"Somethings you never forget..."

I don’t know how I missed a new Richard Linklater film last April when it debuted on Netflix, but I did. I’m glad I watched APOLLO 10 1/2, which should get a Best Animated Feature nomination at the Oscars, but won’t due to a lame technicality.

Linklater is a top-ten director for me. The self-taught director seamlessly goes from making character-driven independent dramas (BOYHOOD, the BEFORE SUNRISE trilogy), to animated classics that explore our existence (WAKING LIFE), to mainstream classics (SCHOOL OF ROCK). With his latest, APOLLO 10 1/2, he captures adolescence and nostalgia, mixing it with space travel in an animated tale that had me remembering my childhood. 

Yet, what makes this animated feature a classic is its willingness to diverge from its main space travel storyline and go down random memories of Stan’s (Jack Black) childhood. Those memories include money-saving techniques, drive-ins, injuries, DARK SHADOWS, and many more. 

By making this movie animated, Linklater’s film feels like we are experiencing these memories as they are part of our childhood and not just based on his. The best memories he shares are the simple ones like being a kid, drifting off to sleep in a car, and waking up in your bed, knowing everything will be fine. Everyone has experienced that sense of peace, and around age 10 1/2, it sadly starts to slip away. 

In APOLLO 10 1/2, Stan’s mom says, “You know how memory works. Even if he was asleep, he’ll still think he saw it all.” Looking back at my memories, I feel the same way. Half of the stories in this film feel like I’ve experienced them. And that shared feeling in APOLLO 10 1/2 is magical.

It’s available on Netflix. 

Aaron "Dobler" Goldstein

Aaron Goldstein is a Product Manager by day, ludicrous speed content consumer by night. He’s a LA Film School Alumni and TV Academy / Producers Guild of America member. Aaron is a proud parent and dad joke enthusiast.

Latest from Aaron "Dobler" Goldstein