Apollo 13 (1995)

I love this film.

Like The Hunt For Red October before it, this was one of those films that I put on in the video store during my shift because it is heavily dialogue driven, a great score, fantastic actors, and just carried me through my day.

And like Contact, I won’t watch it for months at a time, and then when I do, I watch it repeatedly.

From the opening notes of James Horner’s incredible score, Ron Howard has crafted a film that is filled with the passion that is film-making.

Starring Tom Hanks (who is a huge astronaut fanatic, and oversaw a series post Apollo 13 called From The Earth To The Moon) as legendary astronaut Jim Lovell, the movie follows the disaster that proved to be one NASA’s finest hours, when those on their way to the moon, and those back on terra firma had to figure out a way to get home, despite losing their oxygen tanks, and one obstacle after another seemingly piled against them.

Howard has surrounded Hanks with an amazing ensemble of actors, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise, Kevin Bacon, Ed Harris, Kathleen Quinlan and, of course, as always, Ron’s brother Clint as well.

Nominated for best picture as well as best supporting actors (Ed Harris) and actress (Kathleen Quinlan) the film walked away with Oscars for Best Film Editing and Best Sound.

Yes, the line “Houston, we have a problem,” has now beaten us over the head with its over-usage in pop culture, but hearing it in context, as the tension keeps ratcheting up, and you realize the condition and state these astronauts are, so far from home, it still gives me chills.

When things start to go sideways, the dialogue comes fast and intense, and I just throw myself into those moments each and every time, I love the rapid-fire delivery, the pacing, the underlying worry in their voices, while maintaining complete professionalism and doing their job.


This for me is one of those near-perfect films, the acting, directing, the music, the script, are just right, and there isn’t a single moment in the film that doesn’t hold, or captivate me.

James Horner’s score for the film, interspersed with snippets of film dialogue are in high rotation on my ipod, and re-watching this film has made me want to revisit some of Howard’s other films, of which there are many.

Which are your favorites?

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