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The Astronaut Farmer (2006)

6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 18,204 users   Metascore: 55/100
Reviews: 127 user | 111 critic | 28 from Metacritic.com

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.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Logan Polish ...
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Hal
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Jacobson
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Phyllis
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Arnold 'Arnie' Millard
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Chopper Miller
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Madison Roberts
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

rocket | bank | fbi | space travel | fuel | See more »

Taglines:

If we don't have our dreams, we have nothing.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic material, peril and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

23 February 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Astronaut Farmer  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$4,454,319 (USA) (23 February 2007)

Gross:

$10,996,440 (USA) (20 April 2007)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

FBI Agent Mathis is played by Mark Polish, who wrote the screenplay. See more »

Goofs

Carnival rides use electric motors connected to huge generators to turn them. When the Farmers have the carnival ride on their property we see a large overhead view of the carnival ride but there is no generator or electrical cord anywhere. The cord is obviously buried and the generator is behind the camera. See more »

Quotes

Charles Farmer: So, what do you wanna be when you get out of here?
Child #2: I don't know.
Charles Farmer: What do you mean, you don't know?
Child #2: I don't know.
Charles Farmer: Well, let me tell you something, you better know what you wanna do before somebody knows it for you. Trust me.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the credits, an interview on The Tonight Show is shown between Farmer and Jay Leno. Pictures play during the credits as well. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Sicko (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)
Written by Bobby Emmons and Chips Moman
Performed by Waylon Jennings
Courtesy of RCA Label Group RLG/Nashville
By Arrangement with SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Field of Dreams meets October Sky
1 February 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I saw this wonderfully charming family movie tonight at a free preview in Washington, DC.

The Polish brothers and the Warner Brothers, taking a cue from Walden Media, have hit the family movie sweet spot with this fun, engaging film. I'm giving it an 8 on the basis of pure solid family entertainment value.

(If this movie were a car it would probably be a Toyota Camry)

At the start of the screening, Billy Bob Thorton proudly (and accurately, IMHO) characterized this film as a feel-good Frank Capraesque popcorn flick - the sort of film that would have been on the "A" side of a double bill back in the days of his youth.

Billy Bob and Virginia Madsen do terrific jobs with their characters. I think the timelessly beautiful Ms. Madsen is particularly effective as Farmer's patient, loving, and somewhat exasperated wife.

(and if I were Stephen Colbert interviewing Billy Bob Thorton, I would probably ask this question - "Virginia Madsen: hot co-star, or *the hottest* co-star?").

The story and the arc of the film bring strong elements of "Field of Dreams" and "October Sky" to mind; but absent the mysticism of the former and the somewhat dysfunctional family dynamics of the latter. As a large, tasty helping of pure western Americana I don't doubt for a minute that this film will be a huge hit in Japan.

This movie pays light homage to films like "The Right Stuff" and "Apollo 13." Space fanatics, rocket scientists, and other members of the pocket-protector crowd might experience a few "oh please, you've got to be kidding" moments, but because of its charm, likable characters, and strong acting, this movie requires a lot less disbelief suspension than a film like, oh I don't know, let's say "Armageddon," for example.

Speaking of baby-boomer asteroid wranglers, I was also pleasantly surprised to see Bruce Willis in a small, but key supporting role. I think it's really great when skilled, immensely watchable actors lend their talents to bright young film makers. At the Q&A after the film it was revealed that Bruce took the role as a favor to the Polish brothers and that he essentially worked for free. It was nice of him to do that.

All of the other members of the well-casted supporting ensemble (including some young members of the Polish tribe) delivered solid performances as well.

I won't give you a synopsis of the film here (others are better than me at that sort of thing); but I will tell you that I plan to take my wife and 4, 7, and 12 year old kids to see this film for the pure joy of watching a fun, happy, and slightly quirky movie together as a family.


59 of 83 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Missing the Point. ssepper
couldn't suspend my disbelief mhukill
Skip this one... mfb603
Kid's Names WTF? fairevogel
I dont see whats so unbelievable... demonswrath101
To everyone who liked and disliked this movie... cougar718
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