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Moon Shot (1994)
Great piece of history...
With a lot of great humor. Moon Shot covers the U.S. space program from the Mercury days through Apollo/Soyuz, as told by former astronaut Deke Slayton (voiced by Barry Corbin). The humor comes from anecdotes from several of the original astronauts, including John Glenn, who, talking about the mysterious "fireflies" that appeared during his space mission, said that one of the psychiatrists asked him, "And, what did they SAY, John?" Alan Shepard later said, "Those fireflies weren't fireflies at all....they were the constellation URION (Urine)."
Or another example: Frank Borman, talking about his Gemini 12 flight with Jim Lovell, says, "There was a song by Nat King Cole.." And Lovell comes on, and says, " 'Put Your Sweet Lips a Little Closer to The Phone,' by Nat King Cole." They then alternate verses, and Lovell finally says, "And that went on for two weeks. And of course, Frank & I were alone." Or the debate about who would be the first man to step on the moon - Armstrong, or Aldrin. As "Deke," Barry Corbin, put it: "It came down to tradition, and tradition says the commander always goes first. Besides, Neil was closest to the door!"
One of the most poignant lines comes from Alan Shepard, when he describes what his father told him after his Apollo 14 mission: "My father said, 'Do you remember when you called us, back in 1959, and said that you were going to be an astronaut'? I said, 'Yessir.' He said, 'Do you remember what I said?' I said, 'Yessir. You were not in favor of it.' And he raised his glass and said...'I was wrong.' And that's all he had to say."
This video belongs in the library of anyone who is in any way interested in history and the early U.S. space program.
The Sum of All Fears (2002)
I'm surprised Clancy allowed this much leeway...
Between his book and the movie version of Sum of All Fears. There were numerous differences between the two such as: **MAJOR SPOILERS**
1) In the book, Ryan is married w/children. In the movie, he and Caroline are dating.
2) In the book, President Fowler is sleeping with his National Security Advisor, Liz Elliot. In the movie, Elliot is never even mentioned.
3) In the book, Ryan resigns from CIA after averting a nuclear war.
4, and probably most obvious) In the book, the terrorists are Arabs. The movie casts them as neo-fascist Nazi sympathizers, so as not to stereotype after 9/11, which is understandable.
5) There is no mention of the Russians attacking one of our carriers in the novel, but it is carried out during the film.
There are others, but these are the most flagrant. However, I have to admit that the movie still kept me on the edge of my seat for over two hours. Clancy purists (like me) will nitpick the differences between the film and novel to death, but anyone who enjoys a good spy/action thriller will not be let down by this movie.
Brian's Song (2001)
Comparing this to the original is like apples & oranges..
Because they're so different. James Caan and Billy Dee Williams WERE Pic & Gale. These two new guys, well, they just don't cut it. It'd be like re-casting "Star Trek" with total unknowns as the Enterprise bridge crew. Oh, wait. That already happened, and IT actually worked. This remake, however, didn't.
The main reason the original "Brian's Song" was so good was the way that Billy Dee Williams (Sayers) & James Caan (Pic) interacted, with Pic bouncing racist remarks off Gale left & right. This new, PC version waters the racism down almost to the point of non-existence.
Also, scenes that made the original so funny were completely omitted; for example, early in the film, the Piccolos & Sayers were at a pizza parlor, & Brian described a play gone wrong, ending with, "So, anyway, all the linemen go this way, and it's like I am lookin' at a team portrait of the Los Angeles Rams....Hey, Deacon! Merlin? How's the family, Rosie?" Then Gale pipes up, "It's like, I'm roomin' with a colored player again!" Again, I'm sure this scene was omitted due to its racial undertones, but it took away from the humor of the film.
I found this new version to be much darker, focussing more on Brian's illness and the consequences than on the relationship between he & Gale Sayers, which was the main thing that made the original so special. If you can find the original on VHS or DVD, get it. But, stay away from the remake.