Apollo 13: When You Need to See a Finest Hour
Directed by Ron Howard
Written by William Broyles Jr. & Al Reinert
In a time when the U. S. of A. seems to be a little wobbly, I wanted to spend Independence Day being reminded of a time when things went wrong, people pitched in, and it all worked out.* Ron Howard films tend to sag, but this one remains taut throughout. Aside from space drama tension the acting is so very good by all the players, especially Kathleen Quinlan who makes the most of her worried-wife-stuck-on-earth role.
The verdict: Recommended**
Cost: $3.99 via Google Play
Where watched: at home
Consider also watching:
- Hidden Figures
- First Man
- Cast Away
*Granted, a small group of people getting three men back from the moon is problem solving on a different scale than systemic racism and global pandemics, but you know, baby steps. Plus Matt had never seen this and also wasn’t sure who Gary Sinise was (even when I told him repeatedly: He’s Captain Dan in Forrest Gump!) so that took care of that, too.
**Random me fact: I watched this in 1995 when it was released, but I associate it with 9/11 as it was the Saturday Night Movie one of the big-three networks played when they returned to regular programming after days of covering the attacks. I watched it (with commercials) on Georges Island in the Boston Harbor with fellow park ranger Joel.
- Would you watch a drama that focused on the women who happen to be married to astronauts?
- Who was your favorite of the Apollo 13 crew? (Matt’s favorite was Gary Sinise, because he did all the hard work back on Earth to get them home.)
Favorite IMDB trivia item:
When the real Jim Lovell saw the film, he found the CGI work so convincing that he firmly believed that the filmmakers had uncovered some hitherto unseen NASA footage.
Other reviews of Apollo 13:
- Barbara Shulgasser, San Francisco Examiner
- Rita Kempley, Washington Post
I loved this movie. My favorite scene is when NASA brings an example of everything Apollo 13 has on board, dumps it on a table, and says tells the scientist to bring them home.
This is also my favorite scene. I suspect it’s our family legacy of making things work that makes it such a good scene.
Also, an observation I made to Matt, but forgot to include in the review. This might be the crossover point where nerds went from being people to make fun of (Revenge of the Nerds) to all people everyone loves (The Big Bang Theory).