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David Bruce

Most of us have dreams we would like to see fulfilled. Can they be? This film says yes!
Review by David Bruce

OCTOBER SKY
(1999)
Matt and Jonathan give two thumbs up!

Sons Matt and Jonathan give this film two thumbs up! It is a family film of the highest order.

Jake Gyllenhaal:  Homer Hickam, the rocket kid
Chris Cooper: John Hickam, Homer's father
Laura Dern: Miss Riley, teacher
Chris Owen: Quentin
William Lee Scott: Roy Lee
Chad Lindberg: O’Dell
Natalie Canerday: Elsie Hickam
Scott Miles: Jim Hickam
Randy Stripling: Leon Bolden
Chris Ellis: Principal Turner

Directed by Joe Johnston,
Produced by Charles Gordon, Larry Franco
Executive producers: Marc Sternberg, Peter Cramer
Camera: Fred Murphy
Based on the autobiography of former NASA science engineer Homer Hickam, Jr.  It is about four boys who embody the hope of a community
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     It’s 1957 in Coalwood, West Virginia, where all the boys grow up to be coal miners and Homer Hickam (Jake Gyllenhaal) has no reason to think he’ll be any different. Even the public school furnishes no other vision beyond the town's coal mine. Too small to earn a football scholarship, Homer has no way out of his predetermined life -- until the soviet satellite Sputnik flies over the October sky and changes everything. As Homer watches the satellite cross the evening sky he has one of those life changing 'eternal moments' and Homer’s world got a lot bigger.
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     Though his father is mine superintendent and has no greater wish than to see his sons follow in his footsteps, Homer embarks on a mission to build and launch his, own, homemade rockets with the help of his loyal band of friends. Their frequent mistakes nearly get them shut down. And in fact, when they are accused of starting a forest fire they are shut down. Homer's brother leaves town on a football scholarship. And in a scene that must have been patterned after "It's A Wonderful Life" Homer is told that his father has been injured and he must work the coal mine, much like Jimmy Stewart taking over the Bailey Savings and Loan business due to the death of his father and the departure of his brother on a scholarship.
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     Audiences really respond to this film because of it touches so many common feelings and dreams that we all share. Most of us have dreams we would like to see fulfilled. Can they be? This film says yes!

 

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     The conflict between father and son is classic. It tends to strengthen Homer's resolve to reach for the stars. The strong emotional anger between them is equal to the mutual love and respect they secretly have for each other down deep in their being.
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     The importance of encouraging others to dream and work hard toward those life goals is beautifully portrayed by the part of Miss Riley, the teacher. Audiences really respond to this film because of it touches so many common feelings and dreams that we all share. Most of us have dreams we would like to see fulfilled. Can they be? This film says yes!

ON VISION
Proverbs 29:18a KJV
Where there is no vision, the people perish.

ON GOAL SETTING
Philip. 3:14 NRSV
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

VISION AND HARD WORK
James 2:26 Message
The very moment you separate body and spirit, you end up with a corpse. Separate faith and works and you get the same thing: a corpse.

BULLETIN BOARD:

FIRST MOVIE SEEN MADE
Subject: October_Sky
Date: Mon, 11 Feb 2002
From: "Patricia Kennedy" My name is Patricia Kennedy, I am from Petros, Tn. I watched as this movie was being made and I was amazed with it. I saw so much interesting work being put together for this movie. All the stars and ones that had a part in this movie, were nice people. I never saw one unfriendly person as this movie was being made. I had never seen a movie being made before and I've got to say that it was great. I had a few family members which participated in this movie and they were grateful for that. To me this movie showed a family with love, hard times and support for each other. The father, even though he didn't want his son getting involved with the missile business. He did finally see what his son could really accomplish. The son, was just marvelous, he never gave up at what he set out to do. This show was wonderful and I got to say that I'm proud to say that I'm glad it was made here in Petros, Tn. I think they picked a wonderful place for it. I hope it will happen again in the future. It was very interesting.
Patricia Kennedy

ANOTHER OCTOBER SKY BOOK!
Subject: Note from Linda
Date: Tue, 3 Oct 00
From: Linda Hickam

Greetings to all Rocket Boys and Girls (of any age!) October 10 is almost here, the day when "The Coalwood Way," my husband Homer's new memoir, is available at the bookstores! We are very excited and the reviews have been outstanding. If you liked "Rocket Boys/October Sky," I'm certain you'll also enjoy reading "The Coalwood Way," which Homer calls an "equal," not a sequel because it is set in the same timeframe as his first Coalwood book, 1959, but is a different story.

So many of you wrote us and told Homer that the only thing bad about "Rocket Boys" was that it ENDED...so this is the first of two more Coalwood memoirs! This is a story that can be enjoyed by the entire family. All the characters you loved in his first book return (pet squirrel Chipper has a big part) and there's even a Rocket Girl in this one!

Naturally, I think "The Coalwood Way" would also make an excellent Christmas gift to anybody who loves a good read or perhaps needs a little inspiration or cheering up. It is a story of spiritual awakening, of parades and dreams, and of tragedy and triumph. It will make you laugh as well as mist up a little from time to time. I promise you that within a few pages, you'll feel like you're a citizen of Coalwood again, the little mining town that nurtured dreams big enough to light up the whole sky!

We've also recently redesigned our web site to make it more user-friendly and extensive, especially for students and teachers, who now have their own buttons with items of interest. There's lots of new pictures, links and news! Check it out at www.homerhickam.com. You can order all of Homer's books through the web site link or see how to purchase autographed copies (click the BOOKS button and order from Amazon by clicking on the books wanted or see the bottom of the BOOKS page for autographed ones) -

THINK CHRISTMAS NOW! Thanks again for your support of Homer's work and we hope you keep aiming high. Please help us spread the word about the new book. Happy reading, let us know how you liked it (special thanks for all your 256 5-Star Amazon.com reviews for "Rocket Boys"!)
Linda Hickam

WE CAN ALL SUCCEED
Post Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2000
From: Danielle

When I first saw this movie at school I was like wow. It really is a great movie mainly because everyone was saying Homer can grow up to be a miner just like his dad but that's not what Homer wants. If you believe in yourself (and in Jesus Christ) and work hard enough you will succeed your goals in life. I'm trying to get my parents to watch it maybe they can learn something. The only thing I didn't like about it was when his father and Miss Riley died it was so sad! What makes it even more inspiring is that it was a true story. The theme song was so pretty!
--Danielle

ENCOURAGING MOVIE
Subject:This is the most encouraging movie I have ever seen.
Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2000
From:
Jacqueline

At first, when I saw the preview for the movie, I was quite interested, but not THAT interested. Then I saw that it was out for rent, and so I decided to see it. This movie has made me feel that I can achieve ANYTHING. No matter how hard it seems, if one works hard enough and if one believes enough in him/herself, then you can do it. I think I'll go watch October Sky again now.
Jacqueline

OCTOBER SKY IS COMPELLING
Subject: comments
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 1999
From: Dennis

I found the movie compelling in its portrayal of real life conflicts between father and son. I think it has tremendous potential as a stepping-off point for conversation between parents and kids over values and dreams. Overall, it is far and away one of my favorite movies ever. However, I agree with a previous reviewer on the unnecessary language. While some might say that it wasn't over-done, but just enough to make it realistic, I would ask how much the movie would have been "damaged" if it was left out. There are plenty of other ways of expressing oneself. All we have to do is look at some of the older classics for examples. Honestly - it was the language that has kept me from purchasing a copy of my own. I prefer not to give my three daughters the impression that expressing yourself with four-letter words is acceptable in certain instances.

IT TOOK MY BREATH AWAY
Subject: A beautiful film portraying real truths
Date: Sun, 21 Nov 1999
From: Karen Kile

When I saw October Sky in the theater it took my breath away. The undeniable truth that your dreams are always attainable comes through with a well told, true story. I must also comment that being a native West Virginian, that I was equally proud to see my home state, and those who live there, accurately portrayed as hard working, ethical, intelligent people with dreams, fears, and heart.

Sincerely
Karen Kile

OCTOBER SKY IS SAFE
August 27, 1999. This film can be a great teaching tool. I think it is one of the safest films in years for family..

RENT OCTOBER SKY!
August 29, 1999. FOLKS, MY WIFE AND I JUST WATCHED OCTOBER SKY. WOW! THIS IS A MOVIE I WANT ALL MY GRANDCHILDREN TO SEE. WE TOOK SPECIAL NOTE OF THE TITLE SO THAT WE CAN RENT IT AGAIN AND SHOW TO OUR FRIENDS. SO INSPIRATIONAL!
-LEROY WALTERS

My response: This is one of my favorite films as well.

OCTOBER SKY HAS POWER AND TRUTH
August 16, 1999. As a child of a small mining/farming town I saw in this film real life hopes and dreams turned into reality. It can be shown to inner city and rural
youth to show them that a different life is possible. Also inspirational for the power of a community to support youth in their aspirations.
     The father-son conflict was very real and the scripture that says, "Fathers, do not provoke your children to bitterness lest they become discouraged" was illustrated. Perhaps fathers need to take their kids to see this film, or rent it, and discuss anger, support and encouragement.
     I saw October Sky on a flight to Asia with "Analyze This," another father-son film. I am happy to report that Hollywood is producing some good stuff.
     I also liked Patch Adams as a film about Christian love and healing the medical community.
-Gary Sweeten, Cincinnati.
Changing churches, One leader at a time. Changing communities, One church at a time. Changing nations, One community at a time

OCTOBER SKY IS INSPIRATIONAL
July 28, 1999. HI, I reallllllllllllllllly love your October Sky Hollywood Jesus review! It  is so great!!!!!! especially the pictures! Um, could you post a comment that  I make on your page? "October Sky is such an inspirational movie. It gets people motivated to do  what ever ambition they want to do. And October Sky teaches that. Watch it.  You'll be glad that you did" Gurl4JakeG@aol.com
-Amy

NEVER GIVE UP
July 3, 1999. This is a good movie about never giving up on what you set your mind to. The only reason I didn't rate this movie a Great movie is the unnecessary language that is used throughout the movie.-Mike

DREAMS CAN COME TRUE
June 8, 1999. October Sky is such an inspirational movie, everyone should see it. It makes you feel good, and it gives you a realization that dreams really do come true when you believe hard enough.
OctoberJake@yahoo.com

IF KIDS WATCHED MORE MOVIES LIKE THIS...
May 27, 1999. Maybe if kids had watched more movies like this they would reach for their dreams and not look for fame in unwanted violence against their class mates. We have allowed this to happen by letting the school system to become a political toy of politicians and not and instrument of learning.

DESERVES MORE THAN TWO THUMBS UP!!
May 21, 1999. If I had more than two thumbs, I'd be putting them all up over this film! I especially like how Homer gets to know and respect the "nerd" at school.

PORTRAY'S A FAMILY WITH REAL VALUES
April 10, 1999. Charlie Allen Harding University October Sky is a truly touching, sincere film that does something Hollywood had seemingly forgotten about-portrayed a family with real values. The relationship between father and son in this film is the heart of the film and has worked for me both times that I've seen it this year. One of the best films of the year thus far, if not the best.

OFFICIAL SITE
October Sky, © 1999 Universal Pictures. All rights reserved.