If you still haven’t seen Todd Douglas Miller‘s Apollo 11 in IMAX, please do so during the coming one-week re-engagement (starting on 12.6). And while you’re watching you might want to play a little game with yourself. There’s a whole lot of pre-launch footage of NASA technicians, VIP NASA guests, and Average Joe tourists waiting to see the launch. The name of the game is “Find the Obese People.” Because in 1969 they were all but nonexistent. You might spot one or two NASA technicians who could stand to exercise a bit more, but no Jackie Gleason types. Among the tourists it’s really hard to find a moderately fat person, and damn near impossible to spot any serious Jabbas. It’s just the way things were back then.
“Weltschmerz of ’69 vs. Insanity of Now“, posted on 7.13.19:
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.