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The American Astronaut (2001)

7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 2,347 users   Metascore: 51/100
Reviews: 52 user | 35 critic | 14 from Metacritic.com

Samuel Curtis, an interplanetary trader, sets forth through a rustic and remote solar system, unaware that his old friend Professor Hess is trying to kill him.

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2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Cory McAbee ...
Samuel Curtis / Silverminer
...
Professor Hess
...
The Boy Who Actually Saw a Woman's Breast
...
Cloris
...
Bodysuit
Joshua Taylor ...
Blueberry Pirate
...
Old Man
...
Eddie
...
Lee Vilensky
Mark Manley ...
Henchman #1 (Hey Boy!)
Ned Sublette ...
Henchman #2 (Hey Boy!)
...
Doorman
Doug McKean ...
Silverminer Jake
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Miner at Bar
George Piscopo ...
Mars Worker
Edit

Storyline

Space travel has become a dirty way of life dominated by derelicts, grease monkeys, thieves, and hard-boiled interplanetary traders such as Samuel Curtis, an astronaut from Earth who deals in a rare goods, living or otherwise. His mission begins with the unlikely delivery of a cat to a small outer-belt asteroid saloon where he meets his former dance partner, and renowned interplanetary fruit thief, the Blueberry Pirate. As payment for his delivery of the cat, Curtis receives a homemade cloning device already in the process of creating a creature most rare in this space quadrant... a Real Live Girl. At the suggestion of the Blueberry Pirate, Curtis takes the Real Live Girl to Jupiter where women have long been a mystery. There, he proposes a trade with the owner of Jupiter: the Real Live Girl clone for the Boy Who Actually Saw A Woman's Breast. The Boy Who Actually Saw A Woman's Breast is regarded as royalty on the all-male mining planet of Jupiter because of his unique and exotic ... Written by nathue

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Space is a lonely town.

Genres:

Musical | Comedy | Sci-Fi

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 January 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

O amerikanos astronaftis  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$6,206 (USA) (12 October 2001)

Gross:

$33,884 (USA) (11 January 2002)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The DVD includes a very unusual "Director's Comments" feature. Cory McAbee showed the movie in a Brooklyn pool hall, and had a question-and-answer session with the audience while the movie was screened. The audio recording of his interaction with the audience replaces the standard movie audio when the comments feature is selected. See more »

Quotes

The Boy Who Actually Saw a Woman's Breast: [Referring to Professor Hess, who has just made a disturbing phone call to Sam] Friend?
Samuel Curtis: [pauses to ponder] A question to which 'yes' or 'no' would not quite suffice.
The Boy Who Actually Saw a Woman's Breast: Does he call a lot?
Samuel Curtis: No... He disappears for long stretches of time... and then he finds me, and kills everyone I come in contact with, and tries to forgive me. When he does that, he's gonna' kill me.
The Boy Who Actually Saw a Woman's Breast: Do you like him?
Samuel Curtis: [pauses to ponder] Yeah. He's like family.
The Boy Who Actually Saw a Woman's Breast: And when he forgives you, he's gonna' kill you?
Samuel Curtis: [Nodding his head] That's the...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

We Remember Desmond Harvey See more »

Soundtracks

The American Astronaut
Written by Cory McAbee, Robert Lurie (as Bobby Lurie), and Lee Vilensky
Performed by The Billy Nayer Show
Published by Fickey Music (BMI)
Courtesy of BSG Records
Administered and Licensed by BNS Productions
©2000 Cory McAbee, Bobby Lurie, and Lee Vilensky
See more »

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User Reviews

If Aki Kaurismaki had made Rocky Horror...
31 October 2004 | by (York, England) – See all my reviews

... you'd have got something like The American Astronaut.

Writer/actor/director/musician Cory McAbee's ultra-low-budget indie The American Astronaut is something that almost defies description. Shot in black-and-white, it hearkens back to the science fiction of the 1900s and its description of the universe as consisting of a series of 'themed' worlds. Venus is inhabited solely by Southern Belles; Saturn by lonely miners; and there's a bar with an all-male dancing contest in the asteroid belt. Space cowboy Samuel Curtis wends his way through this dreamlike universe with a blase charm, like Han Solo if he'd suggested to Greedo that they don't fight, but instead go bass fishing. Pursued by a deranged Pee-Wee Herman-esque mad scientist (played by noted character actor and HBO regular Rocco Sisto), he has to take The Boy Who Once Saw A Woman's Breast and exchange him for a corpse, which he can then take back to Earth, along with the stinking hydraulic gimp that he picks up along the way.

If this all sounds confusing, that's because you're over-thinking it. McAbee's fourth movie and his full-length debut is a collection of oddball moments and weird incidents, told with a certain sweetness of tone. Early David Lynch is a good sign post, but then so are the Quay brothers. Yet neither has McAbee's well-intentioned sense of humor. There are no overt jokes, but somehow he catches that mood of security that pervades the oddest of dreams. No matter how bizarre, it never becomes terrifying. This is, of course, helped by the occasional song and dance number, with music provided by the director's day job in his band The Billy Nayer Show.

If McAbee has made any mistake, it's that this is almost too relentlessly and resiliently oddball. Conventional audiences will have no truck with this, and those looking for subversive cinema may find that it almost tries too hard to be off-kilter. However, while McAbee does feel like he's pushing his own personal envelope, it's undeniable that he is has unique and perverse cinematic vision. Most importantly, his vision allows him to make a true creative virtue of his low-to-zero budget. Primitive space cowboys who managed to launch their barn into the solar void use tin cans as oxygen filters: space travel is represented through flash cards: and bizarre alien cultures are summed up by raiding the prop cupboard of the local amateur dramatics society. In less talented hands, this would be abortive. Yet McAbee thinks around all the problems out of which so many other directors just buy themselves.


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