Space Cowboys (2000) Poster

(2000)

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7/10
A nice little movie, not too outrageous and the expert acting makes it enjoyable
David Comeau10 April 2005
We own this movie in our home collection and we haven't watched it in a while. Saw it again tonight on TV, and realized that it is still a good movie.

Clint Eastwood produces and directs this movie, and draws some "experienced" actors to help him fill the lead roles. They manage to extol the trials and tribulations of the senior years, while still capturing the exuberance of youth from the past.

the story leads a mildly predictable pattern, but in this case it is not the end of the story that is primarily important, but instead how they get there. Also, all 4 lead actors all come off as really having a good time in the movie, it feels like they really enjoyed making this one and it comes out on the screen in the performances.

The pace is even and smooth, again demonstrating Clint Eastwood's legacy of directing and acting in watchable, enjoyable movies, no matter what the gender.

I should also mention that the special effects and the space sequences are stunning and much better done than most other movies in near-earth space. That would be the industrial Light and Magic team doing it again.

Overall, enjoyable.
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7/10
Surprisingly good
rbverhoef16 September 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Four old guys going into space to do something for NASA sounds even more stupid than a bunch of people who normally drill for oil going into space. Almost. I didn't expect too much of it but Oscar winners like Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Marcia Gay Harden (OK, she won it after this movie) and Oscar nominees like James Garner, James Cromwell and a great actor like Donald Sutherland don't sign up for nothing. For that reason I saw the movie and (not for that reason alone) I was not disappointed.

Sometimes a movie is just fun to watch. This is a very good example, and it is even a little more than just fun. Because the guys are old a lot of the jokes come from that area and they are truly funny. There is also suspense. In space the four (Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland, James Garner) have to get a Russian satellite back in its orbit and of course things do not always go as planned.

There are some predictable elements, or things I doubt if they are even possible, in the movie but in a movie like this that don't bother me. Great actors, making fun of themselves, a nice story and better visuals than we saw in 'Armageddon' or 'Deep Impact' make this a pleasant surprise.
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7/10
Yea right, we have John Glenn to thank for this one.
chrisbrown645311 July 2001
Space Cowboys builds its humor around a quartet of aged characters who seize their first and last opportunity to fulfill their lifelong goal of going into space. Space Cowboys satirizes the traditionally romanticized conception of the young hero by portraying its characters as sagacious --yet imperfect-- old men.

Space Cowboys revisits its embittered protagonist, the retired Air Force test pilot Frank Corvin (Clint Eastwood), forty years after a humiliating episode where he is replaced by a monkey for a 1958 NASA mission to space. Unexpectedly, Frank is summoned by ex-boss and NASA official Bob Gerson (James Cromwell) to fix a Russian communications satellite that is soon to crash, and that contains the obsolete guidance system that he and his colleagues designed for the earlier satellite, Skylab. Realizing he is the only one who can fix the system, Frank coerces the desperate Bob into rehiring his old team: pilot Hawk Hawkins (Tommy Lee Jones), structural engineer Jerry O'Neil (Donald Sutherland), and navigator Tank Sullivan (James Garner) --all seemingly unlikely candidates for the task at hand. Gaining the trust of NASA Engineer Sara Holland (Marcia Gay Harden) and the mistrust of flight director Eugene Davis (William Devane), the reunited "Team Daedalus" face the biggest mission of their lives.

Space Cowboys, which benefits from the performances of four seasoned actors, successfully establishes its four main characters as the source for all its comedy. Space Cowboys' initial introduction of its protagonist (in the brief black and white sequence which includes the humiliating incident with the monkey), offers a convenient setup which allows the ellipsis of forty years to hyperbolize the four characters' emotional states and to justify their subsequent actions. Furthermore, this initial sequence, which also depicts the four characters as audacious US Air Force pilots, establishes itself as a point of reference against which the present inconsequential lives of Frank, Hawk, Jerry and Tank will be contrasted.

Space Cowboys subtly and effectively creates an analogy between the characters and the troublesome "guidance system": while the men's present occupations are portrayed as rather useless, the guidance system's design is described as old and obsolete, yet neither the men nor the system are entirely expendable. (This suggested duality of man/system is emphasized by Frank's ironic statement: "...it wasn't designed for this duration.") While Space Cowboys draws its humor from the characters' efforts to revert to their prior occupation and regain importance, the second part of the film --the mission-- serves a dramatic purpose, where the characters' true mission is to disprove the others' belief that they are outdated and replaceable. Narratively, Space Cowboys' space sequence does little more than simply prolong the characters' task of proving themselves, yet visually, it offers eye-catching special effects and set design.

Nevertheless, Space Cowboys succeeds more as a comedy that deconstructs its heroes than as a drama that exalts their heroism.
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7/10
You are never too old to have fun
lastliberal20 April 2007
What movie with Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones. James Garner, James Cromwell, Donald Sutherland, and Marcia Gay Harden wouldn't be worth a look. This one has it all, but mostly laughs. This Clint Eastwood produced and directed movie is great simply because the cast doesn't appear to take it seriously. They are just having fun. And special effects? They are better here than other movies like Armageddon and Deep Impact.

If you like movies where people are considered outdated or replaceable and prove the experts wrong, then this is the one. I watch it and keep getting reminded about all those COBOL experts who were back making the big bucks just prior to the millennium change.
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7/10
Actors Take Center Stage
ccthemovieman-113 August 2006
This was a pretty enjoyable tale of "The Ripe Stuff," four old geezers going up into space to help save a project they had a hand in years ago. It's pretty long at 130 minutes but the four diverse characters help keep your interest. Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland and James Garner are quite a foursome. Add Marcia Gay Harden to the mix, along with Loren Dean, Courtney Vance and James Cromwell and you have a fabulous cast.

This is a drama but one in which there is a fair amount of comedy and some romance. There are some Hollywood clichés (a suspect boss, arguing pals going back-and-forth all the time, a weak minister, etc.) but they aren't as blatant as usual.

The storytelling is pretty good but the real show here is not the story but that group of veteran actors. One joke was overplayed: Sutherland and the size of genitals. Not real classy stuff but, overall, the movie is fine. Definitely a rental, at the least.
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8/10
Enjoyable movie
perfectbond30 November 2003
While much of the film is predictable (except for a couple of surprises) and and almost certainly implausible, the movie was enjoyable because of the camradarie between the characters and the theme of redemption. How often does someone get a second chance and then also make good on it? The sets and special effects were very convincing and Eastwood seems to be good at both the artistic and technical aspects of directing. There's great chemistry between the stars as well. All in all, a very enjoyable movie, 8/10.
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9/10
Minor script problems but a very good film overall
Brandt Sponseller9 July 2005
The year is 1958. Frank Corvin, a bit of a rebel and a hothead, leads Daedalus, a small Air Force team training to be the first men in space. However, his lead pilot, William "Hawk" Hawkins is even wilder. He pushes a test flight beyond its limit. They have to bail out. The plane is destroyed, and it leads the project director, Bob Gerson, to pull the plug on Daedalus and set his sights on putting a chimp into space first instead.

We cut to the present (circa 2000). A Russian "communications satellite" is experiencing problems and will return to Earth if it isn't fixed. We see a Russian General, Vostow (Rade Serbedzjia) and Gerson (James Cromwell), now a NASA director, agreeing to attempt repair. The only problem is that the guidance system is so antiquated--it's the same as the old Skylab guidance system--that no one in NASA can quite figure it out, and they only have a few weeks to act. It turns out that Corvin (Clint Eastwood) designed the guidance system. Gerson and Corvin understandably hate each other because of the events in 1958, but Gerson gives the okay to contact Corvin to see if he can fix the system somehow or train others to do it. Corvin finally agrees, but only if Gerson consents to a seemingly crazy plan--Corvin wants the four members of Daedalus--Hawkins (Tommy Lee Jones), Jerry O'Neill (Donald Sutherland), Tank Sullivan (James Garner) and himself, all now senior citizens--to be sent up in the space shuttle to fix the satellite.

As many have pointed out, Space Cowboys seems like a bit of a riff on Armageddon (1998), and understandably so--an unlikely, gruff, motley crew are sent into space by NASA on short notice to stave off some kind of impending disaster. However, it would be difficult to say that Space Cowboys was directly influenced by Armageddon. They're too close in time, and scripts have a tendency to float around Hollywood for a while before they're picked up and greenlighted. What seems more likely is that Space Cowboys was just another one of the films riding on a trend in the late 1990s for sending motley crews into the face of danger in some kind of insular vehicle, against all odds, to "save the planet". It wasn't only Armageddon that had that plot, and at any rate, anyone who regularly reads my reviews knows that I disagree with the "cult of originality". Films aren't better just because they're unprecedented. Space Cowboys does the plot just as well as Armageddon.

Besides, like Armageddon, there are other stories happening here, too. The focus is much more on the geriatric crew and their relationships to each other and a few select NASA employees. After the period intro, the bulk of the film focuses on Corvin fighting for the agreement to get his friends into space, trying to get his friends regrouped, fighting against Gerson, who is trying to sabotage him in various ways, and Daedalus' training period.

Given that structure, the casting was extremely important. Eastwood, who also directed, produced and contributed some of the music, put together an excellent bunch. Eastwood, Jones, Sutherland and Garner mesh extremely well, even if Sutherland and Garner do not get nearly as much screen time. This is a fairly serious film in many ways, but it also has a strong comic element running throughout. Eastwood and scriptwriters Ken Kaufman and Howard Klausner find a nice balance between the film's various modes. Although the NASA-oriented material works well enough, the best moments arrive through the core cast's more mundane interactions, including the scenes where Corvin first tracks his friends down.

We know that Eastwood as a director is extremely skilled and multifaceted. Even at that, it was surprising initially to see him tackle film with sci-fi elements, but he's just as adept here, whether it's creating suspenseful moments that hinge on dial-loaded equipment or achieving attractive "space" cinematography. He proves a natural at the latter--the closing scene of the film is one of the more poetic yet economical in cinema history.

However, some of the film's minor flaws also arrive with the sci-fi material, but seem to emanate from the script. The dialogue can become too jargony and/or gobbledy-gooky to follow, especially during a few crucial moments. I never did quite follow the final solution to the dilemma, despite rewinding the DVD a couple times and putting on the subtitles, although I was able to figure out the gist of it so it made sense in a more fantastical way.

But even without a full comprehension of the plot details when it came to technology-oriented ideas, Eastwood as a director is able to completely wrap you up in the film emotionally. The climax is sustained and will have you on the edge of your seat, ready to cheer the penultimate scene, despite realizing how ridiculous it is to do this towards your television.

Although it's not a "perfect" film, Space Cowboys delivers just what it should--a very entertaining "ride" with a fair amount of poignant subtexts about friendship, loyalties and our culture's off-base conventions/popular beliefs about age and ability.
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8/10
Fun - Fun - Fun
Brandy-2817 September 2001
As always. The people putting in the post here are looking for too much in this movie. This was a fun old geezer movie. So what if it reeked of Armageddon. Client Eastwood going around collecting men to help him save the world. Just like Bruce Willis did. So what if a lot of the "Scientific Facts" did not mess out correctly. Who cares. This was a funny and entertaining movie. I laughed in all of the right places. Just pure entertainment. Nothing to take all serious. Get over it!!!!! If you wanted something serious - read a book.
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Highly enjoyable.
Jack the Ripper18888 August 2002
This is one of the greatest action/dramas that I have ever seen. Not since ARMAGEDDON has there been such a movie that managed to satisfy my craving for action, laughter, and drama all at the same time. Clint Eastwood returns to show us that he can handle any role that comes his way. While the film was not a really big hit in theaters, it managed to catch my eye at the video store because it had to do with a failing Russian satellite and since the four lead actors are so good. Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, James Garner and Donald Sutherland are the title characters and our heroes in SPACE COWBOYS, one of the most memorable movies of the year for me.

I enjoyed the way the film slowly develops the characters and shares with us their past history. The film is great in my opinion. The supporting cast includes James Cromwell, Marcia Gay Harden, William Devane, Loren Dean and Courtney B. Vance (Loren Dean and Courtney B. Vance both being men). All of the key actors and elements of the film are wonderful and create a film that is both memorable and, in my opinion, timeless. SPACE COWBOYS gets 5/5.
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6/10
Ride that rocket, cowboy! The team gathers one more time.
Michael O'Keefe16 July 2002
NASA is in a pinch. A Russian communications satellite is about to crash after an obsolete guidance system fails. The system was designed by Dr. Frank Corvin(Clint Eastwood)retired Air Force test pilot. Corvin and his old crew team up to ride to the rescue. The aging astronauts are as humorous as they are fit for duty; well. The other space "cowboys" are:Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Southerland and James Garner. Garner is a bit of a disappointment among the "cowboys", but other notables in the cast are:Marcia Gay Harden, James Cromwell and William Devane. This is a fun watch. No great shakes, but really enjoyable.
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10/10
brilliant script, amazing actors, generally wow.
witchfreyja14 October 2000
This has to be one of my all time favourite films. I wasn't sure what to expect. The acting had to be some of the best I've seen in a long time, but with four such amazing lead actors it was hard to believe it could be any other way. The story didn't let the film down either. It could have been so easy for them to have just put in four really well loved actors and then not bother with an exciting and heart wrenching storyline. This is a film which has every emotion flowing, one minute your laughing, the next your on the edge of your seat and can't believe what is happening. It is very rare to come out of the cinema and be blown away by a totally amazing film but this did it. I now have four films which impressed me in the cinema and I'm very pleased to add this one to my list.
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2/10
Space Cow-flop
henri sauvage8 January 2002
Warning: Spoilers
An egregious waste of talent and expensive special effects, the script for this mangy dog features a by-the-numbers plot and a howler a minute, from the opening sequence in a *twin-seater* X-2 to the final scene (more about that later). If by the end of the first half hour you haven't figured out both the Russians' dirty little secret and which of our heroes will sacrifice himself, send me $20 for your first psychic reading.

(WARNING: The rest of this comment contains multiple spoilers.)

There's just so much to dislike about this movie: Besides the inevitable aging jokes, it's permeated with stale, self-righteous Cold War ideology. The post-USSR Russians need our help, because a decrepit telecommunications satellite (their only one) is suffering from guidance system failure and its orbit is decaying. The politicos fear its loss will plunge Russia into civil war (apparently MTV and Home Shopping Network are the only things currently keeping the chaos at bay) so we graciously offer to fly a repair mission in the Space Shuttle.

You see, those backward Russians don't know how to fix their own guidance system. Why? Because they stole it from Skylab. So it's up to Clint Eastwood and his geriatric teammates to set things right. Why Clint? Because he designed the system and there isn't time to teach someone else how to repair "Cro-Magnon electronics". (As Dr. Evil would say: "Riiiight...")

So why Donald Southerland, James Garner and Tommy Lee Jones? Because it's a senior "buddy" movie, you dolt!

Predictably, the Russians are lying: The satellite is really a Cold War relic containing several missiles with nuclear warheads still targeted on the good ol' US of A. (I won't go into the technicalities, but trust me: This is the sort of Amazingly Stupid Premise that can only originate with a screenwriter who's shamefully ignorant of his own subject matter.)

Now these deceitful Russkis are so ashamed of having done what our own Air Force has been lobbying for since some barely-ex-Nazi rocket scientists thought up the idea at the end of WW II that they just can't bring themselves to admit the truth -- until the repair mission runs into the satellite's automatic defense system.

One wonders what the Russians figured they'd say if the Shuttle had been destroyed -- instead of just severely damaged -- by their satellite: "Oops"? ("Oh, darn, we knew there was something we forgot to tell you!" "Ivaaaan, joo got some 'splainin' to do!" "Waaaaaahhhh!")

Anyway, things get tense when an anti-tamper program is triggered and the satellite prepares to launch its missiles. Fortunately, there's a surprisingly long countdown, giving our guys just enough time to disarm it. Which you'd think would kind of negate the entire premise for an anti-tamper program, but then, logical consistency obviously isn't this film's strong suit.

But the boys aren't out of the woods yet, because the satellite's guidance system is fried and its orbit still decaying. So they hot-wire the missiles, and tragic hero Tommy Lee (who knows he's got the Big C) volunteers to fly this ultimate big rig to the Moon, thereby fulfilling his life-long ambition as a test pilot.

There's an attempt to flog up some suspense after Tommy Lee's exit: That young whippersnapper of a pilot got himself injured earlier when they tangled with the satellite's defenses, so now it's up to Clint to land the damaged shuttle. But anyone with a fighting chance at a triple-digit IQ will know they're going to make it.

In the film's closing sequence, the camera's point of view zooms up from the Earth to the Moon (while Frank Sinatra belts out "Fly Me To The Moon" in the background) to reveal the wreckage of the satellite, then pans to Tommy Lee's spacesuit propped up against a nearby boulder, then tightens to a closeup of the moonscape reflected in his visor.

Wow.

Look, I'm more willing than most to suspend my disbelief, but that satellite would have been traveling so fast (like, several miles *per second*) when it smacked into the Moon, there wouldn't have been enough left of Mr. Jones' character to fit on a postage stamp.

I guess that -- at the last possible instant -- Tommy Lee jumped off, and was able to hit the Moon running. That's no more improbable than the rest of Eastwood's self-indulgent exercise in Space Bull.
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3/10
Oh please!
jeppe-2217 September 2000
It's "grumpy old men" meeting "Armageddon". okay, i had a couple of laughs, I admit. But the script is so...bad I amazed that someone even wanted to make this movie. I can only say that if you thinking of seeing this movie, don't. Spend your money on a burger instead. It will satisfy you better...
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5/10
Don't bother if you are missing it
lstagnaro19 November 2000
Clint was used to great stories but this is really a low for his average. The first part of the story is a remake of thousand of other movies where not-capable-to can do it in a week because they are real men. The second part is actually nice with spacewalk and great effects. The last part you can as well leave the theater, really a disaster.
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Four Guys from Different Ranches
tedg6 August 2000
This is an utterly forgettable movie, and the flaws are ordinary and uninteresting. But there are some interesting things about it.

Clint Eastwood is a rather highly regarded director: he is not someone who can get inside a script and create (and pare to) a unique vision. Rather, he is a no nonsense stick-to-the-schedule craftsman who focuses on performances. So he's very popular in the business, while keeping his distance.

Here we have four actors. None is a great actor, but each has mastered a particular approach. The problem in this case is: if we let these men do what they do, and each has a different, contrasting style, how we pull off an ensemble piece?

We do have radically differing styles here. Garner is a natural, comedic, with an emphasis on body movement. Eastwood is purely facial. His comedic strength is in his vocal stance when speaking, while Garners is in his timing. Both are `external' actors, meaning they `put on' their role. Jones attempts the most in his general approach, the standard `method,' and is the least accomplished, while Sutherland has thoroughly mastered his simpler, but similar goal. Both are `internal' actors. It must have been quite a set with Clint trying to get some shared vision of what to project and how.

All the ensemble scenes (other than walking) are cut and we have instead individuals and pairs. That works well enough for this film, though I think more Garner would have been funnier.

I have been in most all the places at Johnson Space Center where the film is set, and that took some of the fun out. That's because folks, NASA uses really OLD technology, partly because they are not the brightest kids on the block, partly because of they way they buy things and partly because older stuff is more reliable. And they have many, many old guys on board (mostly as double-triple dipping consultants). So the notion of an `obsolete' guidance system is laughable. The shuttle's flight control system was essentially designed 35 years ago! But Clint doesn't know that I guess.

The nearly final shot is a panning shot of the moon which seamlessly zooms in a few thousand miles to `normal' figure distance. This computer generated effect is best in class.
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2/10
Gobble gobble...
rsholmes30 April 2001
What a turkey!

It's sad, really. The basic story isn't bad, and could've made for a fun and exciting flick... if the writers weren't seemingly going out of their way to make the viewer laugh and/or cry at the ludicrous details.

Why? Why do people try to write science fiction and then not even bother trying to learn at even the most basic about their chosen subject? It's a lament that's as old as movies, I suppose; still, "Space Cowboys" is one of the more egregious examples. Evidently they had a decent budget; they could have spent a little on research.

I could trot out miscellaneous stupidities like: 1000 miles is not geosynchronous orbit; 1000 miles is a ludicrous place to put a satellite; the Shuttle cannot fly to anywhere near 1000 miles up; a satellite in geosynchronous orbit will (essentially) never decay into the atmosphere; and so forth.

You'd deride me as a nerdish wet blanket, I suppose. But more fundamentally, the level of stupidity this movie ascribes to practically everyone is stratospheric. The very concept of NASA putting four rookies with a month of training onto a shuttle and sending that shuttle to rendezvous with and grapple a satellite ABOUT WHICH VIRTUALLY NOTHING IS KNOWN (like the design, even the mass) is about as far removed from reality as can be imagined. There isn't even a pretense of building a willing suspension of disbelief. And if on every turn your reaction to the story isn't "Wow, neat" but "Nobody could be that stupid!", the writers have failed abysmally.
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8/10
Well made film...for a slightly older crowd.
sstrick5002 December 2011
I remember hearing about this title and thinking, "Oh geez...Space Cowboys? Old actors? How stupid. Its probably for the 50+ crowd, and I won't "get" it". But Ahh, what a great film! Being in my mid 30's I had definitely heard of the main actors, but not seen many of their earlier films. They were all really good in this film.

The story flows very well...with enough character building to get a feel for who they are. Clint seemed to just say his lines, but hey...that's Clint usually. There are some scenes that seem un-needed, but only a few short ones.

I like my films to be somewhat realistic. A LOT of movies.. I find myself saying, "NO WAY...that would NEVER happen", etc. Hardly once did I notice anything like that. The film seemed quite "realistic"...in a movie sense.
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*sigh* Nothing new here. (Minor Spoilers)
langley-28 August 2000
Warning: Spoilers
Seeing that most critics are cynical these days, I'm utterly shocked that this film has been generally praised in both Internet and professional film reviews. While I admit that this film had a few good points, it seemed to have more bad points.

My main complaint is how completely formulatic this film is. As the astronauts entered their shuttle and gave a glance to the crowd, I leaned over to my friend and remarked, `Gee, I wonder which of these guys isn't coming back.' It's completely obvious. I wish the screenwriters had at least attempted to break the mold here and throw a few surprises at us. I must give a little credit to Clint Eastwood as the director, however. There is an interesting effect in the opening sequences in which he uses voice-overs to convince the audience that the young pilots are the same characters as the old ones. While this is a good attempt, it just doesn't work. Tommy Lee Jones' young character was particularly laughable. but nice try, guys. I think they must have realized that it wasn't really going to work, because they made every attempt they could to cover the mouths of all the actors.

Secondly, it seems like a lot of elements were just glossed over. For example, we don't really spend any time with the main character's wife. We meet her in the beginning, but then we don't see her again until the launch (during which she never says a word). It would have been interesting to know what she thinks about the mission. Is she excited for her husband? Is she nervous? How did he break the news to her? Does she not want him to go? Additionally, when a main character sacrifices himself, the film doesn't spend much time on his departure. At least the movie didn't create a typically sappy `goodbye' scene, but in a sharp contrast, the scene seems rather rushed. In fact, the whole space section of the film is rather rushed. And in the end, what happens to the `villains' of the film? Are they punished? Are they even exposed? There's no real pay-off there. (As a side note, why, WHY are NASA and air force guys always chewing gum in films?)

Final complaint, I promise. Why does Hollywood insist on bending the laws of physics and creating sound in space? Can't they find a creative way to deal with this? Let us concentrate on the silence of space for a change or allow us to listen to the film's score. With a film like Star Wars, sound in space is forgivable because the story is a fantasy. Here, we have a film that pretends to be based around scientific facts.

Donald Sutherland does an excellent job, thanks to his fine acting skills and the humorous dialogue in the script. There are some genuinely smart, funny moments in the film, but I'm afraid it just doesn't make a good film. I suppose the purpose was to create just a fun, entertaining film without anything substance. If you like those kinds of films, you'll probably really like this one. I haven't seen Armageddon, but if people consider this film to be significantly better, then I must NEVER see Armageddon!
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8/10
Old guys are GO!!!!!
Fat Freddy's Cat24 January 2005
In this era of the chick flick, it was nice to see the precise opposite -an old bloke flick! OK, I'm an old bloke, so I'm biased. Probably just as well they didn't cast the ultimate grumpy old bloke - Jack Nicholson - or it would all have been way too over the top. Insead we had excellent characterisations from four massively experienced actors, and those four guys they played gelled well, finding that the bond that united them, even after all those years, was stronger than the differences that divided them.

And more than a few good bits of social comment, especially that of intrepid pilot "Hawk" who in the ultimate act of his life demonstrates that blasting out to the moon in a terminal blaze of glorious fulfilment of ambition is far preferable to extending life in order to wither away in a cancer hospice. Life is to be lived, and when we reach an age where we realise we may not have so much of it left, it is to be lived to the extreme.

So the plot was always going to be a bit of fantasy, but in an era of wizards and hobbits on the screen, the suspension of disbelief at seeing four geriatrics in space was entirely acceptable.

A really enjoyable bit of escapism for a quiet Sunday night on TV.

Old guys are GO!!!!! 8/10
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7/10
Just turn off your brain and enjoy...
MartinHafer27 August 2017
There is so much about "Space Cowboys" that is unrealistic and, if you think about it, silly. But, it manages to tell this story in an entertaining fashion. So, my advice is just turn off your brain and enjoy.

The story begins in 1958. Despite all their training towards orbital travel, NASA is created and the Air Force folks who were working towards space were told to stand down. This part of the story is true and some of the pilots from all different branches of the military went on to become NASA astronauts. But some didn't...and the story now jumps to the present (2000). Frank (Clint Eastwood) is still rather bitter he never got a chance to go to space when his project for the Air Force was canceled...but now, in his senior years, an opportunity arises. A Soviet satellite is falling out of orbit and somehow the only person on a planet of 7,000,000,000 people who can fix it is Frank!! He insists that he doesn't want to tell a young astronaut how to fix it but will go to space himself...provided NASA also allows his three friends who were ALSO with project Daedalus to join him on the flight.

What follows are lots of old geezer jokes and montages. Eventually, the four guys are shot into space with two young hot shots. Unfortunately there are two huge problems. The satellite is NOT a communications satellite AND one of the crew members might just endanger millions because he's a horse's butt.

So is any of this believable? Not really. But it is engaging and the special effects quite amazing for 2000. My only real quibbles are that James Garner's character is poorly written, as he acts nothing like a Baptist minister (how many Baptist ministers say the Rosary as well as quote Alan Shepard instead of making a simple prayer??) and a lot of what surprises everyone in the film seems telegraphed. But the good far outweighs the bad and the picture is never dull.
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8/10
Very watchable movie
Paul-635-2656217 March 2013
For some time the title put me off watching this movie - it felt a little juvenile. I was wrong to judge the film by its cover though. Space Cowboys had me totally absorbed right from the start with a great cast of damned fine actors able to help you suspend your disbelief as the plot became ever more far fetched. Clint Eastwood has still to make a poor movie and his part in this is no less absorbing than his earlier titles. Best of all it is a film in which age and experience appear to win out against the young - well I am 58 so it naturally appealed to me. It takes your through all the emotions from laughter to tears. Overall a brilliant family movie based on a really good yarn which I highly recommend for all the family to watch.
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The pleasure of watching four old pro's entertain you
gbowerma20 January 2003
The storyline is secondary when you have four seasoned veterans like Eastwood, Garner, Sutherland and Jones entertaining you. They have the ability to raise the level of any writing with their professionalism. At no time could you detect any scene stealing. All four are comfortable in their own abilities and don't need to resort to gimmicks or scene stealing. Eastwood is at his economic story-telling best behind the camera.
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8/10
Not Eastwood's best, but a pretty good science fiction drama
TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews25 April 2004
Having seen only a few of Clint Eastwood's films, I can't put this movie up against too many of his other films. However, considering the high quality of his other films, I was expecting a bit from this movie. I was pleasantly surprised. It was really entertaining. The plot is very good, very involving, and moves along at a nice pace. The acting is mostly very good, some of the minor characters seemed to be more or less miscast and not perfectly well-played. The four main characters all do excellent jobs in portraying their respective characters. I especially enjoyed the comic relief presented by Donald Sutherland's character. The characters are all well-written and their actions are credible, in nearly every scene. The special effects are pretty good, they look very real, and do a good job of convincing the viewer that it is actually happening, or, at the very least, it could happen. The end could be called poetic, without giving it too much credit. The actors all share very good on-screen chemistry. You believe that these people could have that friendship with each other. I recommend this to anyone who likes Clint Eastwood's directing style, dramas and science fiction. 8/10
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10/10
Incredible cast, great film for the entire family
Frederick Smith19 January 2012
Now the cast alone is enough to get me to buy a ticket to this film. Clint Eastwood both stars and directs this fantastic tale with the skill that accompanies every Eastwood film. He knows how to get the best out of his cast, which would hardly be necessary since the cast is what so many critics in the past have called "Star Studded". Donald Sutherland portrays the group's horn dog, James Garner the kindly country preacher, and Tommy Lee Jones the show-off who never grew up. Marcia Gay Harden is, as always, lovely and charming as the NASA Mission Director who must make sure the group can qualify for the flight. William Devane is the cranky Flight Director, and appearances by Barbara Babcock and Blair Brown make the show a little easier on the eyes, as if that were necessary. The photography is uncanny, and had to incorporate some of NASA's footage of the Space Shuttle and some EVA's (extra vehicular activities) and the entire film breathes realism from start to finish. But that's Eastwood for you. Great show, no problems for the kiddies, and might even inspire a few more astronauts down the road.
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7/10
Space Cowboys: Damn Enjoyable
Baron Ronan Doyle24 May 2011
Despite my constant adulation of Eastwood's films of the decade ending 2009, I had never managed to see either Space Cowboys or Blood Work. Surely, I thought, I should be rushing to see both of these, given my fondness for that period of the director's career. Surely they would conform to this extraordinary block of raw talent.

An ex Air Force scientist denied the chance to go into space following the establishment of NASA, Frank Corvin is called upon to bring down a dangerously unstable Russian satellite which employs a now-archaic system he designed. Spying the opportunity to achieve his onetime dream, he rounds up the old team for one last mission.

I think it way have been the nature of Space Cowboys which perhaps subliminally kept me from getting around to it. A cast littered with highly esteemed names, a massive budget, a high-concept premise. None of these things were ever present for the slew of masterpieces which followed (some big names appeared, I grant you, but never so many simultaneously), a factor I must have considered an ill omen for this film's chances with me. I like my Eastwood dark and dramatic, not lighthearted and action-filled. Nevertheless, I was willing to get invested and involved, the cast offering names the like of Eastwood, Jones, Sutherland, and Cromwell, all of whom I'm deeply fond of. The plot is of course rather far-fetched and requires a considerable leap of faith. If you approach this film with cynicism you will be lost immediately upon learning that NASA is willing to send a force of geriatrics into space. That said, it is explained as best as possible; given that Corvin is literally the only man for the job, the government's acceptance of his terms is somewhat less fantastical, especially considering the delicate balance of international relations thereon dependent. The narrative structure is, beyond the age issue, pretty standard, following the well established path of gradual training and the resolution of whatever issues are encountered. When a serious problem threatens the success of the mission, a creaking cliché steps in to fix it. We all know the story, for so many times have we seen it unfold. And yet, in spite of all the problems of sheer unoriginality and a formulaic implementation, the film is damn enjoyable. There is a heart-warming charm to be felt in seeing these actors occupying the screen together and having quite so much fun in the process. They crack jokes, compete physically and sexually, and behave like little boys. Maybe that is the key to the film's charm: the participant's tongue-in-cheek acceptance of their own age, and a bold defiance of the societally imposed limitations thereof. In a way, the absurdity and ridiculousness of the premise is entirely intentional, allowing these onetime cowboys to ride again and feel the vigour of youth. And who are we to deny them that?

Though it is completely and utterly ludicrous and requires quite a substantial suspension of disbelief, one gets the impression that Space Cowboys plays upon just that very aspect of itself, breathing a renewed life into its elderly participants and vicariously so into its audience. An ode to youth and a firm middle finger to the limitations of age, one cannot help being drawn into its fantasy.
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