else.


I don't remember there being a whole lot more options.

We'll move to Bakersfield. All right? I'll commute.

We cannot afford Bakersfield.

Okay. Look at us.

We're living on a teacher's salary.

If you'd just...

If we had just stayed somewhere longer, I don't know, built up some tenure, then it would be different.

I'm sorry.

Babe, you said it yourself.

This is the only job you could get.

-Yeah. -Right?

And our girls, they start that school on Monday.

We just gotta make it work.

We don't have a choice.


I'm so sorry.

Jamie, hon, you're gonna do it.

Come on, hon.

Please don't make me!

I know. I know it's hard.

Please don't make me!

I know it's hard, but you gotta do it, okay?

Please, Julie, help me.


I'm here to meet with Principal Camillo. I'm Jim.

Jim, the new life science guy.

And PE coach, and football.

That's right.

Maria Marsol. How was the drive in?

You like living in Bakersfield?

Bakersfield? No. We're, uh...

We're here in McFarland.

Well, look at you.

A little help, please?

Certainly don't want a fire in this place.

It could cost tens of... dollars' worth of damage, right?

This is your last chance, son.

Make the most of it.

Jim White?

Principal Camillo. How are you?

Decaffeinated. Come on.

I'm supposed to bleed a rock with the budget, handle the kids and their petty vendettas, and quit smoking.

Who am l, Superman?

What happened?

Oh, some kid called his little sister a...

Oh, I'm not gonna repeat what he said, but it explains why she's pregnant.

Sit down. Welcome to McFarland.

You know, I was surprised that a man like you would want to come here.

But then I read your file.

Up in Saint Paul, you were fired for verbally abusing your players.

I don't use profanity.

I was just trying to motivate some boys who didn't know the value of hard work.

And, uh, a fight with the chairman of the school board?

Difference of opinion.

And this latest incident. You wanna tell me about that?

I lost my temper. It should never have happened.

What are the chances of it happening again?

It's not gonna happen again.

Pleased to hear it.

Because you're running out of options, Mr. White.

Come in, Coach.

Coach White, Coach Jenks.

This is your new overqualified assistant.

That right?

The name's "White"?

-Yep. -Oh, wow.


Cardenas. Denas?

It's "Cardenas."




It's a popular name where you guys come from?

We gotta go.

Hold on, class isn't dismissed.

We gotta go, really. It's our mom.

Tell your mother she can wait.

You tell her.

Hey, White.

Is that a popular name where you come from?

Mr... Puentes.


Mr. Puentes, regular PE class. What do you normally do?

-Nothing. -Nothing?

Come on, homes. You really wanna mess this up?

You wanna get this all sweaty?

-Real peacock, huh?

All right, I'll tell you what we're gonna do.

We're gonna...

Let's take a lap, we'll call it a day.

What about you?

I'm not running, jefe.

I'm on the football team.

That's a linebacker's number.

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, coach.

It's the size of the fight in the dog.

Depends on how big the dog is.

-Big dog.

Huddle up! Huddle up!

They aren't really good, are they?

Ah, let's give them a chance, hon.

Maybe Dad will lose it again and then we'll get to move somewhere else.

Stop it. I don't wanna hear another word.

Go, Johnny!



-Did you see that hit?

-All right. Return.

Good job, guys!

Good hit! Good hit!

Nice clean hit.

Johnny. Johnny.

How many fingers am I holding up?



Look, it's Friday, man, okay?

Okay, special teams!

No, no, no, no.

Sit down. No. You're done.

Hey, coach, we only got 1 0!

We need one more! We need one more!

Sameniego, get in here!


I mean it. Sit down.

Cortez, let's go.


What time is it?

Ah, I'm guessing dawn.

-Dad. -What?

Wring its neck.


I will.

Welcome to McFarland.

For me?

Thank you.

Well, I see you kept it.

Kept what?

Well, knowing where you live, and knowing la Senora Soto as I do, I'm thinking she offered you a chicken.

And since you're in here buying feed instead of barbeque sauce, I'm thinking you kept it.

Smart move, hombre.

It shows you got manners.

Thanks, Mr...

Sammy Rosaldo.

Open every day on Sherwood Avenue since '62.

Jim White.

Cliff Avenue for about a week, but it sounds like you already know that.

I know a lot of things about McFarland.

Do you know anything about a plant that can make my garden look better?

You don't need a plant. You need a tree.

A tree?


The way that lot faces, the sun's too hot. Fries up your little verduras.

Lucky for you, I have a little tree I can sell you.

In 5 years, senor, you're gonna have a nice yard with some nice shade.

-Five years?

I don't think so.

You know, they got sodas in the store.

Water is free, White.

How long have you guys been at it?

Since five.


5:00 a.m., White.

"AM" means morning, ese.

Not the radio.

Hey, White. Chop and channel your Jeep, glass finish it, crank up the bass, hop up and down... You'll fit right in.

Yeah, when pigs fly. Who's the driver?

That's Javi.

Victor's uncle.

He just got out.

Out? What do you mean "out"?


Victor polished that rig every day Javi was inside.

Where's his father?

He's still in there.

See you later, White.

Come in.

-Right, I wanna get right to this.

Coach Jenks tells me that you and he had an altercation at the game.

-A what? -An altercation.

Well, I wouldn't...

-I wouldn't call it that.

-Well, uh, whatever it was, -Coach Jenks doesn't think

-this arrangement is gonna work out, and he's asked for you to step down.

Now, I feel that if he's the coach of the football team...

Wait, wait, wait. Hold on. You...

-You're firing me? -Nobody said you were fired.

Well, he just asked me to step down, and you didn't say no, which in my language means you're firing me.

-Hold on. -I just moved my family here.

Hold on, Jim!

I don't have the staff to go around firing people, because some insecure jerk who can't stop eating his apple got all bent out of shape.

-What did you... -Shut up!

You had a chance to talk and you let me do it for you.

-You're dismissed.

-Am I fired? -No, you're not fired either.

Now get out of here.

Look, I don't know if this is a pattern with you, and I don't know which one of you was a bigger jerk out there, but I'm counting on it that it wasn't you.

Because I need a PE teacher, and I need a life science teacher.

I don't know how that sits with you, but that's how it sits.

All right, run a lap.



Hi, Jamie.


How was school today?

It was okay.

Can I have half of that?

No, but you can have that half.

Yeah, you see that, carnal?

I was down.

How do you like getting smoked?

-What now, jefe? -Run another one.


They are fast.

They are.

You want another one?

You know, you're in the wrong sport, Sameniego.

Not anymore. Coach cut me.

You, too, huh?


You got fired from football? In your first week?

All right. Don't rub it in.

Congratulations, White.

They're treating you like a picker.

David, Damacio, Danny. Wake up, it's late.

Your father is waiting in the truck.

Don't be lazy.

The world doesn't wait for you.

May God bless you.

Thank you, Grandma.

David, Damacio, hurry up.

Pay attention and respect your teachers.

See you later.

I hear football didn't work out.

You need something to do with all of that spare time of yours?

What'd you have in mind?

Migrant parent meetings, Literacy programs, food banks, support groups.

These families need help.

No, it's not really...

Not really my sort of thing.

You live in McFarland, right?

You ever taken a look out there?

This is one of the poorest towns in America.

These kids are invisible, they are expendable.

They come from the fields, and they go back to the fields unless the prisons get them first.

You notice we got one right next door?

Yeah, I, uh...

I noticed.

Handy, huh?

Mr. White, it's pretty clear you don't wanna be here.

But for these kids, these are the best years of their lives, and if we're gonna reach them, now is the time.

But I guess that's not your kind of thing.



You're welcome.

You know that kid?

Yeah, it's Thomas Valles.

What do you know about him?


You like him.

No, I don't.

She likes him. Get closer.

Dad, don't, please.

Can I talk to you a minute?


You mind if I shut the door?

This requires a shut door?

Cross country running.

California is holding their first state championship this year.

Cross country? That's a private school sport.

They breathe different air than we do.

No, it's the same air.

You do understand we don't have a cross country team?

Yeah, what I don't understand is why we have a football team instead.

I mean, we have...We have kids here who seem like they can run forever.

They carbo-load on rice and beans.

I mean, they pick in extreme heat, they go to school all day and some of 'em even run home.

I've seen it.

And it's unbelievable. Yeah.

And you've just described half the kids in the Central Valley.

Jim, let me ask you something.

You've coached cross country before?


-Track? -No.

But you ran? Competed in high school maybe?


Well, you sound perfect.

Why are you following me?

Do you know how fast you were going?

What are you, a cop?

Look, I don't know if this car's speedometer is right, it's an old car, but if it... if it is, you're running almost 1 2 miles an hour.

Means you'd run a mile in five minutes.


You always run that fast?

I don't got a car, all right?

-Can I give you a lift? -No.

But you can quit following me.

These are the times from last year's county meet.

And this is where Thomas would be right now.

Top 10.

Top 10 in the state, and he doesn't own a pair of decent running shoes.

Look, Jim, you might be right.

Uh, but there's too many issues here, the school board being one of them.

But if I had board approval, you'd back it, right?

Well, yeah, sure, but that's never gonna happen.

California public school system pre-approved six new sports a few years ago to get funding for new lockers, including guess what?

Cross country.

And a cross country coach.

Yeah, it says it right here. "Cross country coach."

First four runners get one of these...

Nice and cold.

Get on the line.

On your marks...

Get set...


Johnny, stop bothering those girls and get over here.


I wanna ask you a question.

You think the guys in my class would be into cross country?

Country western ain't my thing, boss.

Cross country running, wise guy.

-For what? -To win, to compete.

To impress girls.

Nobody wins around here, White.

Doesn't have to be that way.

I watched you run. You can beat somebody.

If I felt like it.

Which I don't.

What do you say?

You want to help me get a team together?

How many do we need?


You can start with that knucklehead.

Johnny, make sure one of those guys is Thomas Valles.

Hey, ese.

You wanna be on the running team?


Come on, man.

Just think about it. Say yes.


I wanna talk to you guys about a running team.


You wanna be on the running team?

I'll be on the running team.

You guys wanna be on the running team?


I got you now, Cardenas.

You are this far from juvie, son.


You get me my change?

My change got stuck in the machine.

I asked Jose to get it out for me.

You're not helping them, White.

What did you do that for?


You just made the cross country team.

I told you to stay away from my sister!

Thomas, don't do that!

Tommy, don't do that!

And so did Thomas Valles.

Do me a favor, Valles. Act a little happier.

The coach just negotiated you out of a suspension.

Danny Diaz?

Hey, we needed seven.

Yeah, seven runners, not six runners and Danny Diaz.

Hey, Danny's our anchor.

And he'll drag our ass down.

All right, knock it off, Puentes.

Let's see if those legs work as fast as your mouth.

Elmo Bridge and back. Go.



I mean it, all right?

You're my anchor, Danny, and not because you're fat.

And you are a little fat, okay? So you better lose some weight.

So, why am I the anchor?

Because you're gonna hold this team steady, okay?

I lose you, I'll lose your brothers.

You're important, Diaz.

Let's go.

You hot, homes? You tired?

Because anytime you wanna stop, we're cool with that.

Now I've seen everything.

You guys keep going.

Down to the bridge and back.

I'll time you from here.

Hey, what are you doing?

You can't quit.

Oh, God.


Thank you.

Let's get some water.

Where's Victor?

Anybody seen Danny?

There he is.

Yeah, slower than 91 1 to a Mexican's house.

Those the best running shoes you guys got?

Best running shoes, school shoes, church shoes.

-Good, Danny. -Good job.

Good job, hermano.

All right.

Put them on.

New shoes.

New shorts, man!

Ain't no way I'm wearing these.

Yeah, well, then you're running naked, because those are our uniforms.

Hey, we wear them, you wear them, ese.

All right, let's hurry up.

Don't forget to take the tags off, right.

-Coach Jameson? -Yes, sir?

Jim White, McFarland.

I didn't know McFarland had a team.

Is that them?

Yeah. Yeah. They're faster than they look.

If you say so.

See you on the course.

Okay, guys.

Okay, here we go.

Remember, scoring is based on your individual places, all right?

You finish first, that's a 1.

Second, that's a 2, and so on.

The team with the lowest combined score for their top 5 runners wins.

So the lowest score wins?

-That's right, it's like golf.

You think we play golf?

We don't got a country club. We don't even got a Kmart.

I bet that guy plays golf.

Hold on.

If my score don't count, why am I even here?

To make us look faster, panzon.

All right, look.

Just try and remember, lowest score wins.

If you get ahead of any of their top five guys, that adds points to their total.

Even you, Danny. Got it?

Doesn't matter.

Let's go show them how it's done.

Come on, Danny!

Where the hell is McFarland?

I hear they can't run without a cop behind them.

Or a Taco Bell in front of them.

Timers ready?

Runners, take your mark...

Come on.

5:17. Good pace, Hunter.

5:22, Thomas! Keep that pace!

Come on! Come on! Get it. Get it.

You got him! Come on!

Stay with him! Stay with him!

That's it! That's it! You're looking great!

Good pace, Robby! Keep the pace. Keep that up!

Come on. Pick it up.

Go! Go! Go!

Jose, good!

Good, David, good!

Come on, Danny!

That's a boy, Hunter! Take him, take him!

Come on, kid!

Come on, Hunter.

Come on! Come on.

Power it up!

Come on.

Stay steady. Stay steady.

You got him, Hunter!

Come on! Move it, move it!

You got him! Way to go!

Atta boy! Atta boy!

That's right, bring it home, baby! Bring it home.

Nice. Come on, buddy.

Come on, come on.

Get up! Let's go.

Blue jersey is right on to you. Keep that spot.

Kick it!

You can get him! You can get him!

You can get him!

-Keep it! -Hold that position!


Good, Thomas. Good.

Good job, guys! Good job!

Centennial, Centennial, Palo Alto and Morro Bay.

Finish strong!

Palo Alto, McFarland.

Morro Bay, McFarland.

All the way.

McFarland. McFarland.

Good, Danny, you never stopped.

You never stopped.

And McFarland.

Coming in with a combined score of 35, the winner is...


Second, Palo Alto, 41.

Nice! Right here!

Third, Morro Bay, 61.

Good job. Yeah.

And in, uh, fourth place with a score of, uh, 104...


That's a great race, boys.

Yeah. Yeah, it's great guys.

So I guess, uh, -better luck next time, boys?

Right? Yeah?

Seriously. Later.

What happened out there today was not your fault, you hear me?

-it was my fault.

I should have checked the course.

That final hill, I should have known about that.

Thomas would have eaten that kid's lunch.

What happened out there today is on me, understood?


Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.



Hello, son.

Say hello to your father.

But fourth place, in your first meet.

That's not too shabby.

Fourth out of four.

Also known as last.

Last doesn't get us out of here.

Last doesn't get me a job somewhere else.

I'm way too soft on these kids.


It's Julie's birthday tomorrow, remember?

Could you please stop by the store and pick up her cake on the way home?


I got her a really fancy one. It's beautiful.


Birthday dinner is at 6:00, okay?


Okay, l... I hear you.


Uh, we don't have a hill.

These are our hills. This is where we're gonna run.

All of them?

That's right.

What happened to us in Palo Alto, never gonna happen again.

Let's go.

Let's go!

We're done.

Who's done?

We are.

Oh, you mean you want to quit?

Go home, stretch out on the couch?

-Guess what? Me, too.

But it ain't gonna happen.

Here's what we're gonna do.

We're gonna catch our breath, and then we're gonna hit it again.

-Danny's about to collapse. -It's hard.

-It's hard? -Yeah.

I'll tell you what's hard, is watching someone pass you on that last hill.

Just ask Thomas.

What's hard is losing when you know you haven't done enough.

All right, we're going to get to the point where when we see a hill, we smile.

The higher, the better.

All right. Now we know what we didn't know, right?

Right? Now we know what we didn't know.

Today's the beginning.

Let's hit it again.

Let's hit it again.

Come on, guys.

What are you waiting for, Valles?

Who's got one more?

Come on, lean into this.



Come on. Let your arms take you up that hill.

Change the gear when you go uphill.

You gotta change it.

Change the gear going up that hill!

Come on, Danny, start to give it to me!

If we don't back down they won't, either.

Come on, Diaz, they're lapping you.

Pick it up, Danny. All right?

You're the anchor. You're not the brake.

Atta boy.

Good, Jose.

You think I'm picking on you, Diaz?

Go faster, I'll pick on somebody else.

Good! Good!

That's it. Take a break.

Okay, good.


Okay, that's what I wanted to see.

That's how we need to finish.

Good job. Take a break.


Valles, I said take a break.

How many more do you want?

-10, 20, 100? -Take a break!

You think you're tough, White? Well, we're tougher, right.

We're not runners. We're pickers.

And we're always gonna be pickers.

And every day we're gonna get up and do the same thing over and over again,just like this.

So you can make us do it a hundred times, a thousand times, because guess what?

It's never gonna change, all right?

You know what these are, White? Huh?

You know what's under here?

Almond hulls. You eat almonds?

You like them?

They come out the packet real nice, right?

Well, somebody picked those, White.

But you can use them for hill training, right?


Suspend me if you want, man.

I'm done.

Okay, practice is over.

Are you going to leave again?

This is your fault.

Everything is always my fault.

Be quiet.

You've abandoned us.

Be quiet!

Where's the cake?

Happy birthday, sweetheart.

I'm sorry I was late.

You forgot it, didn't you?

That's okay. I didn't really want it anyway.

This was really important to her, Jim.

I'm sorry, all right? I'm sorry, but my...

My best runner just quit.

No, check that. I mean, l... I mean...

He didn't just quit. He had some kind of breakdown.

I don't care. Julie is 1 5 years old, and you couldn't even remember her cake.

Well, if a missed cake's the worst thing that ever happens to her, she's got it over most of these kids.

You know what? She's... She's your daughter, Jim.

And if you think any one of those fathers out there would miss their daughter's birthday, then you oughta go out and see what kind of cakes they get them.


Julie, please let me in.

Go away, Dad.


What are you doing on the bridge, Thomas?

I don't know.

-Who hit you? -No one.

All right, my dad. But it wasn't his fault.

I don't know about that.

Yeah, well, you don't know about a lot of things. Okay, White?

You haven't got a clue.

All right, then...

Then explain it to me. Help me figure it out.

Look, he's a picker.

He's not a foreman like Senor Diaz.

He... He doesn't run a crew.

He just tries to get whatever work he can find, Arizona, Texas, wherever.

And he got back yesterday and his baby girl is pregnant.

And so he just started hitting the wall, all right?

And I was trying to get him to stop, and I just got in the way.

Look, if he hurts his hands, he can't work.

Do you get that?


Okay, Thomas, I get it.

Do you want to know why I'm out here,

middle of night, driving around by myself?


Too bad. I'm gonna tell you anyway.

I forgot to buy my daughter's birthday cake.

That's bad, White.

Look, you, um...

You scared me today. You did. And you're...

You're scaring me now, so you wanna come off of there?


Okay, then let me tell you the truth about what happens, how this ends, if you...

If you fall from here.

If you go off this bridge tonight, and there's every chance you might, you'll... you'll probably live, all right?

It's not that high, but I promise you, Thomas, there's no chance you'll ever run again.


And right now I'm guessing running's the best thing you've got.

Feels as if it might be the only thing you've got.

Come on down.


So you wanna...

You wanna keep going with this cross country thing?

Me, too.

Me, too.

You shorten your stride, Lean into the hill, and lower your head.

This is the only place you'll ever do this in cross country.


Nobody can hold a grudge like a teenage girl.

How about her mom?

I'm working on it.

Don't even think about it.

All right, I'm not the ice cream man.

Six miles.

Same pace, all right? Gotta lay down our base.


Johnny, why are your arms flying around everywhere?

I don't know. Why you riding a Barbie bike?

Because it's pretty?

I bet you got the matching doll house, too, huh?

Which one are you, White? Blanco Barbie?

All right, joke less, run more.

Everybody tuck your arms in.

You're all starting to look like the mangy chicken I got hanging around my house.

You're not smiling, are you, Valles?


No, I didn't think so.

Be warm and loose for the start of the race.

That's right, fellas. Stay nice and relaxed.

Nice work.

Okay. Come on.

Come on.

Everybody all right?

This is a dual meet, just us and them, all right?

Clovis versus McFarland. They're good, they're ranked, and they think we're pushovers.

You ready?

-Let's do it, Blanco. -All right.

Where are we from?

Uno, dos, tres... McFarland!

All D block...

All D block inmates, 15 minutes.

Can they even understand you?

You probably just point, huh? "Go that way, amigo. "

Yeah, something like that.

15:40, Derek!

Just cruise to win.

15:45, Thomas!

Now, go get him.

Go get him.

Atta boy.

Atta boy.

Come on, Thomas.

16:30, Thomas. Good job.

Atta boy, Johnny.

Jose, good.

Come on, Danny.

Come on, Sean. Come on, Danny!

That's what I have.

Well, it was close, boys.

Like I said...

They're a great team.

But you're better.

Clovis scored 28.

-McFarland, 27. -Hang on. You mean...

That's right. Lowest score wins.

You just won your first race.

Good race, amigo.

I told you we were gonna win.

Car trouble, honey?

Come on in, baby, we'll get you fixed up.

Come on in.

Where are the Diazes?


"Out"? What do you mean "out"?

Out like off the team.


Says who? Says their father who's also their foreman.

My boyfriend's got a garage in the back.

He'll take a look at that little car of yours.

Thank you.

There you go.

-Oh, my goodness, honey.

What have you been doing with these hands?

Moving houses, I guess, trying to make a garden.

Just sit back, enjoy the view, and we will get you out of here in no time.

That's my boyfriend.

He's handsome, isn't he?

I know.

Hey, Damacio.

Look, you wouldn't understand.


This was our teacher for running, Mr. White.

He just stopped by real quick to say hi.

You wanna eat?

Hope you like enchiladas, White.

Ready to try it?

A little bit.

How many is that? Seven? Eight?

Saying no is rude.

Yeah, so is puking on the table.

Take home to the family, hmm.

No, no, senora, please.

-Gracias, but I couldn't. -No.

Don't say to me no, okay?

My husband always working, but every day he's sitting at the table with his family.

He's talking and he's listening.

How you gonna be family if you no eating together, huh?

I want that back.

Can I give you a hand with those tubs?

Just saying...

Can I help you out?

No, gracias.


I'd like you to ask your father something for me.


You know what? Just tell him...

Just tell him it was an honor to be invited into his home.

Dad, he said it was an honor to be invited into your home.

Tell him I say thanks.

I'm sorry, I thought you...

I get by.

Thank you for your hospitality.

We don't ask for help around here.

You want to help me wash my buckets?

You want to be a helpful person, that's okay.

But I know why you're here.

You want my sons to run a race.

Mr. White, your sport is like a TV. It's not essential.

Each hour that my boys train with you is one hour they do not work with me.

That's food off our table.

I don't expect a man like you to understand.


-What are you doing here? -You know you're white, right?

You sure about this?

Yeah, don't white people mow their lawns on Saturday?

I haven't got a lawn.

What are we doing?

You're not gonna like it.


Now you just gotta lean it over and cut.

Take off the outer leaves and turn it over.

This will be your row, okay?

Keep your knees bent or it'll hurt your back.

You okay, Blanco?

You guys, uh, do this all day?


Get this field done, maybe start on another one.

You get paid by the hour?

Not by the hour, by the field.

The faster we get this one done, the more our father makes.

By the field?

Hey, Damacio, how old were you guys when you started working for your dad?

10? 11?

Is that even legal?

Strawberries, it is. And potatoes.

Other crops, you gotta be 1 2.

I remember, first day I started, I wanted to quit after the first hour because it was so hard.

Cried like a baby.

Yeah, I know how you feel.

You wanna quit, Blanco?

What do you think?


Ah, I'm sorry, it's my back.

I know, I know. Just lie down.

Face down. Come on.

Yeah. It's okay.

It's okay.

You just gotta do this every few hours when you first start.

Your body's not used to it.

Gracias, senora.

Okay, listen, guys. I get it.

Your father needs you. All right, so this is, uh...

Thank you. This is what we do.

On days you have to pick late, we practice later.

All right? And the days we have meets, you pick extra early and you still make your dad's quota.

I'll pick with you if I have to.

Only if you have to though, right, Coach?

Because you don't look too good right now.

"Coach"? You sure about that?

Not ""Blanco""? Not "White"?

Not "homes"?

No. Coach.

Coach. Good.

-What are you eating there? -Tacos. You want one?

-No, give me two.

-I'm just saving you, Danny.

Can you pass me another one, sweetheart?


Got it, got it.

-Buenos dias. -Buenos dias.

-What's going on? -Tamale sale.

-And car wash. -Team fundraiser.

This afternoon.

Can you help me with this, babe?


My boys running for you, they need new uniforms, and better shoes.

Why you buy them the cheap shoes?

You're not proud of them?

You are a good man and so I helping you.

Okay, now go shower. Oof.

Chicken, chicken, chicken, chicken!

And how many tickets did you say your mama sold?

You better hope only half of them show up.

Well, let's, get our buckets, guys.

-Hey, Cheryl! Hi, honey. -Ah, Lupe!

-How you been? -I'm so good. How are you?

Do you remember my boyfriend, Javi?

Ah, yes. Javi, how are you? Hey, good to see you.

Oh, this is my husband, Jim.

-What's up? Javier. Javi. -Hello.

Yeah, my sister's boy is on your team. Victor.

You know, Javi, I think I owe you an apology.

That first night we were here, on that Friday night, I saw you...

And your cars and I thought you were...


Maybe once upon a time, homes.

We're just a car club, man.

Look at these cars, man. They're our babies.

We wouldn't wanna put them in danger.

Plus, man...

If we commit a crime, what's the first thing the witness is gonna notice?

The paint job.

Hey, Victor.

You're gonna mess up the paint job, homes.

Hey, don't scratch my face, ese.

Look, look.

Lupe! Beautiful!

Jim, you gotta see this. You've got to see this.

Come on, come on. Check it out, eh.

Do you like it?


He appreciates me.

Oh, boy.

I wish you appreciated me more like that.

What you got your nose in, Coach?

"The McFarland Cougars are making an impression.

"lt started with a stunning upset, "beating Clovis High, "but then consecutive victories

"over Yosemite and Morro Bay

"left the racing community

"and everyone else asking the question, "'Just where did these

"McFarland runners come from?'"

Some good news for a change.

You said it.

Jim, you have a minute?

Listen to this. It's from Jose Cardenas.

"We fly like blackbirds through the orange groves, "floating on a warm wind.

"When we run, we own the earth.

"The land is ours. We speak the birds' language.

"Not immigrants no more.

"Not stupid Mexicans.

"When we run, our spirits fly.

"We speak to the gods.

"When we run, we are the gods."

It's good work, White.

Yeah. Jose is a good kid.

I don't mean Jose.

Welcome to McFarland, Blanco.

You know the way I used to coach, I'd take soft kids and kick their butts

-till they toughened up.

You think that's funny?

You beating up some white kids, White?

I think that's funny.

You know, I don't know if you know, but if we keep going the way we're going, you guys have a chance to qualify for State.


Yeah, really.

But it doesn't matter what I think, okay?

I can't do it for you.

And I don't have to be the one to tell you that the odds are stacked against you.

But if you...

If you believe in yourselves and maybe more importantly, you find a way to believe in each other, in your teammates, it won't matter what anyone else thinks.

That's the beauty of sports.

We don't practice to lose, homes.

I mean, Coach.

You don't eat the produce, Coach.


You don't eat the produce.

First rule of picking, you eat it, you're fired.

God, I'm sorry, guys. I didn't...

All of you, dead.

Come on, White!

When we...

When we qualify, your world can start to look very different.

Coach, don't you mean "if"?

No, I mean "when."

All right, so start thinking about what college you're gonna apply to.

Cal Poly's got...

Agriculture, crop science, viticulture.

I wouldn't be surprised if you kids knew half that stuff already.

Think about it, guys.

Cal Poly's only a few hours from here. All right.

You can still help your parents out on the weekend, but if you get a degree...

You get a degree, and you have to read it to get a degree...

You're gonna be able to help them out a lot more than the money you make out in the fields. All right?


Things are going really well for me. Coach thinks we can make it to finals.


I can get into college.



You know what...

Take your face out of those books.

They're going to ruin your eyes.

Nobody ever needed a book in the fields.

How big?

I told you 20 times, Danny, very. All right?

Don't worry. That's why we trained.

I know, but how big?

That big.

Take a good look, guys, because this is where we qualify for State.

All we gotta do is be in the top four.

That's it.



Team to watch.


And coach to watch.

Palo Alto's got its eye on you.

There could be something coming up, if you're interested.

Coaches, you have three minutes.

Thanks. Good luck out there.

You, too, Coach.

Okay. Come on.

Everybody, get in here. Come on.

Danny, quit looking at the mountain.

It's not going away and neither are you.

You're gonna be all right.

I've seen you out in the fields.

You're an ox.

So when you're in pain out there on this mountain, I want you to remember, so is the guy next to you, and the guy in front of you.

This is gonna come down to which runners can handle the pain.

So I want you to look at them, and I want you to look at each other and ask yourself, "Who's tougher?"

My money's on you.

Call it, Danny.

Uno, dos, tres.

McFarland! Come on.

Runners, on your mark.

Okay, let's go.

Nice shorts, dude.

You play golf?

Yeah, I do.

This ain't golf.


Run! Run!

Come on.

-Go! -Come on!


Come on.

Come on, you got it!

Push it, push it!

How did we do? Did we make it?

It's close.

We're right on the edge.

Look at that.

Look at that. You did it.

Best in California.

McFarland's going to State, you hear that?

We're going to State.

McFarland is going to State.

Hey, Coach, you missed the turn.

That's right.


That will be $9.50.

Look, l, um...

I got...

I got five bucks, all right?

I got five bucks and seven kids back there, that have never seen the ocean.

-Keep it. -Are you sure?

Keep it.


Well, go on.

Get in there.

Yeah, let's go, guys!

-Yeah! -Yeah!

We're going to State!

-Woo! -Yeah!

Okay, no, just stay. No moving. No moving.

-Okay. McFarland Cougars!

That's fantastic.

Does Cougars look like it's spelled right to you?

You tell her and we kill you, man.



I see David!

Damacio! Damacio!

Okay, foto. Ven.

No. No, don't say to me "no." Come on.

Okay. Cougars, one, two, three.



My family.

-You must be very proud.

How old are your daughters, Senor Blanco?

Jamie's 10 and Julie just turned 15.

When is her quinceanera?


I'm gonna put it in the front window.

Can you imagine if we beat the whole damn state?

I might actually have to close the store for a day.

First time in 25 years.

Sammy, I think, uh...

I think I'm gonna need your help with something.

Come on, guys, gotta go. Come on.

You'll be late.

Made the appointment for 4:00.

Why are you doing this?

I appreciate you. Can't a man show a little appreciation?


We got three hours.

Okay. So, um...

I guess we move this picnic table over here, right?

Blanco, this is gonna go a lot quicker, if we remember one important thing.

Yeah, what's that? We're not the chiefs, we're the lndians. Sit down.

Can one of you move this table to the garage, because this is the dance floor.

Let me take care of that. Get up, Thomas.

-It's so good to see you. -Come on in, my ladies.

We're gonna make you look so beautiful!

Oh, my goodness, look at this hair.


What is it? What is it?

Oh, my gosh.

It's called a quinceanera.

Give me that drink. All right.

Senoras y senores, Miss Julie White.


Time to talk, Papacito.

First, I'd like to thank the Rosaldo family, who were so kind to help me put this together.

-Gracias, gracias.

And to everyone here who have been so generous to us along the way.

And muchos gracias for helping me to understand what a quinceanera means, and why this night is so important.

Because it means, our daughter's turning from this young girl to a beautiful woman.

I don't know if Julie knows how much I've struggled with this, but tonight I celebrate it.

I hope you know how much you mean to me, and how being your dad and Jamie 's, makes me prouder than you'll ever know.

And how I hope to one day make you proud, too.

As proud...

As proud as these kids are of their parents.

So, now I guess I get to ask you to dance.

And, um...

And apparently, you're not allowed to say no.

Thank you, Dad.

You look so beautiful.

Thank you.



My grandmother made it.


You're welcome.

Here, would you?


Are you ready?

For what?

Come on.


Relax, Blanco. This is what we do.

We take the birthday girl on parade.

Dad, can l?

You got her?

I got her.

You'll go slow, right?

It's the only way we go, brother.

Low and slow.

All right.

Thank you.

Let's go.

You look beautiful!

-Thank you. -You're welcome.


Thanks for driving, Javi.

Wow, thank you so much!




My God, Javi, why won't they leave you in peace?

It was so amazing. So amazing.

Get it, please?

Quinceanera headquarters.

Excuse me?

-Get the keys. -Why?


No, please. Dear God, no.

That doesn't mean anything yet, honey.

Baby... Please, please, please.


Julie, oh, baby!

Oh, baby.

Julie, sweetheart.

Mom, I'm okay.

Please, is she okay?

Stay calm, miss.

-I fell. -I know, I know.

This car came out of nowhere...

Then this other car came.

And then some guys got out and everyone was yelling, and there was all this blood.

They had knives. It's okay.

What do you mean? What happened?

What happened? You said you had her!

You said she was safe!

I trusted you.

I trusted you with my daughter.

She was safe.

Maybe you ought to ask her just how safe she was.

She wasn't hurt, Jim.

She's all right. She's gonna be fine.

Fine? No.

Not fine.

Not fine at all. It was a bloodbath!

Half a mile away from our home with our daughter!

Not fine.


Hi, baby. Come here.

How are you feeling?


Where's Dad?

Good morning, Jim.

Good to see ya. Thanks for coming.

-Hey. -Hi.

How'd it go?

They offered me a full-time position.

Cross country and track.

It's a state-of-the-art facility.

I'd be head of the program.

Gonna take it?

Uh... I don't know. Where are the girls?

Uh, Jamie's in her bedroom and Julie's with Sonia, upset.

Does she know?

She knows where you went.



Get in the car, please.

Were you even gonna tell us?

Or were you just gonna watch us compete at State then run off into the sunset with those country club kids?

Were you even gonna say adios, Blanco?

-Thomas, listen to me. -No.

All right, I get it.

We all get it.

This is America, right?

You gotta go bigger.

Find a nicer place.

Better pay...

With better everything.

Everyone is always gonna go for the better everything.

And that's why no one stays in McFarland unless they have to.

Because there ain't nothing

"American dream" about this place.

It feels like everything we've ever wanted.

Everything we've ever talked about.

You know, big house, financial security, great school for the kids, nice neighborhood.

Nice safe neighborhood.

I don't know.

What do you mean you don't know?

The owner of the corner store was washing away blood from his parking lot when I drove out this morning.

Jim, the owner of the store has a name, and he's our friend.

And you looked him in the eye two days ago and thanked him for everything he's done for us.

I know. I know.

But you were there. We were there.

Julie was... How close?

This close?

How can that not bother you?

It bothers me.

Of course it bothers me.

But do you know how she got hurt?

Your team jumped in front of her.

They pushed her out of the way.

They protected her like she was their family.

You think she's gonna find that in Palo Alto?

Or anywhere else for that matter?

I don't know.

It's your decision, okay?

And I know it's hard.

But, please don't just let this be about our safety.

Because nowhere I've ever lived has ever felt this much like home.


Coach! Coach! Coach!


Cougars! Cougars! Cougars!

It's for you!

Good luck!

Coach! Coach! Coach!

Bring it home, Jim.

Make us proud, Coach!

Why are you even here?

All right, we don't need you to coach.

Rules say you can't run without a coach.

You forfeit the race.

So if you still wanna run, Thomas, you're gonna need to take a seat.

Great day!

I think he's over there. Right there.

Check. Mic check.

Testing, testing!

All right, guys. Here we go.

Check, check, check.

How's that?

Please rise for the singing of the national anthem.

Oh, say Can you see...


By the dawn 's early light What so proudly we hailed At the twilight's last gleaming Whose broad stripes and bright stars Through the perilous fight O 'er the ramparts we watched Were so gallantly streaming And the rocket's red glare

... and the home of the brave

Coaches, you have three minutes.

All right, everybody, gather around.

Come on.

I want you to look around.

Best in the state, right?

Every team that's here deserves to be, including you.

But they haven't got what you got.

All right?

They don't get up at dawn like you and go to work in the fields.


They don't go to school all day and then go back to those same fields.

That's what you do.

And then you come out with me and you run 8 miles, 1 0 miles, and you take on...

You take on even more pain.

These kids don't do what you do.

They can't even imagine it.

When I went out in the field that day with you Diaz kids, I'll be honest with you, it was a...

It was the worst day's work I ever had to do in my life.

And I said to myself, "Whatever kind of crappy job I end up in, "it'll never be as tough as that."

You kids do it every day.

And your parents hope they can do it every day, and they'll do it for a lifetime if it means a better life for you.

You guys are super-human.

What you endure just to be here, to get a shot at this, the kind of privilege that someone like me takes for granted?

There's nothing you can't do with that kind of strength, with that kind of heart.

You kids have the biggest hearts I've ever seen.

Now go run your race.

Thomas, you're the... you're the captain.

Hey, Coach.

You wanna call it?

Uno, dos, tres.


Gentlemen, your command will be "Runners, take your mark," followed by the pistol.

I will not fire the gun, until I see that everyone is standing still with your toes behind the line.

Good luck today, gentlemen.

Runners, take your mark!

Jose, no.


What's he doing?

Jose, back it down!

-Find your pace! -Come on! Come on! Go, go, go.

He's too fast! He's gonna die!

Then make up for it! Make up for it!

Where's Victor?

You're right there, Victor. You're right there.

Damacio, stay right with him. Hold onto Victor!

Keep those legs! Let's go!

Good, Johnny!

Come on, Johnny!

Catch that next group, Johnny.

Get into that next group!

Keep going!

Sorry, man. Sorry.

Here they are.

Yay, McFarland! Go, guys!

Come on, McFarland!

Damacio! McFarland!

What's happening, Mom?

Looks like he's run out of gas.

The others will have to make up the points.

That's it. Pick up the pace!

Let's go! Let's go! Close it up! Close it up!

Let's go! Cut the distance!

You're stretching it out!

Come on!

10:00 flat, Thomas! Come on! You can do it!

You gotta get ahead of three guys! Come on!

Come on, Victor!

Only seconds off pace! Let's go!

Come on, Damacio!

Hold onto those guys! Hold onto them!

Lets' go!

Bring it up! Bring it up!



Beat him, Thomas.


Damacio, come on! There's Damacio!


-Where's Jose? -I don't know.

Come on.

He's more than a minute slower than his usual times. It's...

It's not gonna be enough.

Look, David will come in next, but not for another 30 seconds. See.

-Coach... Coach. -Even then, it's not gonna...

It's not gonna matter unless...


You can do it. Yeah.

That's not Danny Diaz.

-Come on, Danny! -That's not Danny Diaz!

Come on! Yeah!

Danny! Danny!


Number five.

You're our number five runner, man!

Did you picture the finish line as a donut or what?


Hey, where did you come from, Diaz?

Where did you come from?

From McFarland, Coach.

Let's go.

Ladies and gentlemen, we do apologize for the delay.

Uh, it was a very close race and we needed to be sure.

But we can now announce that the first ever California State Cross Country Champion team is...


The McFarland High School Cougars are the cross-country champs of the state of California. Congratulations.

Boo-yah! We won! I can't believe we won!

State Champ!



McFarland, baby!



Yeah! McFarland!


McFarland. McFarland.


McFarland! McFarland!