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Tuesday, June 16 2015 11:24

McFARLAND, USA (Blu-ray Review)

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Unless it's a comedy, I generally don't go seeking out "sports" movies these days. Thing is, over the past few decades, some of the best dramatic tales with a sports background have all starred one man - Kevin Costner - and his path largely started with the dramatic comedy, BULL DURHAM (though he did do a film about cycling back in '85). When I interviewed Costner back in February, just days prior to the theatrical debut of McFARLAND, USA, he pointed out something that rings true about the entire "sports movie" genre: "The best ones are about people, and there’s less sports in it than you would imagine." That rings exceptionally true with McFARLAND, USA, which I initially reviewed on the day of its theatrical debut, February 20, 2015.

The charm of the film is that, while it uses the true-life story of Jim White's 1987 McFarland Cougars cross-country team as its foundation, the film itself is, as director Niki Caro notes, "a profoundly American film" about families, culture and community.

Revisiting the film upon it's release on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Disney Movies Anywhere (DMA) Digital HD, my appreciation has grown even more, with McFARLAND, USA ranking among the most-recommended films that I've seen in recent memory. The story is unstoppable, and the golden-hued look of the film comes through at home just as beautiful as it did the first time I saw it on a big screen back in Burbank. Nearly six months later, it's still one of my favorites of 2015.

A photo posted by James Zahn (@therockfather) on

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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