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The American Astronaut (2001)

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.

Director:

Cory McAbee

Writer:

Cory McAbee

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2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Cory McAbee Cory McAbee ... Samuel Curtis / Silverminer
Rocco Sisto ... Professor Hess
Gregory Russell Cook Gregory Russell Cook ... The Boy Who Actually Saw a Woman's Breast
Annie Golden ... Cloris
James Ransone ... Bodysuit
Joshua Taylor Joshua Taylor ... Blueberry Pirate
Tom Aldredge ... Old Man
Bill Buell ... Eddie
Peter McRobbie ... Lee Vilensky
Mark Manley Mark Manley ... Henchman #1 (Hey Boy!)
Ned Sublette Ned Sublette ... Henchman #2 (Hey Boy!)
Joseph McKenna ... Doorman
Doug McKean Doug McKean ... Silverminer Jake
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Charles Pendelton ... Miner at Bar
George Piscopo George Piscopo ... Mars Worker
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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

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Commodore Films

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 January 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

O amerikanos astronaftis See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,206, 14 October 2001, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$38,170, 25 January 2002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the DVD director's commentary, moviegoers would come up to Cory McAbee during film festivals and ask where he got the Old Man to recite the "donut" joke, not realizing it was Tom Aldredge. See more »

Quotes

Lee Vilensky: You will all partake in fresh fruit, brought here by the Blueberry Pirate himself. And I will partake in fresh fruit and sexual intercourse, an act in which we are all a stranger, but which, upon my return, I will describe to you in great detail.
See more »

Crazy Credits

We Remember Desmond Harvey See more »

Soundtracks

Rio Yeti
Written by Cory McAbee
Performed by Cory McAbee and Gregory Russell Cook (as Gregory Russell Cook)
Published by Fickey Music (BMI)
Courtesy of BSG Records
Administered and Licensed by BNS Productions
©2000 Cory McAbee
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User Reviews

If Aki Kaurismaki had made Rocky Horror...
31 October 2004 | by rmwhittaker101See 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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