By Troy Patterson
Updated July 30, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT
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October Sky

type
  • Movie

Duller than rocket science and more reliant on formulas, this unnaturally earnest ”inspirational” tale — a small sleeper hit in theaters last spring — re-creates the West Virginia adolescence of former NASA engineer Homer Hickam. We watch Hickam and his pallies, inspired by the Sputnik launch, overcome their town’s parochialism and build a little missile of their own. Director Joe Johnston, who charted a similar trajectory in The Rocketeer, mines a lode of period and genre clichés; Gyllenhaal seems too sophisticated to be an Appalachian youth; Laura Dern doesn’t have much screen time as a nurturing science teacher, but her hair looks terrific. C

Episode Recaps

October Sky

type
  • Movie
mpaa
  • PG
director

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