Space is the place, Americans

natalie in the sky with diamonds

Is Donald Trump president of outer space?

No? Well, then, I’d like to go there immediately. Thanks to Hollywood, we have a few options.

I enjoyed the new Natalie Portman movie, Lucy in the Sky, about a female astronaut who in observing that “space is so big and we are so tiny!” goes bonkers and, summonsing her dissipating sanity, embarks on a road trip armed with a can of spray paint. I liked the character’s journey through inner space courtesy of a wonderful actress who doesn’t seen to care what aspect ratio her director selects for filming and projection. In careening from ecstasy — finding her bliss — to the agony of coming down to earth, the whole thing could be viewed on a mythic level, and what can I say but … I related to it. I so enjoyed Portman’s extreme emotional truth in championing her character.

Natalie, nuts, without diamonds

Meanwhile on the manly, in-control front, a very cool classic-film event awaits us on Veteran’s Day (Los Angeles-style). It’s a screening of The Right Stuff (1983) to take place at the recently refurb’ed movie house at the Hollywood American Legion Post #43, where there is nary a bad seat due to a screen raised on high.

Philip Kaufman directs an A-level cast of Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Barbara Hershey, Dennis Quaid, Fred Ward and Jeff Goldblum in the film based on Tom Wolfe’s book chronicling the exciting early years of the United States’ race to conquer the final frontier, and the daredevil test pilots who became the first Americans in space. 

[On a personal note, my father, Mike Levine (1923 – 1998), covered the space program at (then) Cape Canaveral as a news reporter for KDKA radio in Pittsburgh; how I wish he could attend with me! Some of my father’s reporting from 1961 is uploaded here.]

A conversation with director Philip Kaufman, prior to The Right Stuff, begins at 7 pm, moderated by author Alan Rode.

The Right Stuff | American Cinematheque @ Hollywood American Legion Post 43 | Veteran’s Day

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