When I first heard about the blog-a-thon, I was instantly reminded of a film I love called October Sky. It’s based on the memoirs of Homer Hickham, which chronicles, at a young age, his forays into rocketry. I remember watching this when it was first released on VHS. Not only is it a story about following your dreams, but it’s also about the relationship between father and son.
Chris Cooper plays Homer’s father, John Hickham, brilliantly. John has a restrained quality about him, but he can also explode emotionally when pressed, and not always in a bad way. In one scene John protects Homer’s friend from his drunk stepfather, for example.
When I first watched October Sky I remember hating Homer’s father, even after the end. I thought he was a total jerk. But after seeing the film several times after, I began to empathize with his character more, and saw some of where he was coming from as a father.
John appears to be a workaholic, and loves working in the coal mines. He’s also under a lot of stress with accidents at the mine, the union, etc. Work means a lot to him. So understandably, when he sees his son Homer playing with rockets, it just seems like a waste of time to him. He wants Homer to grow up and be a man.
When he finally sees how important rocketry is to Homer, and that isn’t not just a hobby, John comes around and helps his son.
The ending of October Sky is a beautiful image of a family reconciled, and will always stay with me.
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