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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 35.97%
Just Average: 7.19%
Pretty Crappy: 5.76%
Sucks: 4.32%

8 reviews, 91 user ratings

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Dish, The
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by EricDSnider

"Charmingly old-fashioned film with quaint good humor"
4 stars

Unknown to most people, the tiny Australian hamlet of Parkes played a significant role in the 1969 moon landing. Parkes, you see, was home to the largest radio telescope in the southern hemisphere, and one of the most powerful in the world. NASA could communicate with Apollo 11 when the U.S. side of the Earth was facing the moon; they needed Australia to help out the other half of the time.

That's the basis for "The Dish," a charmingly old-fashioned film that follows the true-life story of Parkes and its huge radio telescope.

Sam Neill is Cliff Buxton, the man in charge of operations at the dish. His right-hand men are argumentative Mitch (Kevin Harrington) and simple-minded young Glenn (Tom Long). NASA sends one of its own guys, Al Burnett (Patrick Warburton), to supervise things, which rankles Mitch despite Cliff's insistence Al is just doing his job and doesn't mean to be so uptight.

The town, needless to say, is agog over its involvement with the moon landing. Mayor Bob McIntyre (Roy Billing) leads everyone in civic pride, while shmoozing a U.S. ambassador (John McMartin) and waiting for a visit from the prime minister (Bille Brown).

The film has only two real conflicts, plot-wise. First, a power outage causes the Australians to lose contact with Apollo 11 during the time they're supposed to be babysitting it. Second, high winds threaten to topple the massive telescope during the actual moon walk.

It is somewhat disappointing that nothing more than that occurs, and that these complications are handled without ever becoming real nail-biters; it's almost as if they go on in the background, with the mildly nutty Parkes characters taking center stage.

From a historical standpoint, if there were no serious dramas, I'm glad the filmmakers didn't make some up; from an audience standpoint, if there were no serious dramas, then why make a movie about it?

Here's why: The characters. Movies like "Waking Ned Devine," "Saving Grace" and the recent "Chocolat" threaten to make us grow tired of small-town characters in non-American settings, but their welcome has not been worn out quite yet. The folks in Parkes are daft but not crazy; endearing but not pitiable.

The movie, more quaint than funny, celebrates old-fashioned values and patriotism. There is no sex or nudity -- in fact, there's nothing even close to it. Stammering Glenn tries to work up the guts to ask pretty Janine (Eliza Szonert) on a date, and an eager neighbor boy keeps pestering the mayor's daughter. That's as far as it goes. You'd expect either couple to walk to the soda fountain and have a malt, then maybe sit on a porch swing for a few hours.

That attitude blends nicely with the moon landing itself, which of course is one of the greatest symbols we have of old-fashioned achievement, courage and strength. Director Rob Sitch wisely lets the moon walk speak for itself, showing the actual footage and audio feed with very little creative embellishment. It is in those final moments, when the goal is met and all the world swells with pride, that "The Dish" makes up for its previous dalliances and shortcomings.

Re-living that experience -- or seeing it for the first time -- is enough to make anyone's spirits soar. And a movie that makes your spirits soar is a good movie.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=4390&reviewer=247
originally posted: 03/12/01 01:39:09
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For more in the Australian series, click here.

User Comments

8/16/12 Ed Great movie about a greater event. Charming, entertaining and down to earth. 5 stars
5/26/11 yanks4oz Spot on, Matt! (Dec07) - appears reviewer too young to realize just how GIANT the Leap was! 5 stars
11/22/09 madie BORING!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
10/29/08 Jeremy I loved the soundtrack. 4 stars
9/30/08 Annie G It would have been predictable to poke fun at these people but this film does not. 4 stars
9/19/08 Lottie Holmes Wonderful movie! Loved the telescope and story line. Don't miss this one! 5 stars
3/21/08 frances sawyer rarely a factual movie presented so entertainly 5 stars
12/04/07 Matt Charming, witty and fun - with a groovy soundtrack. A rare gem. 5 stars
8/11/07 D.Earnest watched on a whim & was astonished & delighted 5 stars
2/04/07 Warren Absolutley the best movie. Authentic and very funny 5 stars
11/04/06 K3LL!3 this movie put me to sleep, i had to watch it for a skool assignment. i would rather fail 1 stars
10/22/06 Random great. That's all 5 stars
5/07/06 chienne Loved it, soundtrack, 60's feel & genuinely hilarious moments 5 stars
12/31/05 Peter Harding Fantastic movie 5 stars
10/26/05 cdgffg great 5 stars
10/10/05 brenton morely it sucks 1 stars
12/11/04 Evan Good "tribute" flick 4 stars
5/12/04 combie great, not just funny but educational,never new australia was involved 5 stars
3/16/04 Jaimi I think it is an inspirational movie 4 stars
2/26/04 sprout fun to watch 4 stars
1/07/04 Amba Very good, enjoyable to watch 5 stars
10/21/03 Stephen Hon This review is really disappointing. U contradict urself. I've seen betta. 5 stars
10/20/03 Samuel Sungkook Lee An Inspiring, heartwarming film with a plethora of cleverly thought out comedy. Excellent! 5 stars
1/17/03 chilly a great film and a great soundtrack, watch this film now its great! 5 stars
8/07/02 Kate Superbly acted 5 stars
4/02/02 A.Mcob You can only understand it if you are australian 4 stars
3/17/02 SJKelley A real treat. A confident piece of moviemaking with good performances. 4 stars
10/04/01 George Partington Sweet, lovingly rendered evocation of a period (late 60s) and an event. Full of warmth. 5 stars
9/07/01 darrin perrone heart warming,comedy/drama a movie with heart 5 stars
9/05/01 Monday Morning Very very good. Would recommend to any audience. 4 stars
9/04/01 Warren Burgess The audience actually clapped at the end - is this MN? 5 stars
8/28/01 Gary Very funny and refreshingly low-key and warming, without being sickly and sentimental. 4 stars
8/20/01 rudy great movie! sam neill is a great actor. 5 stars
6/18/01 Mike Larson It was breathtaking 5 stars
5/31/01 Peanut and Banana sandwich Warm and cosy comedy - good flick. 4 stars
5/28/01 Andy Meakin Smart, witty, fun...go see it now. 5 stars
5/25/01 groovekitten.com sweet flick!! very feel-good 5 stars
5/24/01 Matthew Bartley The kind of film that makes you go 'Ah,bless...' Sweet flick 4 stars
5/22/01 sense of humor ligthen up, Steve G. - this isn't a PBS documentary 5 stars
5/21/01 Mark Albrow good,unpretententious,warm,human,true story 5 stars
5/21/01 Judy G. warm, funny, thoroughly enjoyable! 4 stars
4/30/01 Lianne Christian Fabulous 4 stars
4/30/01 Anthony Dever Sausages 5 stars
4/29/01 Allen Coupe total crap 2 stars
4/29/01 Trevor Langdon see it!! 4 stars
4/29/01 t.r. great characters, inspiring story, good laughs, fun nostalgia 5 stars
4/27/01 Steve Emery Excellent - very entertaining 5 stars
4/25/01 Billabongchic Finally, something different instead of the boring, fake, useless films of Hollywood. 5 stars
4/23/01 DishWasher Excellent 5 stars
4/20/01 Matt GO YOU BIG RED FIRE ENGINE 5 stars
4/18/01 A Real NASA Rocket Scientist This flick tells it like it is - wonderful, terrifying. That's what my job is like! 5 stars
4/08/01 Lord Raymos Nice, funny, entertaining, but overly cute like 3 stars
4/04/01 Heather Very funny movie, full of rich, interesting characters, worth looking out for! 5 stars
3/25/01 zoe really good 4 stars
3/23/01 Kyle Saw it in AU, but it is now opening in the US .... not to be missed 5 stars
3/23/01 Sara Character Driven, Quaint, Cute & Funny, Not A Nail Biter, but not meant to be. 4 stars
3/18/01 Alison Bugg Visually stunning,an Austrlian master peice of comedy that envokes the veiwers sences. 5 stars
3/18/01 J.Arcane Cosy,cosy, but not bad for an Aussie flick. 4 stars
3/12/01 Nathan Cherny A well told tale augmented by well timed humor pathos and humanity... thoroughly enjoyed 4 stars
12/13/00 Laron I was going to write out quite a bit but it doesn't seem to fit... in here.. so this will h 5 stars
12/09/00 marko Who needs Disney when we can do the same syrupy bullshit as this film proves. 3 stars
12/01/00 Wendy Buttel Dull as all hell . If it wasnt by Working Dog we wouldnt have heard of it 2 stars
11/28/00 cathy rolland thoroughly enjoyable - brought back lots of memories. I thought the characters were great. 4 stars
11/27/00 Clint Rolfe This film rocks - who's the wanker above who did that review, God I hope you die! 5 stars
11/20/00 Mic Sitch does it again. 4 stars
11/12/00 Adam T Movies about stuffups are allways the best. 5 stars
11/11/00 Aiken Drum Tops 5 stars
11/10/00 actors anonymous Better than your average fruit bowl 5 stars
11/06/00 Steve Gilbert This film has no entertainment value whatsoever 1 stars
11/05/00 John Bamford the sub plotsa do go nowhere but i think they show the down to earthness of the characters 4 stars
10/31/00 Michael S Simple story, told so that it feels great. More inspiring than hilarious though... 5 stars
10/29/00 Fred Nerk Good. 5 stars
10/29/00 steve Great movie, but will it make it in America? 5 stars
10/28/00 Nancy Haire Good music and felt like the times 4 stars
10/26/00 Jodie Ozzie stereotypes were very amusing. Give Rob Stich a break, I thought he did brilliantly 5 stars
10/24/00 Go Swans best oz flick since...the castle. coincidence? 5 stars
10/22/00 neil bartlett very clever witty comedy full of belly laughs Why didn't they enter it for AFI awards? 5 stars
10/22/00 sean allen I wish it wasn't directed by Sitch 5 stars
10/22/00 Viking A bit slow at times, but overall a great effort 4 stars
10/19/00 matthew smith a Sheer delight, wonderful characters 5 stars
10/18/00 Jason Whittaker The best Australian film in many a year 5 stars
10/17/00 jimmy Cliche-bound, overacted, underwritten; talented team should try harder 3 stars
10/17/00 Klute. A fine Australian movie that will play to all audiences. Great fun, great flick. 4 stars
10/17/00 DjWrexxy OLD TIMER TOTAL BULLSHIT 1 stars
10/15/00 Psike Solid cast and background of the lunar landing make this one worthwhile. 4 stars
9/04/00 Waldo A great cast and a great story. Even better than The Castle. 5 stars
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  27-Apr-2001 (PG-13)


  19-Oct-2000 (M)

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