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'McFarland, USA': What Price is the American Dream?

McFarland, USA is based on the true story of a Caucasian football coach, Jim White, and his family accepting a job in 1987 in the poor, mainly Latino town of McFarland, California. Affectionately nick-named "Blanco," White convinces the high school principal that many of the student athletes are better suited for track. An unfortunate incident where Jim's 15-year-old daughter is slightly injured when a group of punks assault the boys leads Jim and his wife to consider a generous offer from a prestigious high school in Palo Alto.

The clip begins with Coach White speaking to one of his runners, Thomas Valles, in a grocery store parking lot.

THOMAS (feeling glum): Were you even going to tell us? Or were you going to watch us compete at State then run off into the sunset with those country club kids? Were you even going to say adios, Blanco?

COACH WHITE: Thomas, listen to me …

THOMAS: 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.

In the next scene Coach White is in bed with his wife.

COACH WHITE: It feels like everything we've ever wanted. Everything we ever talked about. You know, big house, financial security, great school for the kids, nice neighborhood. Nice safe neighborhood.

CHERYL WHITE: I don't know.

COACH WHITE: 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.

CHERYL WHITE: 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.

COACH WHITE: I know. I know. But you were there. We were there. Julie was … how close? This close? How could that not bother you?

CHERYL WHITE: Of course it bothers me. But do you know how she got hurt? Your team jumped in front of her … They protected her like she was their family. You think she's going to find that in Palo Alto? … It's your decision, okay? And I know it's hard. But, please don't just let this be about our safety.

Coach White led McFarland High to nine state titles over the next 14 years. All seven runners depicted in the film except one went on to attend college and succeed in their careers. Jim White retired from coaching in 2003 and he and his wife still live in McFarland.

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