May 21, 2019

The “First Man” Problem

“The moon landing was one of the most remarkable moments in human history, and yet First Man – in cinemas on Friday – manages to focuses on its more unremarkable aspects.

Whether it’s Apollo 13, Gravity or, most recently, Matt Damon “science-ing the s*** out of” sticky situations in The Martian, space movies have generally centred on the missions themselves, with the majority of the action taking place in-shuttle. So First Man director Damien Chazelle is right to want to instead focus on something else and spend more time on Earth getting to know the men and women behind the mission. But throughout the film’s 138 minutes, the message I kept receiving was probably not the one Chazelle intended: Neil Armstrong was just a regular guy.

And of course he was. Commanding a daring space mission requires keeping a cool head and making complex calculations. It’s not suited to a classic movie protagonist; there’s no room for mavericks and narcissists here. The film actually spells this out, with Armstrong undergoing psychological analysis – primitive though it was in the 1960s – at Nasa as part of his lengthy job interview.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"The biggest topic in British political circles on Monday wasn’t the country’s impending departure from the European Union. It was milkshakes..."

"I often disagree with Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., but I've been disturbed by the idea that he should be run out of the Republican Party just because he believes President Trump committed impeachable offenses."

"The Icelandic band Hatari, whose members are quite vocal in their animosity towards Israel, held up Palestinian flags... Madonna, likewise, had two of her performers wear Israeli and Palestinian flags on their costumes."

"To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" premiering at the Cannes Film Festival, I turn to movie critic Roger Ebert's old review of "Raiders of the Lost Ark." (Trust me on this one.)"

"The money is already here—and has been for years. In the midst of a housing crisis, an injection of cash into the superheated real-estate market seems likely to cause an uptick in evictions and displacement."

"Parents concerned about YouTube debate whether to let their children have their own channels; some forbid it, others send them to summer camp..."

"‘I Had Completely Lost the Knack for Staying Alive..." Warmer weather brings daffodils, rhubarb at the farmer’s market — and, for some, despair."

"With his new book, Howard Stern proves that his rightful place is among the prophets and moral visionaries, not the ‘shock jocks’"

"I’m terrified of parenting in the anti-vaxxer age: Anti-vaccine propaganda isn’t just harmful to children. It threatens to erode our entire sense of community."

"...doctors are starting to think more about specific nutrients that feed tumor cells. That is, how what we eat affects how cancers grow..."

"...it represents an impressive achievement: a victory of humankind against the chaos that pervades the universe."

"If trends continue, in 20 years the majority of the world’s Jews will be living in Israel. The United States will see a continuing decline in overall numbers, with a growing observant Jewish population..."