Watch This DVD: October Sky
Progatonist (and book author) Homer Hickam is played by pre-Brokeback Mountain Jakey Gyllenhaal whose disapproving father (played by Chris Cooper) is the manager of the coal mine that dominates the economy of their town. Homer has to overcome the normal teenage problems of comparisons to his brother, impressing the girl he likes, and scrounging enough money to supply his hobby. Plus, he and his buddies blow a lot of stuff up.
I don't have anywhere near the chemistry background or know enough about aerodynamics to know how realistic the progression of rockets is, but it the actual Homer Hickam (who eventually became an engineer for NASA after going to Virginia Tech) was a technical adviser and it all seemed reasonable to me. In the end, a whole bunch of people help the group out (including the disapproving father) when a key part is stolen and everything is happy. It's a moving story about overcoming adversity with enough science to keep it interesting throughout.
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