October Sky

Today is the last day of school. I gave in to my clamoring and contentious students and started showing them the 1999 movie October Sky yesterday after we finished the quiz. Today we finished watching it with one class that had a double period.

October Sky stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Homer Hickam, a teenager growing up in the 1950’s in Coalwood, West Virginia, where his father (Played by Chris Cooper) is a mine superintendent for Olga Mining Company. Inspired by Sputnik and his science teacher, Homer decides to build rockets. He enlists the school nerd and a couple of friends to help.

Through trial-and-error experimentation, book-research, hard work, and help from the community, Homer and his team eventually succeed in building rockets that fly high and far. Homer learns math and physics in the process! When I saw this in the theater, I actually applauded when Homer solves an equation. Nobody else applauded though, and I felt embarrassed.

I don’t want to spoil the movie for you if you haven’t seen it, but it is very inspirational and based on a true story and Hickam’s memoir Rocket Boys. However, it is one of the few cases where the movie is better than the book, in my opinion. Homer Hickam eventually became a NASA engineer, and has written several more books. I love October Sky…in fact I would have to say it is my favorite movie.

I don’t go to movie theaters much anymore. This is mostly because I don’t like the audiences these days…the cell phones, the crying babies, the kicking children, and the high prices. We have a large television and a Netflix membership, and I am patient and can wait to see the movies on DVD.

Happy end of the school year! The next two days are for cleaning up and making sure things are set for next year!

One Response to “October Sky”

  1. Xandria Sante Says:

    May I just say as kindly as possible that you are so very wrong about the movie being better than the book? Rocket Boys, a #1 Best-seller is the most picked book for city/library annual reads and is studied in most school systems. It’s been translated into about twenty different languages. The book (not the movie) is being worked into a Broadway play (www.rocketboysthemusical.com). The movie is just a pale version of the real thing. I should know. I teach the book in my class!


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