october sky

Attention fellow science nerds:  If you haven’t seen October Sky, you must watch it immediately.  Not that you have to be into science to appreciate this movie.  And I’m not sure why I missed it when it was released in 1999, but that’s the beauty of Netflix.  The motivating factor for me to add it to my queue was that the main character in October Sky is one of my husbands.  But see, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Back in my teaching days, I always listed my Top Five Husbands on the board every year.  I usually did this on the second day of class, as to not freak out my new students too much on day one (although my reputation preceded me and there were always a few kids calling me Mrs. Maguire right away).  And then there was Dana, who thought Tobey was her husband.  As if!  My students were allowed to either call me Ms. Colasanti or one of my married names.  Those were some fun times.  This list changes a bit each year, although Tobey and Jake have held the top two spots since the list’s inception.  Here is the current list of my husbands:

1.  Tobey Maguire
2.  Jake Gyllenhaal
3.  John Krasinski
4.  Jack Bauer*
5.  Joshua Jackson

Hmm.  That’s a lot of J’s.

Here are some items you’ll need for your viewing session:

1.  Tissues
2.  Some more tissues

October Sky tells the story of how Homer Hickam (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) was first inspired by astronomy.  The second he saw Sputnik fly across the sky in orbit, Homer knew that a career in astronomy was his fate.  This scene resonated strongly with me because I swear, the look on Jake’s face was the exact same look that was on my face the first time I saw Saturn’s rings through my telescope.  Even though there was no way to actually see what I looked like in that moment, I recognized it when Jake showed me.

Homer’s passion for astronomy saves him from a life of working in the coal mines.  He and three friends form a group called the Rocket Boys and become expert rocket builders.  Of course there are setbacks, and the scene where Homer is being lowered into the coal mine, looking up into the sky and seeing Sputnik again is heartbreaking.  Everyone expects his life to be wasted away underground when all he wants to do is live among the stars.  This story will inspire everyone to follow their dreams.  Other perks:  Jake’s southern accent is just as sweet as it is in The Good Girl, and this film has an awesome vintage soundtrack (second only to Stand By Me).

This film is based on the true story of Homer Hickam, who later became a NASA engineer.  Next on my reading list is his book, Rocket Boys.

*I am quite aware that Jack Bauer is fictional, but he’s still a vital part of this list.

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