The Tomatometer rating – based on the published opinions of hundreds of film and television critics – is a trusted measurement of movie and TV programming quality for millions of moviegoers. It represents the percentage of professional critic reviews that are positive for a given film or television show.
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The Tomatometer is 60% or higher.
The Tomatometer is 59% or lower.
Movies and TV shows are Certified Fresh with a steady Tomatometer of 75% or higher after a set amount of reviews (80 for wide-release movies, 40 for limited-release movies, 20 for TV shows), including 5 reviews from Top Critics.
Percentage of users who rate a movie or TV show positively.
You either roll with the hokum or you don't. If you do, the essential message of realizing your dreams flies as well as Jimmy Stewart's angel wings. If you don't, reality is as close as the nearest window.
A mysterious little movie about a man following his dream, The Astronaut Farmer seems to be a visitor from some alternative universe, a place where logic and reason and recognizable human behavior have little reign.
Filled with lovely images (the opening credit sequence, of Charlie in his spacesuit, riding the range on horseback, is a beaut) and nice character turns, The Astronaut Farmer nonetheless veers too close to cliche.
I was content to go along for the ride with this excellently cast labor of love -- which shows just how much you can accomplish with $12 million and more imagination than most big-studio re leases can muster these days.
It's hard not to like a movie so determined to make you feel the love of a family, to make you feel that every dream can become a reality and that every mortgage can be rescued by the sudden death of a family member and his inheritance.
Thornton's serene certainty that he can touch the stars all on his own has an irresistible pull. Even as the sensible part of you is hoping he won't be a dadgum fool and endanger his life, the visionary thinks, go ahead. Try.
You keep waiting for the other shoe to drop: When will the irony start? The twist is there isn't one. The Astronaut Farmer starts out looking like a parody of wholesome inspirational fare and then gets ever-more sincere and outlandish.
The Polish boys have a fine time poking fun at government paranoia, mass commercialization, bureaucrats, banks, WMDs and all manner of modern nonsense. But throughout the film two things remain central: Farmer's love of family and his dream.
Though there is no lack of amusement in all this, the Polish brothers and the cast play it perfectly straight. Farmer is as determined to go to space as Mister Deeds is to go to town or Mr. Smith is to go to Washington.
A movie that has more appealing elements than anything else [the Polish brothers have] done. On top of that, the movie is handsome visually, which helps paper over the fact that the script fires in several different directions.
One of the loopiest inspirational-dreamer movies you'll ever see. This is the kind of film where you're watching some strange madness transpiring and you're thinking, 'I'll bet this is a dream sequence' -- only it's not, it's just more cheery weirdness.
It's impossible to take The Astronaut Farmer seriously on a literal or dramatic level if the ending's never in doubt. In the back of our minds, we have an idea where things will end up, so most of the movie is a waiting game.
With another actor in the title role (Kevin Costner, say, just off the top of my head) the mawkishness would be unbearable, but Mr. Thornton can be relied upon for understated dignity accompanied by an intriguing undertone of serious craziness.
This is neither a satire nor an allegory. It's an infuriating and formulaic attempt at inspirational drama that panders so appallingly to an American audience hungry for uplifting tales of derring-do that it feels insulting from start to finish.
It follows the paradigm of inspirational movies so perfectly that even the smallest deviation seems rebellious. The movie's orthodoxy is precisely what allows us to take such pleasure in its irregularities.
Some movies are so flagrantly awful that they achieve classic status. To this rarefied company we must now add The Astronaut Farmer, a nut brain fable that is all the more perversely enjoyable for being seriously intended.
A dreadful mismatch of indie 'arty' filmmakers and a Hollywood popcorny family formula script. The [directors] copy shots, icons and themes from The Right Stuff, but plainly never got a handle on how to make their quirky screenplay work.
The movie's unpretentious lightheartedness, which echoes the old-fashioned, corn-fed lore of Frank Capra, or even The Andy Griffith Show, makes it blissfully easy to sign on for this good-natured voyage.
The rare film that can make you question your own sanity, but The Astronaut Farmer is so lacking in plausibility, explanation, motivation and physical science that you start to ask: Is it me? Rest assured: It's them.
This movie works precisely because it's bereft of modern cinema's cynicism -- that above-it-all sneer that permeates most of the well-intentioned kiddie films made more to hold parents' attention than their children's.