DionRabouin.com (sort of)

Review of “The Astronaut Farmer”

The Astronaut Farmer
Friday, February 23, 2007 at 2:51pm
I thought this movie would be bad, really bad. I was prepared for it to be a sappy, over-dramatized piece of shit with unsuspenseful suspense and quick-fix solutions. I was prepared for wholly uninspired screenwriting and over-acting by Billy Bob Thornton, who’s desperate to be a nice guy and a good father for once in his career, and I was completely prepared to feel absolutely nothing but boredom for the entire 100 minutes. But as I arrived at the ArcLight theatre I thought maybe it won’t be, this movie could be good. It’s possible that the director won’t over-sentimentalize this — after all these are the guys that did Twin Falls, Idaho, which wasn’t half bad. I started thinking, Billy Bob Thornton is a good actor and this whole astronaut business could actually be intriguing. And then I saw the movie.

I really can’t even explain just how bad The Astronaut Farmer was. There are no adjectives severe enough, no nouns I can fathom and there is not a single thing on God’s green earth that I could compare this movie to that would let you know just how terrible it was. Words would not do the tear-stain soaked spectacle I witnessed justice. I talked to the movie’s writers/directors the Polish brothers after the film. They told me that Billy Bob building a rocket ship was a metaphor for all the trials and tribulations and dreams that we all have. To them, building a rocket ship was like making a movie, everyone said they couldn’t do it and no one believed in them and they even failed a time or two, but despite it all in the end they were able to do the impossible and make their movie.

To me seeing this movie was like eating a piece of crap. You see it lying there and you think, “Wow, that will probably taste really bad.” And then you smell it and you think “Yeah, this smells really bad too.” But then your editor tells you he needs you to eat the piece of crap and write about it, so you do and after you’ve choked it down all you can think is, “Yeah, that was really, really, really awful. At least I didn’t pay to eat this piece of crap.”

There are a lot of parallels between eating feces and The Astronaut Farmer, like:
1) The Astronaut Farmer doesn’t make any sense. How does this man living in the middle of nowhere, Texas, get the money to buy engines, all the electrical wiring and everything else necessary to build a rocket to circumnavigate the earth. The movie tries to explain it with some lines about how “The Astronuat Farmer gathered most of the material for his spaceship from the NASA junkyards.” The only problem is that the reason that stuff is in the junkyard is because IT DOESN’T WORK. How stupid do these people think we are. Not only does he need the money to completely wire an entire rocket, but he has to buy the fuel (which he does in the end, even though his previous attempt to purchase it would have cost him $50,000. Supposedly he gets this money from his father-in-law’s will, but there was only $500,000 in there and he was about $500,000 in debt, which was also paid off somehow. Also, I really wanted to hang myself when the father-in-law died, but without that tear-jerking scene, which was probably the most poorly acted in the film, the movie wouldn’t have worked. Here’s a question though: how does a man living with his daughter and her husband in the middle-of-nowhere Texas have $500,000 in his will?). According to Michael Polish, one of the writers, they set it near Houston, because that’s what makes it all possible. None of this is in any way possible. At all.
2) Watching The Astronaut Farmer will make you sick. People should play a drinking game with this movie. Here are the rules: take one drink every time someone says the word, “family,” take two drinks. Every time Billy Bob smiles like a jackass, take three drinks. Every time Billy Bob or Virginia Madsen (who plays his wife, she’s got a fantastic rack by the way) says they’d do anything for their kids — I swear you’ll be slurring your words 15 minutes into the movie. And the great thing about this game is you can start it at any phase of the film and it’ll still get you wasted. You can also drink whenever you hear the word “dream” or “love” or “miracle.”
3) Eating crap has absolutely no redeeming value whatsoever. It tastes bad, it has no nutritional value and you never completely understand how on earth you got talked into eating it in the first place.

So really, Billy Bob building a rocket ship is like eating crap, not like making a movie. The sad thing about this whole thing, was that after the movie I talked to Virginia Madsen (remember great tits) and she was so excited about it. She told me it was a movie every family should see and how this was the easiest movie she’d ever done. She told me how wonderful the experience had been and how she was so glad the movie came out so well.

She didn’t watch the movie.

And I’m glad, because I wonder if she could have actually sat there and spewed that B.S. if she’d been forced, as I was, to view this cantankerous dribble. I really hope this movie flops and the Polish brothers never work in this town again. I hope Billy Bob Thornton gets herpes and is blackballed from every Hollywood event from now until we find a cure and they’ll deserve it for taking 100 minutes of my time that I’ll never, ever get back.


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