The Astronaut Farmer (2006)

Billy Bob Thornton plays Charlie Farmer in the film, The Astronaut Farmer. This movie portrays the ambition of a Texas rancher, and his dream that wouldn't die, despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles and adversity. Along the way, he assisted by his somewhat more grounded wife, Audrey Farmer, portrayed by Virginia Madsen.

Charlie was a military pilot with all the "right stuff." While he was in the exclusive NASA astronaut club, he retires from the military before he gets his turn comes up to leave the planet. Now he is living the “American dream” with a heavily mortgaged cattle ranch, a wife and three kids. Faster than we can say "blastoff," this father scrapes together some funds, puts his aerospace degree to work, and is assembling a bona fide rocket in his barn, pieced together from boneyard space program parts. When he tries to procure some rocket fuel, the federal agencies descend and things get really interesting.

The storyline of this film definitely crosses into Mythbuster's "Implausible" at more than one point. Still, The Astronaut Farmer is more about one man's dream than about hard space science. While this film is entertaining, it is largely forgettable. While the mission control scene was lifted from the film Apollo 13 (how could one antenna station in Texas contact the capsule on the other side of the planet?), The Astronaut Farmer is not quite even the "Lite" version of a top notch space film. View it more as entertainment, and simply enjoy.

Overall Grade: B

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