The Dish

THE DISH. 2000

THE CASTLE. 1997

Director: Bob Sitch

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl



The Dish is a lighthearted Australian is set in 1969 at the time of the Apollo 11 moon landing. A radio dish in the middle of a sheep paddock in Australia is NASA's best choice for the first of a planned continuous television feed of the moon walk.

Based on historical fact, this radio dish provides an excuse for a charming tale of a small town that finds itself happily tossed into the center of history.

An effective comedy well worth viewing, The Dish features Sam Neill as the 'Bob Dobkins' type pipe-smoking professor in charge of the dish, & Patrick Warburton (who starred in the live-action version of The Tick) as the NASA representative. The whole cast keeps it all lowkey, a minor-note feel-good delight, with a 1960s soundtrack that can be more annoying than nostalgic, though it is interesting what an Aussy director thought represented the era.

The DishThere are moments when the Aussy adoration of Yankee enginuity seems a bit brown-nosing & bizarre, but the sense of their own personal significance for being part of it all is more credible. What can go wrong goes wrong but in the end, the moon walk was seen round the world, & we've a proud little town from Down Under to thank for that.

A couple years earlier Bob Sitch directed an even finer little comedy, The Castle, about an Everyman named Darryll (Michael Caton) whose family seems uncommonly attached to their crappy suburban house at the end of an airplane runway. Airport expansion means he is being forced to sell & get out. When he refuses, airplanes begin buzzing the place night & day to make life hell for Darryll's household.

Rather than cave in to the needs of so-called progress, Darryll fights them into courts, in a classic David & Goliath mode. You know going in that it's gonna work out fine for who deserves to win, so the aggravating stuff done to the family passes one by, with the comedy is strong enough to encourage out-loud laughter.

I can't in full reality fathom why anyone would so much love living under airplanes, but I nevertheless believed in the characters presented. "Quirky" is a word invented to describe this film, which is as good as lighthearted comedies ever get. It also scores very high as a "family film" which doesn't mean its a kid-flick or a film barely tolerable for adults because aimed so low. Rather, it provides a wonderfully funny portrait of a loving family whose togetherness equals more than the parts, & everyone can laugh not at them, but with them in recognition of the best bits of what it means to be a family.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl



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