By Mitch Emerson
February 23, 2007 - 16:50
Dismissed from NASA’s space program,
former astronaut-in-training Charles Farmer (Billy Bob Thornton)
pursues his lifelong dream by building his own rocket, in the Polish
Brothers’ family film “The Astronaut Farmer.” On the eve of his
launch, Farmer must battle foreclosure on his ranch and a small-town
community of disbelievers, while simultaneously drawing heavy
scrutiny and surveillance from the FBI, CIA, FAA and the U.S.
military, all of which see him as a potential risk to civilian safety
and will take the necessary steps to shut down his operation. But he
remains determined to reach his goal and instill in his children the
courage to pursue their own dreams, no matter the odds.
Billy Bob Thornton plays Charles Farmer
with a sincerity that almost makes you believe that this movie is
possible, because let's face it, building a rocket ship in your
backyard is a little hard to swallow. Helping him build the rocket
(and the feeling of a real family) is his wife Audie played by
Virgina Madsen. Madsen does a spectacular job as the supporting wife,
even going so far as to let him rebuild it after a failed attempt
that leaves him in the hospital. Rounding out the wonderfully close
knit family is Max Thieriot as Shepard, the 15 year old son and
Senior Flight Officer for this backyard brouhaha. Also part of the
family are two daughters, who I can't seem to find any mention of,
but that's ok because they are really only there to look cute. Other
cast worth mentioning is Bruce Dern as Audie's father, and Bruce
Willis as Farmers former CO.
My honest opinion? As good as Billy Bob
and the rest of the cast are, wait for this on DVD. It is definitely
worth seeing, just not on the big screen. A good family movie for
families with teenagers on up.