There was a time when JW's Sunday was devoted to a little thing called 'The Sunday Project'. Unfortunately they ran out of ideas for that feature and hastily abandoned it, never to be mentioned again...until now. Well, we're still not doing it but will instead devote the following two Sundays to the rest of Anneka's October Sky review. We found it whilst rummaging in the archives and damn, it was too good to pass on.
For those of you who missed the first four parts (no, really, it's long) you can read them HERE (scroll down). But for those of you who can remember everything that happened, please continue reading...
Jake shows up at none other than Mrs Sam Neill’s house. She makes him some tea as we sit on the edge of our seat to find out what the hell is going on. Has her boyfriend knocked her up? Sam Neill won’t be pleased. I’ve just realised she seems to be wearing Plainer Jane’s cardigan. Wow, they were really on a budget. She tells us the boyfriend rumour was a lie. Phew, now Sam Neill won’t have to make some dodgy deal with Helena Bonham Carter after saving her from a bridge. Not sure anyone but my sister will get that reference, so let me know if you did. Jake wishes she did have a boyfriend. What is going on? Oh, she has Hodgkins, thank God someone finally said it and let the light of understanding shine down upon me. Jake asks if there’s anything he can do. Mrs Sam Neill is very good and does not take advantage of the fact that she is sick to get him to do the deed with her. Instead she apologises for being a bitch earlier when Jake quit school. She says she thought if the Rocketeers had gone to college, she would have done something worthwhile with her life. Jake looks sad that he let her down. God, she can’t help but make people feel guilty can she? She also says that Jake knows he wasn’t meant to end up in the mine. No, he’s going to be an actor lady. Don’t nobody tell him otherwise. She also says she’s proud of him, no matter what.
Jake’s lying in bed, thinking about Mrs Sam Neill guilt-tripping him. Some up-tempo music comes on as he gets out the book she gave him about rocket maths and starts doing calculations in his PJs. Aren’t you hot in them PJs Jake? Don’t you want to take them off and do calculations how God intended? Jake works until his alarm clock goes off and we see a pile of crumpled up paper at his feet. Seems Mrs Sam Neill was right when she said he wasn’t good at maths. We see Jake doing calculations at the miner’s lunch table, the table not mentioned in the Mean Girls cafeteria. At the end of the mining day, Jake hitches a lift. When he gets out, he asks directions from some kind of fifties prostitute – i.e. well-dressed but hanging around on a streetcorner. She points off into the darkness and watches him go, starting to imagine growing old with that handsome young miner, then rushing home to visit www.jakewatch.com before remembering the internet hasn’t been invented yet, and that Britpop is only ten years old.
Jake reaches his destination – a rundown shack in the woods. Isn’t this how Wrong Turn started? A woman answers the door and it seems Jake is looking for The Shermanator. Jake is shown to a room where two kids are sleeping and The Shermanator is doing his homework. The Shermanator is probably surprised by the midnight visit from one of Hollywood’s hottest young actors but is cool enough not to show it. Instead, he gets very excited by Jake’s maths as it proves that their rocket didn’t start the forest fire. Yeah, I’d forgotten about that too. They get so excited that The Shermanator’s Mum nervously asks what they’re doing. No, it’s nothing like that Mrs Shermanator, they’re just two geeks sharing a nocturnal love of mathematics. Together, they start working out where their missing rocket landed and come to 1.2 miles. Good boys. The Shermanator shows Jake out, asking VILL YOU TELL DA OTHER ROCKETEERS WHERE I LIVE? What’s wrong with a shack in the woods near where the prostitutes hangs out where you gotta share a bed with nineteen of your siblings? Jake lives with a Nazi Plate Collector and a woman who’s not actually his real mother. That bird from The Day After Tomorrow is his real mother. Anyway, Jake says it doesn’t matter where The Shermanator hangs his hat, the Rocketeers still think he’s weird. And grins, as if that was a compliment. DA SHERMANATOR IS ALSO AMUSED. Jake says he’ll see him at dawn. DA SHERMANATOR ASKS IF HE HAS TO BE DOWN DA MINE. Jake grins again and says he doesn’t work there anymore. Oooh, I sense we have reached a turning point.
Jake and The Shermanator hook up – not like that - at the burnt out Cape Coalwood and with a bit of string, start measuring 1.2 miles. This takes them most of the day then they start looking for their rocket. At first there is no luck, and they stop to check the maths again when Jake gets a psychic message from The Weather Channel and starts thinking about wind-speed. He says if there was a wind that day, it would have taken the rocket…right there. He spots AUK IIIX ass-up in a stream. DA SHERMANATOR SAYS DAT IS PREDIGIOUS. I shrug and move on.
The two most dedicated Rocketeers who stayed up all night doing maths and then spent all day rocket hunting, arrive triumphant at Mrs Sam Neill’s class with the previously missing rocket. She looks suitably shocked and impressed. The Headmaster sees unruly students running down the hallway and goes to see what all the trouble is about. Guns, knives, pogs? No, just a rocket. Mrs Sam Neill says they didn’t start the fire. The Headmaster says Jake doesn’t belong in the classroom. You’re right, he belongs on the big screen where everyone can see him. And he also says the rocket doesn’t prove anything. He has a point but then Jake starts doing calculations on the board. The Headmaster, knowing Jake’s crappiness at maths, scoffs until he realises Jake is right. The class is looking pretty impressed, especially Plainer Jane who looks like “S=1/2at2” is the modern equivalent of “Oh Baby, take me right here on the desk.” DA SHERMANATOR ORDERS JAKE TO GED HIM, BEAT HIM OVA DA HEAD WITH YOUR RACKET. The Headmaster asks if you didn’t start that fire who did? What kind of a kangaroo court is this? “We can prove you didn’t do it but since we don’t know who else did it, you’ll have to keep the blame.”
Cut to a burned up rocket with collapsing fins on the end. DA SHERMANATOR SAYS IT IS INGENIOUS, thus proving that our Rocketeers didn’t make it. The Headmaster announces that it’s an aero-nautical flare that came from an airstrip. How does he know that? Gasp – he framed Jake! Nah, not really. Giving the boys a lift home, the Headmaster says Jake can come back to school to enter the science fair. Cheers go up throughout JW Headquarters. The boys are pleased, including Row-Lee who mis-pronounces prodigious. DA SHERMANATOR KILLS HIM DEAD.
Back in the basement, the Rocketeers are discussing rocket building when NPC comes down. Just like the old days. He seems unimpressed that his son has been cleared of starting a fire and is now up to his old pyrotechnic tricks and tells the others to get out. Just like the old days. EVEN DA SHERMANATOR IS AFRAID OF NPC and they leg it. NPC is pissed at Jake for missing work to play with rocket nonsense. He should have come up with some distant family member dying, that’s what I do. Or at least, what I would do if I had a job. Jake says it’s not nonsense. That’s what the Russians want you to think before they A-bomb the shit out of you. NPC says he’s been really proud of Jake these past few weeks and he wants Jake to have his job one day, and that would make him happy. The look on Jake’s face tells us he would not be happy with that. But then, NPC turns a corner and says Jake can play with his rockets – we’ve all established there are worse hobbies he could have, like chimp-fighting with knives - as long as he doesn’t miss work. The music builds as Jake says coal-mining is NPC’s life, not his and he’s not going back down there. NPC looks saddened, until Jake says he wants to go into space. Then he looks like he can’t believe he gave birth to a son that has delusions of space travel. Well, New Movie Mom gave birth to him - despite the presence of The Shermanator, this is not Junior. He stomps upstairs with a face like thunder. Jake is saddened that his relationship with his father has crumbled once again.
At the school, people are pulling out bleachers and putting out chairs. Holy shit, IT IS HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL! Jake’s gonna get on the tables and sing something semi-catchy! Awww, no, it’s the day of the science fair. Before we can get our anticipation up to anywhere near the level it should be, we find out that they’ve already won. Everyone’s clapping, including Mrs Sam Neill and the Headmaster. Yes, and everyone at JW Headquarters, except Britpop who just went out for more gin and missed what’s going on. The Rocketeers sheepishly stand up and bask in their applause.
As they’re packing up their exhibit, Row-Lee says he thought the boy with the robot dog was going to win. What? There was a boy with a robot dog! Can I change my vote? The Headmaster asks which one of them is going to the state science fair. Jake promptly says all of us. The Headmaster says they can’t afford it. I think for a moment that this is going to take a Bring It On turn and the boys are going to do half-naked car-washes to raise the money for all of them to go. But no. Well I don’t think Row-Lee and Odell deserve to go as we have not seen them do any maths. And The Shermanator might go on a killing rampage, saying “Predigious” as he bashes people’s skulls in. So who does that leave? The Rocketeers look at one another, then Row-Lee says he’ll need a suitcase. Just as I’ve started penning my letter of complaint, he says he’s joking and that Jake should be the one to go. I couldn’t agree more.
At the mine, there appears to be some kind of union meeting where some guy is getting the miners all angry and ready to strike. One guy does not want to strike and looks sad as everyone else over-rules him. It’s all right mate, you can be a scab. Quick, someone get some rocks and a barrel full of fire and we’ll have ourselves a picket line outside the mine. Hey, that rhymes! At the Hickham house, NPC is bitching about the ungrateful strikers while Jake is looking for a big green suitcase. Let us cross our fingers it’s big enough to put The Shermantor, Row-Lee and Odell in, because you can’t have a party in Indianapolis without Row-Lee’s haircut. NPC is pissed off at Jake and won’t help him find his suitcase. NPC goes to the kitchen – maybe the suitcase is in there – but has to dodge a bullet flying through the window. It was probably Odell, angry that he’s not going to the science fair. No, seems it was some guy called Vernon from the strike. Jake tries to show concern but NPC tells him not to trouble himself. New Movie Mom is upset as the bullet has put a hole in her mural – again, ?. Jake gets all Hulked up and yells at NPC that it isn’t his fault, that the town is dying and he wants to get out while he can. They both yell GO at each other for a while, then Jake storms out, saying he’ll be gone forever. Another family Christmas at my house brought to the big screen.