Sunday, September 16

Rocket Men

Today I did brunch and a movie with Tony. We were planning on seeing The Brave One. Almost immediately after saying hello to each other Tony admitted that he'd been plotting to convince me to see Across the Universe instead. I admitted I'd had the same idea but that it wasn't playing anywhere near us. Oh well, maybe next time. We then agreed that The Brave One seemed a bit of a downer for such a nice day. Hmm, we wondered. What could be playing at the Laemmle?

I'd almost forgotten about In the Shadow of the Moon. The show time was at a great time for us so we decided to go for it. I'm so glad we did! What a great movie. It centers on the astronauts who have been to the moon. I've long claimed that I'm fairly ignorant to the moon walks. I was about 3 years old when Neil and Buzz took those famous steps. There is an assumption that folks my age know all about that monumental event. We Gen-X'ers were too young to remember the first moon walk first hand and by the time we were old enough to care the hype had died down. Americans were taking the space program for granted by the time we hit junior high. This movie does a good job of explaining all the details I'd never considered before. Like the fact that someone, Michael Collins, had to fly all the way to the moon but couldn't walk on it because he had to man the spaceship while Neil and Buzz took off in the space pod to the surface of the moon. Disappointed! For the record, Mr. Collins doesn't see it as a negative, he's proud of the role he played in getting us to the moon.

Even knowing how it all turned out didn't keep my heart from racing when the time came for Neil and Buzz to re-attach the pod to the ship for their ride home. I'd never considered that drama. Apparently the government had. Nixon pre-recorded a message to the country stating the two men couldn't get back to the ship and were being left behind to die... just in case. Good Lord! The film is made up of vintage footage and interviews with the astronauts. I'd never considered how remarkable those men were and are.

The movie is ultimately a very moving film (I misted up several times), especially when you see how the voyage brought the world together. People from all around the world were saying "We did it!". It wasn't considered an American triumph but one that all mankind could share. It made me sad to think about how far we've come from those warm and fuzzy feelings for each other. It made me wonder how we'll ever get to that wonderful mood again.

I then considered how much my niece and nephew know about moon walks. If I'm ignorant to those events imagine what they must think? Men walking on the moon is ancient history to those two. I had dinner with the brother and his family tonight and mentioned the movie to Little Man. I asked if he'd heard about it and he said "Yeah, I know all about it." I said "You know it was a really big deal, right?" He looked up at me with a reassuring "Yes, it was cool." Well that's encouraging. I'd love to take him to a shuttle landing or departure some day. It seems like a potentially super cool thing to witness but I've never taken the time to do it. Maybe some day.

If you have some time, I highly recommend In the Shadow of the Moon and be sure to take the kids.

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