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Excerpt from Spotlight on Jake Gyllenhaal


Based on the autobiographical book, The Rocket Boys, October Sky tells the story of Homer Hickham, a teenager growing up in a dying West Virginia coal mining town. Russia has just launched the Sputnik into space and not only is America sent into a panic, but eyes are opened around the world. Homer, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, experiences this eye-opening and he sees a sudden window of opportunity to escape the choking town of Coalwood and aspirations of rocket science fill his brain. Jake and his two friends befriend Coalwood's resident nerd and the four of them begin work constructing miniature rockets. Their gradual success and trials in their rocketry make up half of the story as they vie to win regional and national Science Fairs which will effectively rocket them right out of Coalwood with scholarships and away from a surefire early grave as coal miners. The second, deeper part of the film revolves around Homer's relationship with his father, brilliantly played by Chris Cooper (American Beauty, Adaptation.) Homer's father wants what most fathers want; for Homer to follow in his footsteps. Homer balks at this. Their power struggle and Homer's fierce desire to make his father proud is the driving force behind the whole movie.

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One of my all time favorites. Such a well told and touching story. It should be required viewing in all schools of life.
It is difficult for anyone who did not live through the times to imagine the importance of Sputnik, the first satellite successfully launched into outer space. For Homer Hickam (Jake Gyllenhaal), the hero of Joe Johnston's film October Sky, Sputnik has no political significance, but is a window of hope...a suggestion that there is a world (and a universe) outside of his dreary small-town existence. Based on a true story, October Sky is a sweet and observant film about a boy's passion for rockets and his dreams of building one. This is not a typical "teenager" movie, in which teens are portrayed as vacuous morons who are only interested in sex and alcohol. Instead, it actually examines the way that teenagers can be intensely passionate about their pursuits, and more open-minded than adults who have become worn down by the harsh realities of life. Homer lives in a small town where mining is the center of the economy, and his father (Chris Cooper) encourages Homer to prepare for a life in the mines rather than wasting time dreaming about rockets. What is remarkable about the film is that it does not paint the father as a boorish villain crushing his son's dreams. Through Cooper's remarkable portrayal, we sense that the father has almost as much passion for mining as his son does for rockets, and honestly believes that his son will live a better life as a miner. There is a lot of sunny humour in the film, particularly in the relationship between Homer and his nerdy friend Quentin (Chris Owen), who is enlisted by Homer to help solve the mathematical problems inherent in building a rocket. Yet the film is more than just a sentimental portrait of a boy's passion. Because Cooper is able to lend such humanity to the role of Homer's father, the film achieves a certain depth and poignancy concerning the choices that teenagers must make. The fact that the film is based on a true story, and we learn that Homer eventually became a technician at NASA, also adds to the film's resonance. October Sky is certainly a successful feel-good movie: it is intelligent, fair and eventually makes the heart soar almost as high as Homer's rocket.

"October Sky" is a movie about a boy who got real interested into rockets and started to build his own mini rockets with three other friends. I enjoyed the movie but not a huge movie to go crazy for. The cast is Laura Dern, Jake Gyllanhaal, Chris Cooper, Chris Owen, William Lee Scott, and Chris Ellis.
west virginia
I remember we watched this in a middle school class twice instead of doing work. Pretty good movie.
I stayed home today because I didnt feel like going to school. We're not doing anything anyway so there really was no point. My cousin graduated yesterday. Lucky him.. I have 4 more years. Only 3.5 days of school left thank god. I watched October Sky today. I love that movie.. and Jake. Well I'm off.
just because i find it amusing, target has the simple life on sale for 5.50! hahah

anyway, locked in my room watching october sky really wasn't the but load of fun i was hoping for. stupid tear jerker load of crap. jake looks young. i saw a hot pic of him on the telly a while ago. he has the same chin as TH.

i always get toby mcguire and jake gyllenhaal mixed up. i think its the eyes, cause i can't find a better reason, they don't really look a like.

Wow, well I happened to see a couple of movies today that were both based on true stories and were completely different in nature. I saw The Motorcycle Diaries, and I thought it was very impressive. The cinematography was unreal. The movie did an excellent job of interweaving the landscape of Latin America as a leading character in the film. I've never seen such a beautiful view of these countries.

I've seen a lot of stuff online putting the movie down for promoting Che Guevarra and the ideals and actions that he would pursue after the timespan covered in the movie. I'm not going there ... but it was really effective in showing the impact of their roadtrip across Latin America and their newfound understanding of the different peoples in the land, their different situations, and some of the injustices that were in existence in those countries in the 50s -- and that truly left a lasting impression.

Now, October Sky is an older film that I had not seen before that I actually was watching for my Entrepreneurship & Venture Finance course. It featured a much younger Jake Gyllenhaal and was a wonderful story of a boy's dream to learn how to build a rocket that would fly -- which would be his escape from a small town in West Virginia where it was expected that everyones destiny would be to work in the local coal mine. No one in the town, not even his own father, initially understood or supported their efforts -- but they did not let this prevent them from trying anyhow, and ultimately succeeding. What a great story! I'd always heard this one was good, but now I know! :)
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