A Fine Romance Friday: The Dish

Last night, I tweeted a bunch of funny, sexist, offensive, and odd nuggets from Gen’s and my research for the Fly Me to the Moon books. I Storify-ed the entire thing here in case you missed it.

On to today’s movie recommendation: The Dish, a 2000 drama directed by Rob Sitch starring Sam Neill and Patrick Warburton.

Before we get into the plot, I must warn you that this is not technically a romance.  Which is to say that there is a very small, though very sweet, romance subplot. But since my conceit with these posts is fine romances, the real romance here is with humans and the moon. What’s on that big rock in the sky? Can we get there? And what will we risk to share human exploration with the world? (And yes, I’m trying to tie it into my promo this week. Just roll with it.)

The Dish begins a few days prior to the July 1969 lunar landing. It’s set in Parkes, Australia, home to the largest satellite dish in the world. Parkes is one of the sites that’s going to help transmit the images from the moon to television sets everywhere.

The Dish is an ensemble piece, flitting from story to story: the bumbling mayor, with his devoted wife and his would-be radical daughter; the nerdy engineers and technicians who work at the dish who chafe under the oversight of the incredibly uptight engineer sent from NASA to oversee their work; and everyone else in town who can’t believe a man is going to walk on the moon and they are kind of, sort of adjacent to history.

The plot isn’t any more complicated than that. Things go wrong, and they fix them. History is achieved, and the pictures transmitted. It’s based on real events, although one major plot development is invented and I’m sure much of the rest is heavily fictionalized. But the charm of it comes in things that I can’t summarize for you: quiet conversations between friends, a fabulous late 60s soundtrack and perfect costumes, and this amazing thing that, almost 50 years later, it’s stunning that humans achieved. This isn’t an earth-shattering movie, but it’ll make you smile.

For this week’s fine romance Friday, cook up some lamb and watch The Dish.

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