The Astronaut Farmer (2007)

Actors: Billy Bob Thornton, Virginia Madsen, Max Thieriot, Jasper Polish, Logan Polish
Michael Polish
Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, Widescreen, NTSC
Region: 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Aspect Ratio:
Number of discs:
Run Time:
104 minutes

DVD Features:

  • Available Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • How to Build a Rocket: The Making of The Astronaut Farmer
  • A Conversation with NASA Astronaut David Scott
  • Bloopers and outtakes
  • Includes both 2.35 widescreen anamorphic and 1.33 full-screen formats



Billy Bob Thornton is an ex-NASA guy turned Texan rancher who single-handedly builds his own rocket ship in his backyard to orbit the Earth in what must surely be the year's most far-fetched movie. (His surname is Farmer by the way; otherwise, I suppose the movie's title should have been The Astronaut Rancher instead.)

Thornton however attracts the authorities' attention when he wants to buy a huge quantity of rocket fuel for his trip and soon the FBI descends on his ranch to investigate and his dream of space travel becomes a media circus.

Thornton gives an understated performance and unlike one would expect, Virginia Madsen as his wife is actually supportive of his vision. After all, as she said, without Thornton's obsession and his family's support of it, they would be merely another dysfunctional family. This way one supposes that they are an eccentric dysfunctional family . . .

THE DISC: The movie is presented in both widescreen and full screen modes on a double-sided disc. Even though it is an intimate drama, you should preferably check out the widescreen version. There are some bloopers and outtakes as well as a "making of" feature.

WORTH IT? It's not exactly sci-fi - unless you count the notion of an almost destitute rancher (the ranch is small enough, the movie tells us, to be run by Thornton and one illegal Mexican immigrant laborer) somehow managing to have the sufficient capital to have his own successful space program as being SF. Instead it's an understated drama of the "dream the impossible dream" and "succeeding against all odds" variety.

Anyone raised on the idea of everybody going to the moon one day for holidays would of course want Thornton to succeed. After all, space travel shouldn't be the sole domain of the mega-rich and those few fortunate enough to be actual astronauts. Still, no matter how hard one roots for Thornton's character one knows deep down just how unlikely the film's premise is.

RECOMMENDATION: Worth a rental perhaps if 300 is out.



blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest Headlines

Most Popular

Copyright © 1997-forward James O'Ehley/The Sci-Fi Movie Page (unless where indicated otherwise).