Oh, I also just learnt that 'October Sky' is an anagram of 'Rocket Boys'. GENIUS.
Read PART 1 here.
Read PART 2 here.
Read PART 3 here.
------------------------------In a tantrum, Jake goes outside and sits on a car, thinking about how shitty his life has become within the last twenty-four hours. So this is what it feels like to be Jack Bauer eh? Oh look, is that Elisha Cuthbert come to comfort him? No, it’s the next best thing. No, not Row-Lee. It’s Plainer Jane, who is even wearing a plainer cardigan of the same colour as Susie Highschool. Jake looks less than impressed to see her – perhaps he was hoping for Row-Lee – and utters her name but his accent and the sighing nature of his voice gives away hardly a syllable. Whatever her name is, she’s glad Jake didn’t go to jail. Jake is again unmoved. What the hell’s the matter with the boy? Like a good JW agent, she doesn’t take the hint and hangs around telling him his rockets were exciting. You haven’t seen his best rocket yet love. Her sudden scientific interest makes Jake look at her in a new light and the music build on the soundtrack.
A few minutes later, they’re parked under the railway bridge in the back of a car, both looking nervous. I would be too after all the railway line the Rocketeers have been nicking, the train could come off the track and crush them flat. Jake asks if she’s seen Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman. I’m unsure where he’s going with this until I recall him and Row-Lee practicing for scary movies on the porch way back when Jake had never even seen Sputnik. Jake’s about to give her a nipple-twist when a car horn goes off and someone’s calling his name. There are three of them so I’m guessing it’s the rest of the Rocketeers.
Cut to a truck driving erratically through the rain. Jake is dropped off and he runs indoors where New Movie Mom is sitting in the dark. This does not bode well. She says if NPC dies, she won’t shed a tear. Shit. We hear the sirens and Jake heads for the mine. There are ambulances and families huddled under umbrellas waiting for news. The ambulances aren’t under umbrellas - can you imagine how big an umbrella you’d need to huddle an ambulance underneath? The mine elevator is coming up as Jake gets there. As miners tumble out, people shove aside crowd barriers. Wow, it’s like a Jake premiere. Jake hasn’t seen his Dad. And there’s a body. Hankies at the ready people. Someone peels back the blanket, Jake’s face is torn as he sees who it is. Oh, you crafty film-makers. Tis not NPC, tis Euro-Mining Previously Welding Guy. Jake feels incredibly guilty and is about to try and comfort Euro-Mining Guy’s family when someone yells “Hickam’s hurt!”, Hickam being NPC’s real name. Well, Chris Cooper’s his real name but you get the picture. NPC is carried out of the mine with a fractured skull and man-handled into an ambulance. Jake is left standing in the rain, reaching for Euro-Mining Guy’s ID token – 723. Not a dry eye in the house as Jake looks with horror towards the steaming mineshaft, knowing it will be his destiny now his rockets are out of the picture.
At home, Jake, New Movie Mom and Brother of Jake are sharing a cuppa. They have a cup each, things aren’t that bad just yet. Although they are for NPC as it seems he may be losing an eye and the coalboard won’t pay for his medical treatment. Bureaucrats. Brother of Jake offers to go down the mine but New Movie Mom won’t hear of it as he has to finish school to go on his scholarship. Jake says he’ll go instead. New Movie Mom makes no objection. What a bitch. Jake looks frightened about working in the mine. He should be. Decapitations, death, dirty faces – the mine don’t mess around.
Jake’s in the headmaster’s office, quitting school. The headmaster tells him it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Damn right it’s not. He’s mining to save his father’s sight and his family’s tea-set. It’s the most honourable thing a rocket geek can do. He’s clearing out his locker when he spots Mrs Sam Neill giving him the evil eye. He chases her down the corridor but she does not stop or talk to him. What a bitch! Weren’t you here for the ‘he’s mining to save his father’s sight and his family’s tea-set’? He doesn’t want to mine, he wants to build rockets with his gang of faithful Rocketeers. He certainly doesn’t want to be getting up in the middle of the night as we see him do in the next scene. His Mum picked him out some nice blue PJs. He takes his new miner’s hat out of the plastic wrapper, ignoring the picture of Doctor Van Damme next to it. He cuts a very dashing profile as he puts it on his head. The hat, not the picture.
Irish music plays as Jake steps into the mine elevator for the first time. He looks up through the wire of the elevator. And sees Sputnik moving across the Not-Anymore-October-Sky. His blue eyes shine in the dark as the elevator starts to sink. He does not lower his head until someone tells him to turn on his miner’s hat. Good, he remembered to put batteries in it. He climbs out of the elevator and looks so scared I want to climb through the screen a la the creepy Japanese girl in The Ring and give him a hug.
Honey, NPC’s home. New Movie Mom is showing him carbon crystals that he gave her on their honeymoon. I suppose they’re nearly the same as diamonds, just a few thousand years, a few thousand tones of pressure and a few thousand dollars difference. Jake comes to talk to NPC, looking like he has Bert from Sesame Street eyebrows because of the coal-dust. In contrast, NPC has a bandage over one of his eyes. Jake says he feels responsible over Euro-Mining Guy’s death. NPC says he gave Euro-Mining Guy the chance to go back to the workshop but that he wanted to stay in the mine because the money was better. So really, it was Euro-Mining Guy’s own fault, wanting to buy diamonds for his wife instead of just sticking with carbon crystals like NPC did. Jake still looks sad. And in need of a bath. NPC asks if mining is that bad. Jake says yes. Straight to the point. NPC coughs a lot, movie-speak for ‘about to kick the bucket’.
Jake’s invited the ex-Rocketeers for lunch on a log outside the mine. Apparently, Mrs Sam Neill has a new boyfriend so she hasn’t been around much. I can’t believe the headmaster would give her time off to hang with her boyfriend instead of teaching class. DA SHERMANATOR ASKS VAT IT’S LIKE DOWN DARE. Jake ignores that and shows them his newly toned muscles. They all have a feel. How do you sign up to be a Rocketeer so I can feel Jake’s muscles? Row-Lee says no wonder his step-daddy can kick his ass. Jake eagerly says “Come down the mine” but Row-Lee is in no hurry. He’s got cars to shoot at and girls to nipple-twist.
Dinner at the Hickham house. NPC, bandage-free and still with two eyes, is finally proud of Jake for making a sacrifice and says he’ll be able to go back to school. But Jake is fed up of learning science and arithmetic, he’s got mining fever now. New Movie Mom tries to get NPC to persuade him, but NPC’s on the side of mine. He wants as many people as possible to get sucked into it. He says Jake’s mining has made him a man. There we go Westlife, that’s what makes a man. New Movie Mom is disgusted by this and stalks off without finishing her dinner.
NPC’s back at work, fighting with the character called Jake as opposed to the real Jake. He asks how Real Jake is getting on. Affirmative – he’s the best darn underage miner they got. NPC asks if Jake wants to visit the coal face. What, the coolest part of the mine where only the VIPs get to go and drink Cristal from golden thermoses? Jake jumps at the chance. NPC and Jake do a bit of manly bonding – no, not like that – now that they’re both miners. NPC has another violent coughing fit. Does anyone else think he should be in bed and not down a mine? NPC says he was born for this, and Jake was too. Jake is not impressed with this news and gets a little misty-eyed as he starts thinking about his rockets again.
Jake comes in from a hard day in the mine and New Movie Mom comes to talk to him. Not now woman, he needs to get out of them dirty clothes and into a shower. Without his dirty clothes. New Movie Mom says something I cannot interpret. Is it their accents, my ears or the sound on my dodgy TV? Britpop, you willing to give me some petty JW cash to get a flatscreen and surround sound? Thought not. Anyway, seems like bad news as New Movie Mom puts her arms around him. Crud, has Row-Lee’s step-daddy finished him off? Has Jean-Claude Van Damme blown himself up? HAS DA SHERMANATOR BEEN CALLED BACK INTO DA MISTS OF TIME TO PERFORM SOME ASSASSINATION?