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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 35.97%
Average: 7.19%
Pretty Bad: 5.76%
Total Crap: 4.32%

8 reviews, 91 user ratings

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Dish, The
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by Greg Muskewitz

"An out of Hollywood hyperbole."
3 stars

"The Dish" is a by-the-numbers historical hyperbole imported from Australia, about the broadcasting of the 1969 landing on the moon. More over, the movie has to do with the amateurs put in charge of Australia's operations, and the part that one of their satellite dishes played in the transmission. It's overall generic treatment of the unusual type of story, and the pat tools used to tell the eccentricities of the event and people are what make it so darn plain.

Australia is contracted to work along NASA in tracking the shuttle while it travels to the moon, and then to transmit the images via their dish while Neil takes his first steps. And why Australia? Because in Parkes, New South Wales, Australia, in the middle of a sheep paddock, there is a 1000-ton radio telescope, which will serve as the back-up to the primary tracking source in California.

A lot of the movie revolves around the amateurs who are in charge of the dish. There's sapiential scientist Cliff Buxton (Sam Neill), NASA "tight-wad" Al Burnett (Patrick Warburton), intimidated technician Ross Mitchell (Kevin Harrington) and girl-shy Glenn Latham (Tom Long). Naturally, there are plenty of obstacles and discrepancies they face as much of the movie is focused on the soap aspects of these characters and other happenings about the town (like the prime minister's daughter who is being crushed-on by next-door neighbor military boy) instead of the dish itself.

"The Dish" is a very cheery movie, but cheery after awhile gives way to cheesy, and so much of what is occurring with these characters is what you would expect to see on old '80s TV shows like "The Facts of Life" or "Family Ties" or "Growing Pains." I don't want you to read too deeply into the cheesiness to make it seem as if "The Dish" isn't good enough to see, because it has it's merits and educational value, but more so as a dramatized documentary. This is something you might expect to see in a history class --not quite accurate, but tweaked and patched so as to allow some entertainment value to stream in. The lack of fun or creativity is most noticed in the inclusion of the mayor's son. The little boy plays imaginatively with space toys and space ships and easily recounts actual facts, but there is nothing in "The Dish" that would show us why the boy's imagination is so piqued and why he's so enamored to that point. It doesn't allow us to feel that way either.

One of the most disappointing things was how little the dish really had to do with anything. It was the single most important thing in the movie but everything revolved around it instead of with it. For as big of a spectacle that it is, director Rob Sitch ("The Castle") doesn't give us the adequate chance to admire it. His choice is instead to make more of comedy thing with it, more of an anomalous people movie out of it. It is not a bad trait, but it is an ill-timed one because the characters are drawn so plainly. Part of the problem is that I am unable to tell if the cast is equipped enough to handle it. They perform like they were on those TV shows, over-perform really, and it just doesn't give off the realistic sense I feel they were aiming for. But relating it all back to an educational-like documentary, it is further fueled by the pastiche style of interpolating the movie itself with much of the original television footage and commentary.

Final Verdict: B-.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 04/09/01 19:02:35
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For more in the Australian series, click here.

User Comments

8/17/12 Ed Great movie about a greater event. Charming, entertaining and down to earth. 5 stars
5/27/11 yanks4oz Spot on, Matt! (Dec07) - appears reviewer too young to realize just how GIANT the Leap was! 5 stars
11/23/09 madie BORING!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
10/29/08 Jeremy I loved the soundtrack. 4 stars
10/01/08 Annie G It would have been predictable to poke fun at these people but this film does not. 4 stars
9/20/08 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
11/05/06 K3LL!3 this movie put me to sleep, i had to watch it for a skool assignment. i would rather fail 1 stars
10/23/06 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
10/11/05 brenton morely it sucks 1 stars
12/12/04 Evan Good "tribute" flick 4 stars
5/13/04 combie great, not just funny but educational,never new australia was involved 5 stars
3/17/04 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
10/22/03 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
1/18/03 chilly a great film and a great soundtrack, watch this film now its great! 5 stars
8/07/02 Kate Superbly acted 5 stars
4/03/02 A.Mcob You can only understand it if you are australian 4 stars
3/18/02 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
9/06/01 Monday Morning Very very good. Would recommend to any audience. 4 stars
9/05/01 Warren Burgess The audience actually clapped at the end - is this MN? 5 stars
8/29/01 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
6/19/01 Mike Larson It was breathtaking 5 stars
5/31/01 Peanut and Banana sandwich Warm and cosy comedy - good flick. 4 stars
5/29/01 Andy Meakin Smart, witty, fun...go see it now. 5 stars
5/26/01 sweet flick!! very feel-good 5 stars
5/25/01 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
5/22/01 Mark Albrow good,unpretententious,warm,human,true story 5 stars
5/21/01 Judy G. warm, funny, thoroughly enjoyable! 4 stars
5/01/01 Lianne Christian Fabulous 4 stars
5/01/01 Anthony Dever Sausages 5 stars
4/30/01 Allen Coupe total crap 2 stars
4/30/01 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
4/26/01 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
4/05/01 Heather Very funny movie, full of rich, interesting characters, worth looking out for! 5 stars
3/25/01 zoe really good 4 stars
3/24/01 Kyle Saw it in AU, but it is now opening in the US .... not to be missed 5 stars
3/24/01 Sara Character Driven, Quaint, Cute & Funny, Not A Nail Biter, but not meant to be. 4 stars
3/19/01 Alison Bugg Visually stunning,an Austrlian master peice of comedy that envokes the veiwers sences. 5 stars
3/19/01 J.Arcane Cosy,cosy, but not bad for an Aussie flick. 4 stars
3/13/01 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
12/10/00 marko Who needs Disney when we can do the same syrupy bullshit as this film proves. 3 stars
12/02/00 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
11/28/00 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
11/11/00 actors anonymous Better than your average fruit bowl 5 stars
11/07/00 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
11/01/00 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
10/29/00 Nancy Haire Good music and felt like the times 4 stars
10/27/00 Jodie Ozzie stereotypes were very amusing. Give Rob Stich a break, I thought he did brilliantly 5 stars
10/25/00 Go Swans best oz flick since...the castle. coincidence? 5 stars
10/23/00 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
10/20/00 matthew smith a Sheer delight, wonderful characters 5 stars
10/19/00 Jason Whittaker The best Australian film in many a year 5 stars
10/18/00 jimmy Cliche-bound, overacted, underwritten; talented team should try harder 3 stars
10/18/00 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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