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The Astronaut Farmer- Movie Review

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“Don’t try this at home, but for heaven sake try something!”
Title: The Astronaut Farmer

Dreams are what make our world work. Dreams allow us to travel across continents in record time. Dreams allow us to see and go and do things that centuries ago no one would have thought possible; no one except those with a dream. To paraphrase a worthwhile saying, “Without dreams humanity will perish.” Dreams rally people around a cause. Dreams build bridges and unite ideas. Dreams turn “what if’s” into “how far’s”. Dreams are contagious and with the right passion ignite a flame. My hope is that the new film The Astronaut Farmer will inspire a nation of dreamers to just simply go for it.

Charles Farmer (Billy Bob Thornton) is a dreamer. A man who had his dreams of space travel delayed by personal situations but did not allow those situations to stop what his inner being longed to do. He is a quiet fellow. A man who loves his family. A guy who will not allow small town gossip and negativity to thwart his mission. His mission to launch himself into space and his wife (Virginia Madsen) and family are behind him 100%. The problem is that he isn’t fulfilling his dream through NASA but rather a rocket ship he has built in his own barn.

I know what you are thinking. And on the surface this sounds like a total, “hold my beer and watch this” moment. I mean only in Texas could you have someone building a rocket in their barn and it be believable. But this movie does a wonderful job of getting you beyond the concept and pulling you into Farmer’s vision. The story stirs up the dreamer in you. You want to see him succeed because his rocket represents all of our dreams. Those we never could get launched and so we stored them away in the back of our lives somewhere. This is our chance to see them released. Granted this film is fiction and there will always be those who try to find the holes and impossibilities in the story line. But that is what all dreamers face. Those who always look for reasons to fail. You can allow that negativity to ruin the film. Or you can be inspired by it regardless.

This movie also shows the backbone of family unity in a unique circumstance. Even though Farmer’s family may not share his dream to go into space, they believe in him above everything else. It’s as if their dream is to see his dream fulfilled. That’s the nature of true family. As one comedian once put it, “The wonderful thing about the game show Family Feud is that while the rest of the world is calling you an idiot, your family is yelling, Good answer! Good answer!” It is that foundation that resonates in the Farmer family. And maybe it will cause other families to rethink how they support each other.

The Astronaut Farmer is rated PG for thematic material, peril and language. This is a perfect family movie for all generations. If there is one movie that you could truly take the entire family to this would be it. It will stir your conversation about each other’s dreams and what it means to support unconditionally. Odds are no one in your home is building a rocket ship but if they are you need to be willing to help light the fuse. I give this flick 4 out of 5 ‘atta boys.

With a look at The Astronaut Farmer, I’m Matt Mungle.

Matt had a chance to sit down with Billy Bob Thornton for a laid back, one on one chat about movies, music and what makes it all work. To listen click here now.
The Mungle (matt@mungleshow.com)(02/20/07)

“Matt is a member of the North Texas Film Critics Association (NTFCA) and hosts the weekly syndicated Indie Rock Radio Show Spin 180. Plus with his wife Cindy they do a weekly radio feature, The Mungles on Movies. For additional reviews and interview clips visit the website www.mungleshow.co��

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