A NASA astronaut (Thornton), forced to retire years earlier so he could save his family farm, has never given up his dream of space travel and looks to build his own rocket, despite the government's threats to stop him.
Texan Charles Farmer left the Air Force as a young man to save the family ranch when his dad died. Like most American ranchers, he owes his bank. Unlike most, he's an astrophysicist with a rocket in his barn - one he's built and wants to take into space. It's his dream. The FBI puts him under surveillance when he tries to buy rocket fuel; the FAA stalls him when he files a flight plan - it's post-9/11, after all. His wife is angry when she finds out their bank is initiating foreclosure. Charlie fears failure and decides, precipitously, to launch. Are twenty-first century American dreams just a sign of insanity? Are those who believe in dreamers only fools? Written by
The song playing in the background at the county fair is sung by Dwight Yoakam. Billy Bob Thornton starred with, and directed, Dwight Yoakam in Sling Blade (1996. See more »
Farmer is able to communicate with his ground controller, Sheppard, throughout the flight, except when his radio system is not operational due to a malfunction. In fact, radio transmissions are only possible if the antenna of the transmitter has a "line of sight" to the receiver. Farmer could not speak with his ground controller when he was on the other side of the Earth. NASA uses a series of antennas located around the world to receive and relay radio signals to Houston, the home of NASA Mission Comtrol at the Johnson Space Center. See more »
'The Astronaut Farmer' is completely corny and wildly implausible to boot, but I still liked it. Billy Bob Thornton does well as an ex-astronaut who builds a rocket in his barn(!) This may sound like the perfect recipe for a comedy but, the film is utterly serious. Children will love its message about striving hard to follow one's dreams. It's a well-worn message but still manages to work although a HUGE suspension of disbelief is necessary. JK Simmons excels in a brief role while Bruce Willis has a cameo. The film is a bit slow and slightly overlong, but worth watching.
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