October Sky (1999)

october sky“Man, we should be trying to get into that science fair instead of sitting around here like a bunch of hillbillies.” – Homer

Number of Times Seen – 2 (7 Jan 2002 and 17 Feb 2014)

Brief Synopsis – Based on the true story of 4 boys from a West Virginia Coal mining town who were inspired by their teacher to reach for the skies and create a real working rocket.

My Take on it – As kids, most of us have had a teacher or two who helped inspire us to do greater things or apply ourselves in situations where we wanted to give up.

This movie tells the story of 4 kids who had a teacher named  Miss Reilly who had a profound effect on their future lives.  She inspired them to look beyond what was around them and to literally “reach for the stars”.

They all grew up in a town where everyone eventually joins the local union and works their whole lives in a coal mine.  Miss Reilly showed them that they can be whatever they wanted to be if they just applied themselves.

The cast here is great.  This was one of Jake Gyllenhaal’s first movies as the lead and he does a wonderful job as the main character Homer.  We care so much about him and his quest to making a rocket that could work.

Chris Cooper plays his father who is in a leadership position at the local mine and wants whats best for his son, but is skeptical that any “hobby” would be better than to work in the mine like him.  Cooper is an amazing actor and is completely under-rated IMHO.  He has been great in just about every role he has played.  Here he plays the difficult role of a man who believes that the best way to show love for his family is to work hard to provide for them.

Laura Dern plays Miss Reilly in a small but very important part in helping to shape the futures of these boys.

I enjoyed this movie so much the first time I saw it 12 years ago, that a few years ago, I actually bought the book it is based on called Rocket Boys.  It still sits on my shelf collecting dust, but now that I have re-watched it, I hope to find time to read it in the coming months.

What’s interesting about this movie is the story behind the title.  The producers didn’t want to use the name Rocket Boys because they wanted to also get females interested in seeing the movie, but the author Homer Hickham refused to allow them to change it.  The compromise that they came to is the title October Sky which is an anagram of Rocket Boys (see picture above).

This movie is not only inspirational, but gives it’s viewers a great message about perseverance against all odds in achieving your goal.

Bottom Line – Inspirational story. Great cast and truly a moving message.  Recommended!

Rating – Globe Worthy


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14 thoughts on “October Sky (1999)

  1. This isn’t where my man-crush on Jake Gyllenhaal began. But it was fully cultivated here. And has never gone away since.

    This flick ain’t perfect, but it is definitely good. Strong review, Rob!


    • I’m a space nut too Joseph! Glad you also enjoy it. Now I see why Interstellar is also a highly anticipated one for you too. Nolan + Space = dream come true 🙂

      What’s your favorite space movie?

      I LOVE From the Earth to The Moon (1998) – I know that’s cheating since it’s a miniseries and not a movie, but Hanks and Spielberg did that one so brilliantly!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.


      • Interstellar is going to be the greatest thing ever. It’s already my all time fav movie and I haven’t even seen it lol.

        Umm, favourite space flick would have to be Moon, or maybe Sunshine, oh and Solaris, the russian original, not the Clooney remake.


        • I have trouble putting a movie on my all-time favorite list without having seen it yet, but i have high expectations for it too. Just hope the hype doesn’t ruin it.

          I loved Moon and liked Sunshine a lot (I probably should re-watch that one). I’ve never seen either Solaris, heard they were both pretty boring


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