By Steve Kabelowsky Contributing Columnist Published Jun 03, 2015 at 6:36 PM

The great thing about great sports movies is that the sports themselves are not all that great. What emerges is the story, and more often than not, it involves connections between people.

We see what it takes to overcome a challenge and that something can come from nothing if it is fueled by hard work, determination and an awesome spirit.

"McFarland, USA" doesn’t disappoint.

In the Blu-ray combo pack that came out on Tuesday, Kevin Costner offers an outstanding performance telling the real story of a coach and his cross country runners becoming champions.

In a predominantly Latino community where poverty is the norm, a group of novice runners triumph over incredible obstacles in a well put-together story that isn’t afraid to lean on the power of family, work ethic and commitment.

When in theater,s the film wasn’t a huge blockbuster. In my humble opinion, I think many people missed what is probably one of the best movies made last year. It is that good.

There are a few moments when the film gets lost on leading the audience from one moment to the next. It’s choppy in the middle. But the course is corrected to take us to the end.

Sure, the underdog story can become cliché. There’s the coach who is running out of employment options from flying off the handle in previous posts. He relocates his family into unfamiliar territory. He has to rethink what he think he sees, and only after working in the fields does he appreciate the effort his athletes make just to show up each day.

But beyond the cliché is Costner’s performance as coach Jim White. Sure, he takes license as the actor to make the performance work. But when you see the two interact – Costner and White – in the extras on the Blu-ray, you can see how remarkable of a job Costner did.

Costner talks to the real runners, he digs into the story of how McFarland wasn’t just a good sports story from California – but how it is a great story of doing something amazing. It is a story of Americana. 

Steve Kabelowsky Contributing Columnist

Media is bombarding us everywhere.

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