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Contact: The Movie That Changed Drew Hammond's Life

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Automatic TRANSCRIPT

The movies adapted from the science fiction novel by The scientist Carl Sagan and tells the story of L. E. We first meet her as a little girl with her dad watching the stars and fascinated by the idea of life on other your planet's we see her playing with the radio trying to make a connection with people from outside her hometown and that curiosity that she has a little girl will eventually guide her through her work. Could we talk to the moon. Wow Big enough radio. I don't see why not can we talk to Jupiter or or what's one after that. Don't tell me give you in Hula hoops Saturn. Could we talk to Saturday. dad could be talked to mom. I don't think even the biggest radio could reach that far. Yeah people on other planets. I I don't know sparks but I guess I'd say if it is just as it seems like an awful ways to space ellie grows up to be this amazing astronomer who works for this organization that is trying to find aliens on other planets and many people don't take her work seriously other scientists give her credit for her hard work and for her intelligence and her amazing determination in her projects but it's the kind of science that is often equated with faith the kind of science. You can't prove true what I'm I'm doing you promising scientists to be wasting your gifts on this nonsense consider what could potentially be the most important discovery the human race nonsense incense okay. There's four hundred to one. There is intelligent life out there but it's so far away you'll never contacted in your lifetime Carol Disisto. Oh there's nothing out there about noble gases and carbon compounds and you're wasting your time in the meantime. You won't be published. You won't be taken seriously and your career will be over or before. It's begun so my life. That's search is one that takes l. e. directly into the path of Palmer Joss this this kind of spiritual pastor seeker played by Matthew mcconaughey elliara mutually studying all the usual Nabulsi quasars pulsars stuff like that. What are you what are you writing. The Usual Nouns adverbs added to here and there I worked on a project called city search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Wow out there l. E. is played brilliantly by the one and only jodie foster. One of my heroes and the relationship between her and Palmer is so important because it is going to kind of demonstrate and play out for us that divide divide between science and faith science and religion and it becomes the guiding light for the movie. How can you be sure that something really exists when you can't prove it Orig- book. Would you like me to quote you. Ironically the thing that people are the most hungry for meaning is the one thing that science hasn't been able to give them yeah yeah come on. It's like you're saying that science killed God. What if what if science simply revealed that he never existed in the first place the character of Palmer Joss was important for me because he inhabited this religious spiritual seeker identity but he also really understood were Elliott as a scientist came from and that was really important for high school teacher Hammond. Although he related to Ellie you know he had never seen a scientist. I figure like her before someone who would ask these hard questions of everyone around her and even of herself and the work that she did and yet but really really comfortable with the idea of mystery and unanswered questions so I want to hear the story behind when you first saw contact and this is kind of a meditative exercise that we found really useful here on the podcasts which is free to close your eyes so I'm looking at you so I know you're doing close your eyes and then for ten seconds distinct about that first time you saw the movie and then I will look at the clock and I'll interrupt you so what memories came for you then it it was the it was the summer after high school high school graduation. I think it was yeah and and about two weeks before the movie came out my long-term term crush that had a you know I wanna say it was love but it was not for sure. It was just highschool crush but for four years I had you know wanting wanting to be with her. and then towards the end of highschool. She got engaged to her youth pastor well from her church was he he he was like a good seven years older than she is right. Yes right but you know. Jesus was cool with it so I guess it was all part of the plan anyway but so I was I was crushed and I remember like I went to the wedding and and I remember thinking like Oh. Oh you know if if I if I was more of a person of faith if I was going to be somebody that could go to church this would be this could be me love me and I I I was just I was depressed and I felt so alone and and then a couple of my friends like we went to the the movie just because it was a science fiction movie had aliens in it and if you if you go back and look at the trailer it does not know it does not sell thus you knew like Carl. Sagan's work had no idea the kind of dialogue that it just looks like a cool science independence day was going to be it's been fun a fun romp and we watch the movie and and win when it was done my friends I got up and started to walk away and they were like let's get them scream and I was just sitting there bawling and I could not I could not bring myself to leave the theater for like a good ten minutes because it was just such a yeah. It was just such a profound and deeply personal experience that I don't think I've ever had in a movie like that where I felt like this movie spoke to something that I could never even put into words and I didn't know how to talk about it with anybody. I didn't feel like it was okay to talk about and what that what that movie brought up for me what I'm saying. Oh yeah definitely it's one of the things that I love the most about movies and that experience when you see one in the theater is it's you're kind of hit with the impact of the film and then you're processing it. I mean days weeks years later for sure. I went back and saw the movie again in the theater. You know maybe within the next week and finally started to figure out like Oh. This is speaking to this disconnect that I felt for the last you know whatever the the time probably eight years of being a young kid who never had a relationship with church and and was surrounded by very spiritual and religious people and always feeling like an outsider because you know it's funny. I think I had a similar experience to you watching the movie as someone who grew up actually very religious my parents are pastor eventual Christian but he's also a man. He's like a botanist and he always man of science. Yeah I think watching this movie felt in a lot of ways like seeing a lot of his own or inner conflict a lot of the things that we grew up hearing about from him but it was also the best example that I had had seen at the time of my ideal version of faith