Movie Review: The Astronaut Farmer
Posted by: Mark Nichols
01 Aug 2007
I saw a movie last night with my wife, buddy Steve, and his wife. I didn't realize it was one of those stupid witty title movies.
The Astronaut Farmer. The cover has a guy in a spacesuit sitting on a horse. Shouldn't it have been called The Astronaut Rancher?
Everyone called the main character "farmer" (played by Billy Bob Thornton). I originally thought it was just because he was a farmer. Even his own wife once called him "farmer". Turns out his last name actually is "Farmer" - why wouldn't she use his first name, or call him "hubby" or something? Talk about beating a dead horse... we get it! Suppos-ed country bumkin farmer (rancher) becomes an astronaut. And Farmer is his last name, too! Got it! Except in the movie they explain how he was previously a part of NASA. So he wasn't much of a country bumkin.
This movie has about 5 or 6 moments where you can safely start the slow clap thing, pretending that the movie has reached some climax where you should start cheering or crying. Of course, it'd just be pretend, 'cause what you'd rather do is turn it off.
This is also the first movie where you actually wish that an action sequence would end up being a dream sequence instead. The scene involves Farmer attempting to launch into space but instead careening in his capsule over land and farm, eventually landing splat/cartoon-style on the ground. We were laughing it was so pathetic. Too bad the movie was trying to be serious. So we laughed because of that.
We had zero emotional investment in the characters, they were rewarded with luck (the luck being that his wife's dad died, thus providing an inheritance that allowed them to keep the ranch and try to relaunch into space - a twisted movie when a sad death moment is supposed to make us feel happy), and it dragged on so long I expected to see an "INTERMISSION" screen Ã la Gone With the Wind.
And this was a movie that the Ebert and Roeper show gave two thumbs up. Blah! It's rated PG but seems to try and get away with enough swearing to warrant a PG-13. There's also an insanely uncomfortable scene where husband and wife are arguing because the husband has been lying about finances. Why was that an argument? The husband was just plain wrong. No arguing needed!
If I'm going to start rating movies here I'm going to need a rating scale. But since I don't want to put in the time to come up with one, let's just say this movie will be rated at the lowest end of any future scale, right along with movies like Zathura, Little Buddha, and Batman and Robin.