‘First Man’ anticipation thread

First Man — the Neil Armstrong biopic, directed by Damien Chazelle. Its release date is 12 October, just 6 weeks away.

I saw the trailer on TV 6 months ago and have been eagerly anticipating it since then. Anyone else interested? I haven’t seen any of Damien Chazelle‘s films yet, so this’ll be my first. It looks pretty good, and the reviews so far are mostly positive.

I’m very excited about this movie. There’s 2 trailers out now and both look very good. I read this book years ago and was struck by just how “cool” and professional Neil Armstrong was. I love the Space program and am always excited to see smart and brave people solving complicated problems. I’m not so excited about seeing the moon hoax people in comments and reviews but oh well - hopefully this will show a few the scale of what we as a nation were able to achieve, and all the work and risks that went with it.

The moon hoax people have interesting points of views. I find them mildly entertaining and, really, these 2 statements right here are probably the most brain cycles I’ve spent on them.

Cool and professional — I like to believe that the NASA powers-that-were observed and measured this characteristic in all the potential astronauts who could’ve been first and, knowing that a successful mission would change the chosen’s life forever, weighed that into the selection that became Armstrong. After competence, hopefully.

That’s probably what happened but that’s a guess on my part. I haven’t looked it up.

Note: Not to be confused with the upcoming Hulu series The First starring Sean Penn about the first people on Mars.

Looking forward to this. I have the hardback 1st edition of First Man (I assume this film is based on the book) and it’s the most aesthetically pleasing book in my book case. The content is great too - he always was, and always remained a passionate lover of aviation. The space bit was what everyone wanted to talk to him about after the moon landings but it seems he’d be much more interested to chat about planes. I wonder if the movie will reflect that?

I sincerely hope that the movie isn’t some ahistorical retconned mess. Aside from the flap over not showing the flag being planted, early reviews suggest that Buzz Aldrin is depicted as an obnoxious blow-hard high on himself who cared about personal glory over the mission, and other than that is barely seen in the movie.

In fact, Aldrin was the academic with a Ph.D in orbital mechanics. There was a dispute about who should step on the moon first, but it was resolved quickly.

Although I am looking forward to seeing it, I am not looking forward to the inevitable overly sentimental ending. Nobody does sickening sentimentality like Hollywood film Producers when they’re are depicting American heroes.

I was in middle school during this time, and Neil Armstrong was a hero, but an aloof inaccessible one. I considered writing a fan letter to him, but from what I saw in newspapers (remember it was 1969) he would not answer such mail. I still thought he was a cool person, and that he selected for the honor because of his unique problem solving and piloting skills.

Then just today, I got the weekly email from the Planetary Society, This Week in Space, where a brief link talked about the 1970 decision to cancel remaining Apollo missiongs. This Wikipedia article claimed

So huh, God did not select Neil Armstrong, in spite of everything I learned in my childhood.

In a slightly different world, we’d have a movie about Pete Conrad. I’m still excited about the movie, but now I’ll see it with a more critical eye. Did they cover the crew shift in the book (and in the movie)?

There were many changes to crew assignments during the space race. A number of astronauts were killed (Elliott See, Charles Bassett, Joe Walker, Grissom Young and Chaffee, Ivan Kinchloe, a few others). I believe Gus Grissom might have been the Apollo 11 commander had he not been killed in the Apollo 1 fire. Unlike his depiction in The Right Stuff, Grissom was highly respected for his abilities.

That said, Armstrong was an obvious candidate for that job anyway. A test pilot who survived flying the X-15, with a reputation for calm courage under fire and a steady demeanor who would not embarass the nation or the agency after he became what was expected to be the most famous man on Earth.

Crazy to think that in 1972 after 12 men had walked on the moon that if you asked someone back then “What do you think that number will be in 2018?” the answer would still be 12.

As I recall from an Aldrin autobiography, Aldrin asked Armstrong to let him out first, and Armstrong said, “Hell, no.”

From what I have read, Armstrong just wasn’t interested in the question and wouldn’t talk about it, and finally Buzz went to Deke Slayton and asked him for a ruling. Slayton got back to him and said it would be Armstrong for two simple reasons - he was commander, and he was closest to the hatch and there wasn’t a lot of room.

Once the decision came down, from what I heard Buzz didn’t mention it again. If he asked Armstrong on the moon, it would have been as a joke. There was no way they could make such a huge change in procedure. Every second on the moon was choreographed and trained for. Astronauts had their careers destroyed for far less.

Aldrin claims that he argued to be the first one out because he knew that it was going to be of supreme importance to the world, and that Armstrong only cared about doing the job and had no interest in being an ambassador for space. And that turned out to be true. Armstrong was famously private and generally refused interviews and appearances.

It’s hard to say if having a more outgoing, easy-speaking ‘first man’ might have helped keep NASA funded at least through Apollo 20, but I doubt it. The pressure to end the program started almost immediately after Apollo 11, and by Apollo 12 the media was already tuning it out.

My guess is that Buzz was pissed that Armstrong didn’t seem to care about such a momentous place in History and Buzz did, so he felt it natural that they should switch. But once the order came down, Buzz saluted and did what he was told in a professional and excellent manner.

I think that, of all the moon walkers, that Pete Conrad is my favorite. A more irreverent SOB never lived.

He died at the age of 69 from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident? I just looked it up. I had forgotten that.

His first words while on the moon were “Man, that may have been a small one for Neil, but that’s a long one for me." (Conrad was only 5 feet 6 inches tall)

But that was after the long step from the LEM ladder down to the LEM’s landing pad. He then stepped out onto the lunar surface, where his first words there were, “Oooh, is that soft and queasy.”

That’s pretty irreverent.

It has opened. Anyone seen it yet? Impressions?

Seen it. Sorry to say I did not find it successful as a movie.

A number of choices of the film maker came off as trying too hard to make their point, rather than letting the action and characters tell the story.

I’ll start off by saying I was a huge space program nerd as a kid. Now that I think about it, I sorta get the whole Star Wars nerd thing. The difference for my generation was we had actual real life space travel and heros to be nerdy about, not fictional ones. But that is a discussion for another time. So, anyway, that is to say I was very interested in seeing this.

I couldn’t buy Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong. To me I couldn’t get over his “lover boy” persona, he just doesn’t carry the middle America strong silent type male for me. He played the part, as an acting job, he was stoic as all get out, but it still looked like acting to me. Part of the problem of playing someone who “doesn’t let people in” is that it makes it hard for the audience to be “let in” with the character. All of the intimate closeups of his blank face just didn’t hook me.

It was almost as if the “A” story in the movie was the Armstrong marriage relationship and the impact of the loss of their child (and friends), while the “B” story was the space program stuff. The result ended up being a very sad/downer experience. We didn’t get to have any highs from his accomplishments, instead it felt like “Oh, I’m depressed, here I am stepping on the moon. Boo hoo, I miss my daughter.” Yikes.

Also, every flight sequence was all shaky noisy rattly for long periods. I get that this is probably accurate historically, and was meant to portray the dangers, but as film making it didn’t serve to build the necessary tension (followed by a release). The dialog (what there was of it) often didn’t come through in these scenes, which is just kinda annoying.

Would I recommend it? Hmmmmmmmm…

Looking forward to it, esp. on the big screen, although Ryan Gosling bears very little resemblance to Neil Armstrong other than being a bipedal white male.

Glad to see JFK getting his due in this trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVowQ4LgwLk

I just saw it in real IMAX (Lincoln Square NYC) and wow those 1.43 IMAX scenes are breathtaking!! If you have a real IMAX with laser, definitely see it in that format!

Haven’t caught it yet, but will. I’m still something of a space buff and as it relates to that I’ve got a collection of astronaut auto/biographies. Maybe a couple dozen, of which eight are signed/autographed. Sure most of those are from the more contemporary program, but three are M-G-A era. (Mercury, Gemini, Apollo.) All were picked up at used bookstore or library sales.