October Sky

“This movie is on the list of ones that I want to show repeatedly to my theoretical one day future children. The reason being that I hope it inspires them to be science nerds. Oh I’m sure I’ll have plenty of other tricks on hand to turn them on to science, but a feel good family film like this one can only help the cause right? I mean, look how influenced I was by family movies of the early 90s.

I ordered this movie while in the middle of that Jake Gyllenhaal kick I was on (am still kinda on) recently. Although this Jake is a bit too itty bitty to be the object of lust he typically is for me (we’ll stick to Donnie Darko or Jarhead or End of Watch or Bubble Boy for that). Here he stars in the true story of Homer Hickam, a future NASA engineer who got his start by building rockets with his friends in their small coal mining town.

Seriously, this movie is a joy for science nerds. It chronicles the journey of a budding scientist finding that joy for himself, from the initial interest, to the trial and error to the breakthroughs and discovery to the eventual (slightly spoiler) success. Having grown up in a household that encouraged educational endeavors (even outside my family, my Daddy was best known for his love of education and passion for empowering others with it) and then hanging around a nerdy school like MIT, I kinda take it for granted that the type of thinking celebrated in this movie isn’t the norm for everyone. And it’s kind of cool seeing both sides of it here, as Homer is faced with some strong opposition within his family and school. But science and passion triumph over all, as it should be, huzzah!

Sure it’s cheesy, but that’s half the fun of a (barely) 90’s family film. There’s a reason us babies of the 80s and 90s kids feel such nostalgia for these things (even if this movie was more of a recent discovery, it still fits). They’re effective and they take you to a happy place for a couple hours. And that is why I do intend to inundane those theoretical one day future children with these movies. Because it would be a crime not to!”

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