First Man....Four Perfect Words
By ice rivers
There's a whole lot of shakin' goin' on in First Man..... a biopic of Neil Armstrong's journey to the moon.
The film begins with shaking and every voyage is portrayed from the claustrophobic cabin of objects rockin' and rollin' through space much faster than bullets.
At the center of all this shaking is Ryan Gosling's version of Neil Armstrong.
I'm not a big fan of biopics that took place during my lifetime as I remember the events depicted as so much more exciting and breathtaking than the biopic depiction depicts them to be. I have no interest, for example, in watching Will Smith try to portray Muhammad Ali.
Biopics tend to be one big anticlimax composed of dozens of other anti-climaxes all of them presented in Kodachrome fake perfection.
First Man launches into the same problematic orbit other than the fact that Neil Armstrong kept his life so private that comparatively little is known about the guy. I always felt that Neil Armstrong was ,above and beyond everything else, a very sane person who was more interested in action than explanation. Here was a guy who transcended resilience by not only resisting failure but also by welcoming the mistakes that are bound to occur in the sloppy and dangerous environment of innovation.
Our personal resilience is a wonderful thing although it's aim is simply to get us back to where we were before the shit hit the fan. The behaviour of Armstrong personifies the quality of indomitability....the gift of getting stronger with each defeat.
The moon landing was 50 years ago. None of my "kids" are 50 yet as they range in age from 28 to 44. None of them were around for Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins. None of them were part of humanity's momentarily united trip to the moon. Watching this movie reminded me once again of what they have missed in their lifetime.
What is the equivalent for those "kids" of the moon landing. Some of them have the Challenger explosion and the airplanes crashing into World Trade Center as their rally around moments.
For all of those folks, I recommend First Man just to get another glimpse of what the heck we boomers were seeing in the wake of the Kennedy assasination and Beatlemania. Bang,yeah,yeah,boom.
Armstrong took some grief for mangling the first human words on the moon....it should have been "a small step for A man, a giant leap for mankind."
Either way it's a wonderful, very sane, very composed quotation from a human under the most solitary of conditions as he looked down upon the earth with his feet on lunar ground.
My kids may be somewhat familiar with that moment and that quote but let's not forget an earlier moment, perhaps even more significant when Armstrong after piloting the lunar module to the surface of the moon summed up this impossible accomplishment with four, perfect words:
"The Eagle has landed"