October Sky

October Sky

The time was the 1950s, the place, a coal-mining town in West Virginia. After learning of the Russians successfully launching Sputnik, a high school student, Homer Hickham becomes determined to build a successful rocket. With the inspiration and encouragement of a high school teacher, Miss Riley, and the friendship of three other classmates, they build one unsuccessful rocket after another. After overcoming much taunting by most of their high school peers; the resistance of Homer’s father, who discourages his son at every turn and insists that Homer should focus on following in his dad’s footsteps and work in the mine; and the principal of the high school’s narrow-mindedness and stereotyping of his students; the four students continue with their experiments and chase their dream. Eventually a rocket is built that wins at a local science fair; then wins first prize at a national science fair. The win was Homer’s and his fellow students’ ticket to college. After this success and numerous confrontations with his father, the latter finally shows up to support his son by witnessing a rocket launch.

There is no question that the movie is sentimental. However, I think it goes deeper than the usual stereotypes of traditional parenting; and working class, hillbilly American values and lifestyle. The movie is full of moral lessons like: the importance of living with hopes and dreams and following where they lead; the importance of friendship and mentoring and cooperation to accomplish life’s goals; the discerning of one’s life-calling and vocation, which brings with it meaning and purpose for one’s life. All four students left their mining community to attend college. Homer was employed by NASA. Theologically, this movie reminds me a little of the sceptics who say of Jesus: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” God calls and chooses people whom others would write off and overlook. Oh yes, I think I’ll try to find the soundtrack of this movie too.

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About dimlamp
I am, among other things, a sojourner, a sinner-saint, a baptized, life-long learner and follower of Jesus, and Lutheran pastor. Dim Lamp: dimlamp.wordpress.com gwh photos: gwhphotos.wordpress.com

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