Click For The Z Review Homepage!
Movie News!
Movies Coming Soon!
Movie Reviews!
Movie Trailers!
All The hot Movie DVD 's!
Movie Features!
Movie Community!
Movie Resource!
Site Contents Copyrightę 2001 The Z Review, unless used with permission.

Hot News!
We have moved to our Brand new home on our own server at

Please click over there for ALL our DAILY updates!

Movie Reviews

October Sky  

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Owen, William Lee Scott, Chad Lindberg, Laura Dern, Chris Cooper, Natalie Canerday Directed by: Joe Johnston Written by: Lewis Colick Based On the Book "Rocket Boys" by Homer H. Hickam Jr.

They gather out on their front lawns to see it fly across the October Sky. It's 1957 and Russia has just launched the first orbital satellite called Sputnik. Many of the people of Coalwood, West Virginia greet it with a sense of dread. Homer Hickam looks up in awe and the enormous possibilities a sight like that unleashes grab hold of him. He's going to build a rocket.

An idea like that is unheard of in a place like Coalwood. It's one of those small towns where young boys grow up with the understanding that the only niche they'll one day carve for themselves will lie well beneath the ground; working in the coal mines - unless of course, they have enough athletic talent to garner a football scholarship. When Homer (Jake Gyllenhaal) first presents the idea to his family at the breakfast table, no one takes it seriously. "Well, just don't blow yourself up," his mother tells him.

He doesn't blow himself up, but does run into snags along the way. Not knowing where to begin (he checks Jules Verne books out of the library as reference guides), he befriends and requests the help of Quentin (Chris Owen), the class outcast. He may be an outcast, but Quentin certainly knows something about rockets, and soon they, along with two other boys (William Lee Scott and Chad Lindberg) are spending all their spare time trying to launch their first handmade rocket into the sky; not to mention the first anything out of Coalwood.

They set up a "launch site" just outside of town, where rocket after rocket either blows up, doesn't take off, or takes off, immediately changes course, and winds up who knows where. Soon more and more people express an interest in their project, and larger audiences gather whenever the boys launch a new rocket.

Their ambition catches the eye of Miss Riley (Laura Dern), and she encourages Homer to enter their rocket into the state science fair. The winner goes on to the national competition in Indianapolis, and from there, who can say what the possibilities are? Now that simple dream Homer had really begins to take the shape of a tangible goal. The boys realize there is so much more to life than the world immediately surrounding them.

"October Sky" is based on the true story of Homer Hickam, whose ambition led to a career with NASA, training astronauts for shuttle missions. It was directed by former special effects master Joe ("Honey, I Shrunk the Kids","Jumanji") Johnston, who opted for a more human story this time around. The screenplay was written by Lewis Colick, adapted from the book "Rocket Boys," by Homer H. Hickam, Jr.

This is a story about possibilities - what they can bring into our lives, and what they can get in the way of. I really liked the way the filmmakers were able to show both sides of this, all the while maintaining the movie's simplicity and innocence. There are really two stories here, both involving the same theme. As Homer and his friends explore the possibilities their experiment can open up, we also see how those very same possibilities come between Homer and his father. John Hickam runs the coal mines; a job that carries with it an enormous responsibility. As a result, he often feels unworthy of his family's love. We see this when he risks his own life to help his workers in mining accidents. He loves his family dearly, but constantly feels the need to prove his "worthiness". He doesn't believe in Homer's dream - not because he thinks it's crazy, but because he fears the goals his son is reaching for lie far beyond anything he could provide. It's a good, complex performance from Chris ("Lone Star","The Horse Whisperer") Cooper. We see the way he responds to Homer's ambition, but we also know how much he loves his son and how scared he is about losing him.

The film ends with their final rocket blasting off into the sky, which then cuts to shots of the Space Shuttle blasting off into space; signifying what a simple dream can one day turn out to be. (Although, the Shuttle footage isn't really necessary - the shot of that little rocket racing toward the clouds is really quite impressive.) The point remains the same. Dreams may not be without their share of complications, setbacks, hurt feelings, and bad times, but they are what keeps us going in life. They are the fuel that rockets us to new and unexplored territories.

Copyright 2001 Michael Brendan McLarney Critically Ill

DVD, Video, Soundtracks, fact ALL your movie shopping needs!
Movie Posters!
  Oceans Eleven
Oceans Eleven
Buy This Poster!
Play our FREE games right here at The Z Review!
Release Dates
United Kingdom
United States
MASSIVE Movie Trailer database!