Friday, January 10, 2014

space cowboys

A waxing moon hangs low over town in a sky finally clear of rain.

‘Set the controls,’ I say to Max, settling lower into my seat and folding my arms, ‘the Sea of Tranquillity.’

‘I saw this film about the moon once,’ says Max, one hand lightly on the steering wheel with the insouciance of a twelve year old in a stolen truck. He glances sideways to see if I'm still awake.

‘Space Cowboys. You should see it. It’s about these four geriatric pilots. Apparently they’re supposed to be famous actors, but I've never heard of them. Anyway, it turns out they all used to fly with the United States Air Force, and then worked on space stations after that, until eventually it all gets too much and they retire. The thing is, there’s this Russian satellite that’s going to crash back to earth, but then it turns out that the Russians loaded it up with nuclear weapons in the Cold War. But now they don’t have the rockets to go up and sort it out. So they ask the Americans to help, and it turns out the only people who still know about the old guidance systems are these four geriatric airmen. So they all go up and try to fix the controls so it’ll fly off and explode in space. But there’s some kind of problem which means someone has to sit on the satellite and steer it manually. Luckily it turns out one of the old astronauts has recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer, so he says he’ll go. So they leave him on the satellite and he heads off to the moon, because he always wanted to go there. And at the end you see his body crash-landed on the moon, looking back at the earth. You should see it. It’s amazing.’


MrTomVee said...

That is, in fact, a correct synopsis of this very silly movie.

jacksofbuxton said...

Is Max 12 years old?

Clint Eastwood,Tommy Lee Jones,James Garner,Donald Sutherland.

He's never heard of them?

Jeez I feel old.

Spence Kennedy said...

Tom - I might watch it if it came on TV, but I prob wouldn't order it on Lovefilm. But talking about moon films, did you see 'Moon' with Sam Rockwell? Now that was a good moon film. (Who'd have thought I'd be typing the word moon so much?)

Jack - He'd stand a 50/50 chance in a police line-up of 12 yos, that's for sure. I'm not convinced he hadn't heard of Clint &c, even though that's what he said. I reckon he just didn't want to be associated with anyone or anything over twenty. It is amazing though. Especially Clint Eastwood, for god's sake. I think you could say he was something of a cultural icon. :/

TomVee said...

Hey Spence! I saw "Moon" only recently on DVD and yes it is a great sci-fi movie. I was only bothered that they never clarified whether Sam's radiation poisoning came from the accumulated damage received from living on the moon, or was intentionally inflicted on hom towards the end of his 'contract'.

"He'd stand a 50/50 chance in a police line-up of 12 yos"
Bwahahahahaha! that line made my day!

Spence Kennedy said...

It's a while since I saw it, Tom, so I had to wiki the plot to jog my memory.

I got the impression the company deliberately cloned him & kept the copies in reserve because they knew he'd be affected by radiation over time. And when he discovers the truth, he works it so one of the clones gets to go back to earth, and 'he' dies on the moon. Something like that.

I was really impressed by Sam Rockwell. It was a great performance, esp. given that he held the entire film together. Very atmospheric, too (no pun intended...) Must watch it again.