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Farmer was a natural for NASA's astronaut training program and was well on his way when a family situation forced him to drop out and return home-effectively ending his career. But Farmer was not a man to let anything stand in the way of a dream. He spent the next decade and every cent he had building his own rocket in a barn on his ranch in Story, Texas, working toward the day when he could triumphantly launch it into space. By himself.
Drama - This is not a science-fiction film but a feel-good, inspirational
drama that is appropriate for family audiences. This is a big
showcase for stars Billy Bob Thornton and Virginia Madsen; Bruce
Willis's role is basically an extended cameo.
Berardinelli, Internet CriticFull Review Good The Astronaut Farmer is one of those movies that makes an audience want to cheer and clap.
Roger EbertFull Review Good BY RICHARD ROEPER Sun-Times Columnist: (Roger is ill) Imagine "Field of Dreams" with a rocket ship. Well, you don't have to imagine it, because that's pretty much the deal with "The Astronaut Farmer," one of the loopiest inspirational-dreamer movies you'll ever see.
USA TodayFull Review Poor The Astronaut Farmer demonstrates that not every dream is worth pursuing. At least not the belabored one of a narcissistic crackpot masquerading as an admirable dreamer. (It) should be grounded for the twisted lesson it tries to impart.
Note: The rating
above is our interpretation of what the critic would give this movie based on
their review. We are not affiliated with these critic's in any way.
OPINION OVERVIEW The following is the original "What's Worth
Watching" write-up for this movie.
Based on a theater exit polling of 155 moviegoers:
CHILDREN:THEY LOVED IT!
TEENS:The males loved it as did most of the females. Just a few rated it as low as average. Highly recommended.
TWENTYSOMETHINGS:Half of the males thought it was great. The others rated it average. Nearly three-quarters of the females loved it. Just a few rated it average. Recommended.
ADULTS:GREAT OPINIONS from both males and females. Approximately three-quarters LOVED "THE ASTRONAUT FARMER." Most of the remaining quarter rated it average. Just a few rated it below average. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
From the time he was a child, Charles Farmer (BILLY BOB THORNTON) had only one goal: to be an astronaut. Earning his degree in aerospace engineering and joining the Air Force as a pilot, Farmer was a natural for NASA's astronaut training program and was well on his way when a family situation forced him to drop out and return home-effectively ending his career.
But Farmer was not a man to let anything stand in the way of a dream.
He spent the next decade and every cent he had building his own rocket in a barn on his ranch in Story, Texas, working toward the day when he could triumphantly launch it into space. By himself.
Sharing his vision are his wife Audie (VIRGINIA MADSEN) and their children-daughters Sunshine and Stanley, and 15-year-old Shepard, already a budding engineer and eager to serve as "mission control" on the big day. Even Audie's father Hal (BRUCE DERN), on hand to lend moral support, can see how his son-in-law's unwavering commitment has inspired the family with a common dream-something he himself, as a father, was never able to achieve.
On the eve of the long-anticipated launch, an unexpected problem arises. Farmer's efforts to secure 10,000 pounds of high-grade fuel catches the attention of the FBI...and subsequently the media, who encamp in droves outside his gate, speculating wildly about this "space cowboy" and his homemade rocket. Farmer finds himself depicted on TV screens worldwide as a renegade hero, inspiring an outpouring of popular support, while simultaneously drawing heavy fire from the FBI, CIA, FAA, NASA and the U.S. Military, all of whom see him as a threat and will do anything they can think of to shut him down.
But Farmer knows this is his only chance-not only to reach his goal of breaking through the Earth's atmosphere but to instill in his children the courage to pursue their own ideals and never give up...no matter the odds. He will not let himself be grounded again.