Aussie Film Fest

I never got around to properly mourning the passing of Neil Armstrong, but my Spy in Oz, Brett McS, recommended a wonderful little film as fitting tribute.

Based on the true story of the contribution the town of Parkes in NSW, Australia made to the broadcast of the moon landing, this little charmer is three things in one.

It's a well-paced, exciting engineer-as-hero and triumph of man story (a la Apollo 13). It's a delightful and witty human interest story about the excitement of folks in a small town when they're suddenly "on the map" and participating in a great world event. And it's a wonderful slice-of-life from the era, including lots of contemporaneous footage of the way people all over the world were gripped by the moon landing. For someone like me too young to recall it, it makes you understand better what the achievement meant -- and not just from the American perspective.
I loved it so much I made the whole family watch it, and everyone was enthusiastic, which is a rare acheivement these days. Not saying it's the best movie you will ever see, but it's just...really well done. Well told, low key humor, affection for the characters and un-Hollywood. (For parents, it's utterly clean except for the abuse of the Lord's name in a moment of crisis and a couple of BSes. Youngest Weed now believes from this viewing that Aussies curse perpetually, but it was only 2-3 times.)

As a bonus, Brett McS tossed in a second recommendation: this time a quirky rom-com, also enjoyable, though not as fab as The Dish: Danny Deckchair. There are two actors named Rhys in it. (What are the odds?) The star, Rhys Ifans, is like a Welsh Ryan Gosling I think. (If I knew anything about Ryan Gosling I'd be more confident in the comparison, but I only know him from Lars & the Real Girl --another quirky but worthwhile flick, but not Australian so off topic.) It's not suitable for young-uns because of pre-marital shenanigans (though mild, with no flesh scenes).

P.S. Don't tell anyone, but I think Brett's sweet on the female lead, Miranda Otto, who lives down the road a piece from him.

As an aside, I think I've mentioned previously that I've become sensitive to and highly disturbed by Hollywood faces: the veneers-on-teeth, shiny-lipped, lollypop-figured "beauties" who appear more and more monstrous to me. Both these movies, in addition to being nice stories, were notable for having people in them who are very attractive but look like people, not Stepford Wives. More natural, more believable, less disturbing.

You should see The Dish.