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50 Years After ‘One Giant Leap,’ We Must Take ‘One Small Step’ Towards the Next Moonshot

July 20, 1969: Following a decades-long pursuit of monetary and intellectual energy for a once-in-a-lifetime moment of unrivaled ingenuity, coupled with the bravery of astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins, the United States successfully landed a man (well, three men) on the moon.

“That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Still an astonishing achievement 50 years later.

As part of the celebration and necessary reminder of that historic journey into the ever-expansive and unforgiving darkness of space, let’s recall the presidential charge given by John F. Kennedy back in 1962.

Interestingly, my parents attended the “JFK Space Summit” at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum on June 19, 2019. One of the panels, “NASA: From the Moon to Mars 7 Beyond” featured Apollo 11 Lunar Command Module pilot Michael Collins. Moreover, Douglas Brinkley signed copies of his new book American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race. My parents bought one of those signed books, which they will hopefully allow me to borrow so I can learn in-depth facts of that amazing journey as chronicled by a New York Times bestselling author.

Listening to President Kennedy’s unambiguous message to Americans is still an astonishingly ambitious — and uniquely American — declaration more than 50 years later.

While there is a long list of awe-inspiring films made about space with a certain reliance on realism– ‘2001: A Space Odyssey,’ ‘Interstellar,’ ‘Gravity,’ ‘Apollo 13,’ ‘The Right Stuff’ — the documentaries and based-on-real-events’ film ‘First Man’ about the famed Apollo 11 mission take on a different gravity of storytelling.

CNN’s ‘Apollo 11’ documentary along with the July 12th-release of the documentary ‘Armstrong’ that is narrated by the quintessentially rebellious American voice of Harrison Ford celebrates and takes us back to how that triumphant mission came together for this country as well as mankind.

Here is the trailer for ‘Armstrong.’

According to reviews, ‘Armstrong’ does not live up to fellow 2019 documentary ‘Apollo 11’ or the major motion picture ‘First Man’ yet it still provides insights into the man who seemed destined to help perform the moonshot of all moonshots.

On that note, what will be America’s next “moonshot”?

There will be no shortage of ideas in the coming week as we celebrate the Apollo 11 mission that was a giant leap 50 years ago, forever holding a unique space in human history.

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The Sounds of Space Aren’t Silent

What did space sound like in 1969? ‘First Man’ composer Justin Hurwitz thinks he knows…

With ‘First Man’ in theaters, the highly-anticipated cinematic adventure that chronicles the Appollo 11 mission to the moon, has been receiving rave reviews. Perhaps this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering the same director, lead actor and composer from the smash hit ‘La La Land’–Damien Chazelle, Ryan Gosling and Justin Hurwitz–have returned to showcase the epic story–with new sub-stories–from this groundbreaking moment (well, decade) that changed human history forever.

Speaking of ‘La La Land’ and composer Justin Hurwitz, the soundtrack of a film is a powerful force and can even define the movie itself. We all know music’s starring role in ‘La La Land.’ With any other music, movies wouldn’t be the same. The same story, feeling, and impact of a spectacular soundtrack would not be projected onto the silver screen and then into our imaginations.

While I will be seeing ‘First Man’ in the very near future, it’s now commonplace for major studios to release a couple songs early. In doing so, it surely gets fans excited. But it also provides a glimpse into the heartbeat of a movie. Since Jimmy’s Daily Planet is a spoiler-free blog, I’ve purposely chosen a non-essential song from the soundtrack.

But it’s a fascinating sneak peek sneak listen nonetheless.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you “Contingency Statement” by Justin Hurwitz from the ‘First Man’ soundtrack.

Eerie and unfamiliar yet hypnotizing.

Just like space.

That Famous Moon Shot

The United States won the “space race” against the Soviets on July 20, 1969. This long, dedicated pursuit and historic flight to space–through the lens of Neil Armstrong–is the focus of the film ‘First Man.’

Seems straightforward, right?

And yet there has been controversy recently surrounding the forthcoming film ‘First Man’ because there isn’t a scene that depicts the American flag literally being planted on the moon. While I will withhold final judgment until after seeing this movie, it seems like a bad call by a director–Damien Chazelle–who has made so many right calls in his young, burgeoning filmmaking career.

Without getting into the weeds here, the moon landing was an American achievement that inspired this country and the world.

That’s just reality.

Another reality is that the third trailer for ‘First Man’ is the best one yet.

Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon, but he did so with the help and support of an entire nation back on earth.

That fact can’t be omitted from history.

‘First Man’ Gets a Second Loop

‘First Man’ will not have a surprise ending–though conspiracy theorists may buy tickets just in case–yet the forthcoming film starring Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy looks every bit as engaging as the real events involving America’s successful landing on the moon back on July 20, 1969.

In preparation for the launch of the Damien Chazelle-directed movie that opens in theaters on October 12 (including IMAX), Universal Pictures premiered the second official trailer for ‘First Man’ today.

Seeing ‘First Man’ on the biggest screen possible will serve as a great reminder of what that risky, inspirational mission represented for our world nearly 50 years ago.