It’s already at the cheap theater but be warned: The Astronaut Farmer sucks. Right out loud. Don’t even rent it unless you like to sit around with friends making fun of bad movies Mystery Science Theater 2000 style. Otherwise, it’ll just stink up the room.
Watching this movie made me tired from constantly trying to suspend disbelief. Believe me, that’s a heavy burden with this movie because there’s hardly a scene where I wasn’t yelling, “Oh, come on!” in my head.
Physics that we are familiar with simply don’t apply in the Astronaut Farmer world of the movie. For example, in the AF world wood barns don’t burn or become damaged in any way after a large booster rocket capable of projecting a manned space capsule (Gemini series, I believe) into space. Oooooooookaaaaay.
One of the funniest aspects of the movie is that Bruce Dern’s grandfather character seems to be introduced simply so he can die and leave the Astronaut family enough money to stave off foreclosure and buy time to get into space. His whole part is to show up, sit around, die and leave an inheritance. I guess the movie makers thought it too cheesy to have him die from afar and leave the save-the-day money.
The scene that got me really laughing though was when our hero, played by Billy Bob Thorton, has a bad, non-barn destroying launch and winds up flying his rocket horizontally. He buzzes a crowd of reporters and then, before crashing (and surviving), goes through a billboard leaving a perfectly circular hole. You know, like in cartoons when a character runs though a wall and leaves an opening that’s the exact shape of his running body.
Of course, throughout the entire movie the evil, powerful (yet bungling!) government is unreasonably trying to stop this guy from launching what amounts to a homemade ICBM (sans warhead). Stupid government! I mean, what could go wrong? This is clearly nanny-state government overreach.
I will say this though: the little girls in the movie are cute and believable. But their childishness is appropriate; the rest of the movie’s is not.