Academy Award-nominee Jake Gyllenhaal is a teenaged boy who has but one future in sight: to work in the West Virginia coal mines with his father (Oscar-winner Chris Cooper). But, with the launching of the Sputnik satellite in 1957, Homer becomes determined to learn all he can about rockets. With the support of a teacher (Oscar-nominee Laura Dern) and hopes for a science fair college scholarship prize, Homer and his friends set out to build their own rocket against the wishes of the town's community. Rich characters, well-drawn performances, and an old-fashioned sense of can-do spirit make Oscar-winner Joe Johnston's film an endearing tribute to the American dream. Based on a true story.

  • 1 hr 48 minPGHDSD
  • Feb 19, 1999
  • Drama

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Cast & Crew

  • Chris CooperActor

    Christopher Walton Cooper was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to Mary Ann (Walton), a homemaker, and Charles Sherwood Cooper, a cattleman and internist who served as a doctor in the US Air Force. His parents were from Texas, where Cooper was raised. Educated at the University of Missouri school of drama, Cooper appeared on Broadway in "Of the Fields Lately (1980)", and off-Broadway in "The Ballad of Soapy Smith (1983)" and "A Different Moon (1983)". He debuted in films in the John Sayles movie Matewan (1987). Although his performance was well received, the picture was not successful. Other films he has appeared in include Guilty by Suspicion (1991), Money Train (1995) and A Time to Kill (1996). On television, Cooper has been featured in the mini-series Lonesome Dove (1989) and Return to Lonesome Dove (1993), as July Johnson. He has also appeared in a number of television movies. In 1996, he starred in his third John Sayles movie, Lone Star (1996), where he plays Sam Deeds, the sheriff whose lawman father becomes a posthumous suspect in a murder investigation. Cooper married actress/producer/scriptwriter Marianne Leone on July 8, 1983. They have one child, a son Jesse, who died on January 3, 2005 at the age of 17, of natural causes related to cerebral palsy. Jesse Cooper inspired his mother to author the script for the film "Conquistadora." It relates the true story of Mary Somoza, the mother of twins with cerebral palsy, who fought the educational system to provide the best education possible for her children.
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  • Jake GyllenhaalActor

    Jacob Benjamin Gyllenhaal was born in Los Angeles, California, to producer/screenwriter Naomi Foner (née Achs) and director Stephen Gyllenhaal. He is the brother of actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, who played his sister in Donnie Darko (2001). His godmother is actress Jamie Lee Curtis. His mother is from a Jewish family, and his father's ancestry includes Swedish, English and Swiss-German. At the age of eleven, Gyllenhaal made his movie debut in the comedy-drama City Slickers (1991), playing Billy Crystal's character's son. He made an impact in various films in the late 1990s and early 2000s, in films such as the period drama October Sky (1999), his breakthrough performance, and as the title role in the psychological thriller Donnie Darko (2001), for which he received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Actor, playing a psychologically troubled teenager. He followed this with roles encompassing many different genres, including the comedy film, the Disney romantic comedy Bubble Boy (2001); opposite Jennifer Aniston in another Sundance favorite, The Good Girl (2002), as a young man grieving the death of his fiancée in Moonlight Mile (2002), and in the science fiction blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow (2004), portraying a student caught in a cataclysmic climate event, opposite Dennis Quaid. Making his theater debut, Gyllenhaal appeared on the London stage with a starring role in Kenneth Lonergan's revival of "This Is Our Youth". The play was widely-received and played for eight weeks in London's West End. Gyllenhaal followed his successful theater en devour with a role in Jarhead (2005), playing Anthony "Swoff" Swofford, an aggressive and masculine but equally vulnerable and sensitive Marine during the Gulf War, and Proof (2005), as Gwyneth Paltrow's love interest. However, it was his follow-up performance that won critical acclaim in Brokeback Mountain (2005), in which he co-starred with Australian actor Heath Ledger, as sheep herders who fall in love in the 1960s and depicts their relationship over the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s. For his role as Jack Twist, Gyllenhaal received critical acclaim and won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and was nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role, the Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture, and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Since then, he has acted in a wide range of movies, ranging from the critically-acclaimed thriller, Zodiac (2007), the drama Brothers (2009), playing opposite Tobey Maguire as the title siblings, in the action adventure film, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010), sporting a bulked-up physique, and the box office hit, Love & Other Drugs (2010), in which he teamed up with Anne Hathaway, once again, and for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. In the 2010s, Gyllenhaal starred in several major films for which he received significant critical acclaim: science fiction thriller Source Code (2011), police drama End of Watch (2012), mystery Prisoners (2013), dark media satire Nightcrawler (2014), the boxing drama Southpaw (2015), and the dramedy Demolition (2015). For Nightcrawler, he was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama, the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role, and the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Gyllenhaal is the godfather of Matilda Ledger (aka Matilda Rose Ledger), daughter of the late actor Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams. Gyllenhaal's most significant personal relationships have been with actresses Kirsten Dunst and Reese Witherspoon. He is friends with Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, having known him since kindergarten. He is good friends with his sister's husband and Jarhead (2005) co-star, actor Peter Sarsgaard.
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  • Laura DernActor

    Laura Dern was born on February 10, 1967 in Los Angeles, the daughter of actors Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd. Dern was exposed to movie sets and the movie industry from infancy, and obtained several bit parts as a child. Her parents divorced when Dern was two and Dern lost contact with her father for several years as a result. Her parents' background and her own early taste of the moviemaking world soon convinced the young Dern to pursue acting herself. Like so many young actors, her decision may have been influenced by social awkwardness -- the child of 60s counterculture parents, she was steeped in Eastern mysticism and political radicalism, and was seen as an oddball by her more conservative classmates. Her gawky physical appearance didn't help - even before her teens, she had achieved most of her impressive 5' 10" height, was rail-skinny (other than precociously wide hips), had huge feet and a slouching posture, and for all this was often teased by classmates. Perhaps the nine-year-old Dern found refuge by studying acting at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute. The first success for the young Dern came in 1980, with a role in Adrian Lyne's Foxes (1980), a teen movie starring Jodie Foster. She followed this with several small parts, or parts in small movies, such as Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains (1982) and Teachers (1984), as a student who has an affair with a teacher. (Her mother objected to her active presence on movie sets at age thirteen, which required Dern to sue for emancipation so she could play her role in "The Fabulous Stains"). Her next roles, as the blind girl who befriends the deformed boy in Mask (1985), and as a teenaged girl whose sexual awakening collides with a mysterious older man in Smooth Talk (1985), gave her career an important boost. Dern appeared to have made it with a leading role in David Lynch's acclaimed Blue Velvet (1986), but it was four years before her next notable film, and this was the bizarre Wild at Heart (1990), also directed by Lynch. The following year, Dern starred in Rambling Rose (1991), which would become her signature performance, as a sexually-precocious, free-spirited young housemaid in the South in the 1930s. Dern earned an Oscar nomination for her performance, and so did her mother and co-star, Diane Ladd. Dern continues to win prominent roles on the big screen, often in smaller, highly-regarded human dramas such as October Sky (1999), I Am Sam (2001) and We Don't Live Here Anymore (2004), although she is perhaps most widely known for her repeat role as Ellie Sattler in the summer adventure movies Jurassic Park (1993) and Jurassic Park III (2001), or for her guest performance on Ellen (1994), as the woman to whom Ellen finally comes out as a lesbian. Dern's pre-teen gawkiness matured into lithe beauty, but this doesn't prevent Dern from fearlessly throwing herself into a wide variety of roles which are sometimes unflattering, an excellent example being her unflinchingly comic portrayal of an intensely annoying loser whose pregnancy becomes a social and political football in Citizen Ruth (1996). This results in Dern being one of the most interesting actors working in Hollywood today. Having previously dated such Hollywood talent as Treat Williams, Renny Harlin, Kyle MacLachlan, Jeff Goldblum and Billy Bob Thornton, Dern eventually married musician Ben Harper in 2005. Early in her career, Dern was roommate to Marianne Williamson, the spirituality guru. Dern attended two days of college at UCLA and one semester at USC.
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  • WILLIAM LEE SCOTTActor

  • CHAD LINDBERGActor

  • CHRISTOPHER BOWENActor