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October Sky

Jake Gyllenhaal , Chris Cooper , Joe Johnston    PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (145 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 9.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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October Sky + Pay It Forward / Payez au suivant (Bilingual) + Simon Birch (Bilingual)
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Product Details

Product Description


Based on the memoir Rocket Boys by Homer H. Hickam Jr., October Sky emerged as one of the most delightful sleepers of 1999--a small miracle of good ol' fashioned movie-making in the cynical, often numbingly trendy Hollywood of the late 20th century. Hickam's true story begins in 1957 with Russia's historic launch of the Sputnik satellite, and while Homer (played with smart idealism by Jake Gyllenhaal) sees Sputnik as his cue to pursue a fascination with rocketry, his father (Chris Cooper) epitomizes the admirable yet sternly stubborn working-man's ethic of the West Virginia coal miner, casting fear and disdain on Homer's pursuit of science while urging his "errant" son to carry on the family business--a spirit-killing profession that Homer has no intention of joining.

As directed by Joe Johnston (The Rocketeer), this wonderful movie is occasionally guilty of overstating its case and sacrificing subtlety for predictable melodrama. But more often the film's tone is just right, and the spirit of adventure and invention is infectiously conveyed through Gyllenhaal and his well-cast fellow rocketeers, whose many failures gradually lead to triumph on their makeshift backwoods launching pad. Capturing time and place with impeccable detail and superbly developed characters (including Laura Dern as an inspiring schoolteacher), October Sky is a family film for the ages, encouraging the highest potential of the human spirit while giving viewers a clear view of a bygone era when "the final frontier" beckoned to the explorer in all of us. --Jeff Shannon

Product Description

Coalwood, West Virginia, 1957. Working in the coal mines is an inescapable way of life in this small town. When high schooler Homer Hickam, Jr. (Jake Gyllenhaal) sees the Sputnik satellite in the night sky, he dares to break free of the mines and reach for the stars. With the support of his teacher (Laura Dern) and three friends, Homer sets out on an inspiring quest to build his own rocket. Overcoming a poor education, a tough father (Chris Cooper) and a series of misfires, Homer turns his dreams into reality in this incredible true story of hope, determination and triumph. "You'll laugh with it, cry with it, and go away absolutely loving it," says Robert Butler (Knight Ridder News Service) of the critically acclaimed October Sky. This special edition dvd includes: *Aiming High: The Story of the Rocket Boys, starring the real Rocket Boys.
*Feature Commentary with Homer Hickam
*Spotlight on Location
*Production Notes
*Theatrical Trailer

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A missed opportunity, but a treat nevertheless March 30 2000
Having read Homer H. Hickam's wonderful memoir, 'Rocket Boys', upon which October Sky is based, I decided to buy the DVD blind as the film did not recieve a national theatrical release in the UK, my home. I must say I rather enjoyed it. Joe Johnston has made a warm, evocative film but one feels he failed to make the most of his source material. Lewis Colick's script seems to skip over or marginalise the very elements that made 'Rocket Boys' such a gripping, moving read. However, the cast is very charming, there's plenty of laughs and smiles to be had, and it's a hard heart that isn't moved at the film's end. It's no Stand By Me, but October Sky is a great film. As for the disc: picture is superb, sound a little ropey (it's hard to make out what the characters are saying sometimes), and given that the film is based on a true story, the bonus material would have greatly benefited from a documentary.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A "memoir" or not Oct. 28 2008
If you have not read the book "Rocket Boys" you will probably love this movie. It is beautifully filmed, well acted, and fast paced. It depicts the life of a teenage boy growing up in small-town West Virginia, and contains plenty of teenage high jinxes. What makes Homer/Sonny different from the other teenagers is his passion for rocketry. Some of the scenes showing errant rockets - intended to be humorous - are downright scary. Even with less erratic rockets, the experiments performed are very dangerous.

But if your have read "Rocket Boys" prior to seeing the movie, you might notice something missing. The book is far more mordant. Read carefully. Just below the surface you will find a Dantesque world view. First, there is the community of Coalwood itself -- with its petty squabbles and tribulations. Beneath Coalwood is a netherworld, symbolized by a coal mine with the curious name Olga. In this inferno men toil for hours without being able to stand upright for a single moment. Above Coalwood is the celestial realm. Ironically it is symbolized by sputnik - a satellite launched by the USSR. But regardless who launched it, it symbolizes that man is not excluded from the celestial realm.

Both Homer/Sonny and his mother look skyward for a better life. The mother does so by painting flying seagulls over a balmy beach. Her dream is to relocate to Myrtle Beach.
Homer's dream is to escape via rocket - not literally of course, but by mastering rocketry, and then getting a job with Werner von Braun.
Homer's father holds their dreams in contempt. He is fully convinced that their future -- and the future of America -- is tied to keeping the mine productive and strong. He loves the mine. If he recognized its hellish side, he excuses it as necessary evil.
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5.0 out of 5 stars g April 16 2013
By sarah
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
great movie! got it on time. it works great. I would say other people would like to see this movie.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great movie Oct. 30 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I have loved this movie since i saw it in high school science class.

We recently showed it to a group of 35 Grade 6-12 students and they enjoyed it a lot.

Great movie with a lesson to it that is not boring and slow.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best rocket movies ever May 8 2004
By Mike P
As a rocket scientist from a top five university, I am astonished about how much this movie correlates with my own experiences. Not only is this movie a great representation of the glory of flight, it also encompasses the human spirit. This movie is not just for rocket enthusiasts. It is for anybody that has had a dream or a passion and let nothing get in the way of it. This movie is captivating and motivating.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational top to bottom July 19 2004
This movie is insanely inspirational. If you buy any positive movie for your collection, think about this one. It tells the story of Homer Hickam and the Rocket boys. Just after the USSR launched Sputnik (the first manmade satellite), the US had to play catch-up.
At this time is when a kid (Homer) decides to build a Rocket. The movie is the quest to build a working rocket and get the hell out of the little coal mining community he is stuck in. He has dreams to get to college and work for NASA.
Will he accomplish his dreams??? Hells yea! After he makes it through two science fairs and his father. This is one of those rare movies that will make you a better person for having seen it. Do yourself the favor and get this movie.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars whiz bang! May 4 2004
Format:VHS Tape
Homer Hickam is a ordinary coalminer teen.His dad is head of the mine and he raises hell a lot.Homer has a tough time getting close.His biggest sore point is that he detests the mine.He doesn't want to end up under the earth forever.He trys football.Thats the only way any of his friends have gone to collage.He fails in that.He wishes a girl would notice him.He does have two loyal friends.Then everything changes with Sputnik.Seeing it flying over the stars above his head is the moment when he realizes his calling.Soon he starts thinking about rockets.Why not build one? He goes to the poor nerdy boy for help.Soon the four have become allies.Homers first attempt in the science of rockets goes flat(well,the fence goes flat).His dad is angry and tells him to quit this craze.Homer won't do it,so he goes off in the woods and starts testing rockets.Some go nutty,some explode.Nothing works.Finally,when the whole town is there to watch,it happens.The rocket soars high.His teacher tells him to enter his rocket designs in the science fair.It seems like sucess is at hand when Homer's dad gets hurt.Homer must go down in the mine and work to support the family.His dream is shattered.
Does Homer Hickum get a scolarship with his rocket? Watch and see.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
October Sky has such a positive message. However,I was disappointed that there was so much profanity in it. Read more
Published on April 9 2011 by Rozella
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT
Inspirational true story about a young man who really did grow up to be a rocket scientist!
Published on Dec 21 2009 by James R. Sherlock
5.0 out of 5 stars Great family movie
This movie is one of our favorite feel good movies. Full of inspiration to always follow your dreams, no matter what. Read more
Published on May 3 2004 by A. Watson
5.0 out of 5 stars Teachable Moment
I am a science teacher and this is the best movie to show to a 6th grade class. Every year they fall in love with the devotion these students have for science, and how they... Read more
Published on April 27 2004 by "kbarnhart03"
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent choice
This movie is one of my favorites. Not only does it show whatfollowing your dreams can do, but it is inspirational. Read more
Published on April 21 2004 by michael bragg
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching Tale of Productive Dreamers
Everyone has experienced the awe at looking up into the clear night sky. The movie does an excellent job of conveying the range of emotions that the characters are going through. Read more
Published on Feb. 24 2004 by D. Kinslow
2.0 out of 5 stars Weak in comparison
If anyone has ready the book, the movie is a huge letdown! It leaves out a lot of details that I, as an Aerospace Engineering student, thought were important to the book. Read more
Published on Feb. 8 2004 by Amanda Haley
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