6.3/10
22,005
143 user 110 critic

The Astronaut Farmer (2006)

Trailer
0:32 | Trailer
A NASA astronaut, 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.

Director:

Michael Polish

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Billy Bob Thornton ... Charles Farmer
Virginia Madsen ... Audrey 'Audie' Farmer
Max Thieriot ... Shepard Farmer
Jasper Polish ... Stanley Farmer
Logan Polish ... Sunshine Farmer
Bruce Dern ... Hal
Mark Polish ... FBI Agent Mathis
Jon Gries ... FBI Agent Killbourne
Tim Blake Nelson ... Kevin Munchak
Sal Lopez ... Pepe Garcia
J.K. Simmons ... Jacobson
Kiersten Warren ... Phyllis
Rick Overton ... Arnold 'Arnie' Millard
Richard Edson ... Chopper Miller
Elise Eberle ... 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

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:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Billy Bob Thornton's two daughters in the movie were played by director Michael Polish's daughter and writer Mark Polish's daughter. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Charles Farmer: Ladies and gentleman, may I have your attention, please? I'm going to the moon, and I'm bringing a balloon.
Shepard Farmer: I'm going to the moon and I'm bringing an oxygen tank.
Charles Farmer: I believe you're going to the moon.
Stanley Farmer: I'm going to the moon, and I'm bringing Mr. Grump.
Audrey 'Audie' Farmer: No, but not at the table.
Shepard Farmer: You're not bringing a hamster to the moon.
Stanley Farmer: Yes, I can.
Charles Farmer: Yes, she can. I believe she's going to the moon.
Stanley Farmer: Ooh. Ha ha.
Sunshine Farmer: I'm going to the moon, and I'm gonna bring sugar.
[...]
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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

List of Reasons
Written and Performed by Dale Watson
Courtesy of Truckstop Mall Records
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User Reviews

 
Field of Dreams meets October Sky
1 February 2007 | by SnakePlizzkenSee 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.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

23 February 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Astronaut Farmer See more »

Filming Locations:

Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,454,319, 25 February 2007

Gross USA:

$11,003,643

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$11,130,889
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

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