Apollo 11 is truly great within its own realm — an immersive, suspenseful, larger-than-life, clean-as-a-hound’s-tooth revisiting of a momentous moment in world history. It’s moving and majesterial and as tightly wound as a Swiss watch — i.e., all the boring parts of an eight-day voyage removed for viewing pleasure.
And Ryan Gosling should be advised that while Neil Armstrong was allegedly aloof and not the joshiest of fellows, he was not a chronic gloomhead — shot after shot in Miller’s doc shows him smiling, grinning and otherwise beaming like a prep schooler.
Apollo 11 gets you emotionally in at least a couple of ways. In hindsight it’s almost sad to watch when you consider how good and unified everyone in the U.S. felt when the Eagle landed on the moon on 7.20.69 vs. how tens of millions of center-left types are currently depressed, despairing and mortified over the degradation of American values and standards by the ongoing Trump clown show.
True, things were anything but peaceful in the summer of ’69 — the Vietnam War raging, the “silent majority” discomforted by anti-war demonstrations and a general loathing of President Richard Nixon plus counter-culture upheavals (pot, LSD, hippies, the Weathermen, Black Panthers, “whitey on the moon”, Woodstock, breakup of the Beatles). So life is never peaceful and strife and discomfort are often the orders of the day.
But the sick-brain world of Trump, his Fox enablers and the meatball redhats is a realm beyond. Trump is a beast, a liar, a con man destroyer, a short-fused fool. For all his dark currents and venal determinations Nixon at least understood and respected the system of checks and balances for the most part and, apart from “the plumbers”, generally operated within constitutional restraints. And he did push for environmental laws, a national health care system and the raising of labor wages. Five years ago Noam Chomsky opined that Nixon was “the last liberal president.”
As disturbing and discordant as 1969 was, it was a comparative garden of eden compared to what’s happening now. Richard M. wasn’t anywhere near as appalling as Donald J.
Side observation: Watching all those dozens upon dozens of NASA guys with their identical short-sleeved white dress shirts and ties and almost every of them wearing white-walled crew cuts (a few wore their hair with a bit of length and a part) is to observe a species that truly no longer exists. Not one of these NASA drones wore even a hint of longish sideburns…not one! And sideburns were all over the place in 1969.
And to go by Apollo 11 not one of them was even a little bit overweight, much less fat and forget obese. Because the American diet was different 50 years ago and middle-aged people were generally in better shape.