Genre: historical, true story, science, biography, family, drama
My Rating: ***
Official Rating: PG for language, brief teen sensuality and alcohol use, and for some thematic elements
Age Group: 12+
Homer saw Sputnik fly through the night sky in the small town of Coalwood. He knew then that he wanted to do something big like that. That it wasn't about accomplishing such a feat before another country could. That it was something so much bigger.
So the boy who refuses to work for his father's coal mining business and is a failure at football sets off on a rather strange quest: to build a rocket. He and his friends have the encouragement of their kind teacher. Slowly, as their determination becomes clear, they gain the support of the entire town.
When success seems to be right around the corner, things fall apart. There is a mining accident. There is a terrible sickness. When one thing after another adds up against the boys, they start to lose hope.
Still, Homer ends up working for NASA. This is the story of how he first got started.
Word of Warning
Honestly, I think this movie walked the line between PG and PG-13.
- Joking mention of sucide
- Kid is brutally tackled a few times during football tryouts
- Words: a** d*** it, son of a b****, h***
- Cave in at the mine. one man has a bandage on his head but he is fine. Later, another cave in and fire results in the death of one man and the near-death of the father figure in the movie
- Kid demonstrates how to put your arm around a girl's shoulder to his friend (also a boy)
- Rockets explode more than once. One explosion knocks viewers off their feet. A few more almost skewer those watching. No one is actually ever hurt.
- The father yells at his son in front of a bunch of men. The father in the story is, in general, rather mean to his son. He does not support anything the boy does except mining. Even in the end, it's not entirely clear he is siding with his son.
- Kids shoot at an old car for fun. One kid grabs the gun and throws it aside. It's not the gun that's the problem here, it's the reckless use of it with no consequences.
- One of the boys has a stepfather who is a drunk. In fact, this allows them to buy pure alcohol (to power their rockets).
- Boys fight (punching, kicking, etc)
- Boys steal wood and tools from local businesses. They steal steel from the railroad for money. They also do things one boy's parents have implied they do not want done.
- An accidental explosion of flames in a science lab (no one is injured)
- The boys run directly at a train.
- There is a scene where teens are seen in a bar of sorts with music and apparently drinking (that part is unclear).
- The joking mention of losing one's virginity
- Stepfather beating a boy. The boy has a cut on his lip and bruises on his face.
- "Screw you and your d*** union!"
- Older brother steals/dates his younger brother's crush
- Teacher is sick and dying.
- A man shoots at the father figure (no one is injured)
- A woman threatens to leave her husband.
It was a good movie. There wasn't much wrong with it aside from the language and the father figure. Honestly, the father figure aspect was painful to watch. It was truly heartbreaking to watch the son seek his father's approval over and over, finally giving up everything he wants to save the family and only then gaining approval--for doing something he had always wanted to avoid. Then, even when he succeeds in his dream, even on his birthday, even when the rest of the two is proud, the son is scoffed at by the father.
Other than that it was a good movie. It was fun to watch the boys try to figure out how to build a rocket. There wasn't a whole lot of excitement or romance, but it was a good adventure-type story that followed the friendship of four teen boys who built a rocket.
And really, what beats that?