Best Movies to Watch by Tommy Smeltzer

Staff & contributors
October Sky doesn’t tread new ground—in fact, you’ll be forgiven for rolling your eyes at a couple of cliches, including the classic “Those are your dreams, dad, not mine!” moments—but it’s so unassuming and well-made that it’s hard not to get drawn in by its many charms. There’s Gyllenhaal’s breakthrough performance for one, and the small town coming together to help each other out for another. Perhaps because the film is based on Homer Hickman’s true story, it also feels more specific and lived in than most period pieces. And it smartly avoids villainizing young Hickam’s adversaries so that they feel more real and nuanced, as opposed to the other far-fetched parts of the film. Sure, the overuse of sweeping music can feel cloying at times, but stellar performances across the board and confident direction overall make it a heartwarming, inspiring winner.

Genre: Drama, Family

Actor: Andy Stahl, Blaque Fowler, Brady Coleman, Chad Lindberg, Charles Lawlor, Chris Cooper, Chris Ellis, Chris Owen, Courtney Cole-Fendley, David Dwyer, Don Henderson Baker, Doug Swander, Elya Baskin, Frank Hoyt Taylor, Jake Gyllenhaal, Joe Digaetano, John Bennes, Kaili Hollister, Larry Black, Laura Dern, Mark Jeffrey Miller, Mark W. Johnson, Natalie Canerday, Neva Howell, Randy Stripling, Rick Forrester, Scott Thomas, Terrence Gibney, Terry Loughlin, Tommy Smeltzer, William Lee Scott

Director: Joe Johnston

Rating: PG