The Astronaut Farmer Reviews
Child: I dunno.
Charles Farmer: Well better know what your going to do, before someone knows it for you.
There are two things that sum up how to take this movie.
The first is the fact that it is a fantasy movie that happens to be set in the real world. Some logic is applied to the situations presented, but it doesn't matter, and will only hurt you to think about it too hard. This is about a man's dream, and whether he can succeed or not, with characters that are either supportive or not towards him.
The second thing is that this is a silly movie. A former military man, who always dreamed of going to space, decides to build a rocket of his own, with his family as his construction crew; that really is the stuff dreams are made of. It's silly, but its a well done kind of silly.
Billy Bob Thorton holds this movie together. He is completely in character as Charles Farmer. It is especially evident during the end credits that he is into this character, portraying him as a real man, who could be believably crazy, despite being a good hearted family man.
Virginia Madsen is pretty good as the supportive wife, as well as the kids playing his children. Bruce Dern is a little underused as Grandpa, but still has the necessary "old man wisdom" moment. Bruce Willis comes in for a good enough cameo, just to prove that these guys are friends on and off screen. Then there are also a number of supporting actors that work well with what they have.
Being a PG movie, it only has things like minor peril, but actually quite a bit of language, but still, the conflicts in this movie are enough to keep the viewer watching, nothing to depressing or intense, and I didn't mind. I liked seeing this character, despite there being no real surprises along the way. Billy Bob has a natural charisma that makes this film work.
[font=Century Gothic]With an antiauthoritarian streak a mile wide, "The Astronaut Farmer" is an enjoyable and beautifully photographed if improbable(one of the characters is inspired by a Nascar race) movie with a good cast which includes Virginia Madsen, Bruce Dern and the ubiquitous J.K. Simmons. Like their previous movie "Northfork," the Polish Brothers again mourn a lost piece of Americana, in this case, the pioneer spirit which made this country what it is, for better or for worse. In this vein, the movie treats Farmer with respect(the spectators seem to want to him to succeed rather than to watch him crash and burn all over the landscape). He is not insane, just driven, knowledgeable about what he is doing and possessing a huge set of balls.(There is private space travel in real life; it just might cost you $20 million.) However, I just wish I didn't have the feeling that Farmer could easily start World War III. [/font]