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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Polish Astronauts

posted by on February 27 at 16:00 PM

From Brad Steinbacher’s short review of The Astronaut Farmer, a movie I decided to read about because I will never watch it:

Billy Bob Thornton plays a farmer named (this is going to sting) Charles Farmer, who years ago was forced to abandon his dreams of being an astronaut in order to rescue his family’s acreage from foreclosure. Now happily married and the father of two, Farmer spends his every free moment chasing his longtime dream of making it into space. Which means building his own Apollo-mission-style rocket in the family barn—a plan that goes smoothly (if preposterously) until he runs afoul of the USA PATRIOT Act while searching for rocket fuel.

Two things worth considering. One, the only accomplishment that the twins behind this awful film, the Polish brothers, can honestly claim is this: they tricked several film critics into believing that a good amount of imagination went into their first film, Twin Falls Idaho (1999). If film critics had executed the twins at that vulnerable moment, the moment they were born, the moment they needed good reviews to survive, then we would not be dealing with this Astronaut Farmer nonsense. But there is good news for us and bad news for the twin’s investors. Thanks to Lisa Nowak’s lovesickness, astronauts are no longer the stuff of magic and dreams. Nowak brought them down to earth and removed the halos from their helmets. Now we are forever certain that no amount of stars, galactic clouds, shimmering rocket equipment can tear apart the animal from the human.

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So critics can make or break a film or career?

Posted by keshmeshi | February 27, 2007 4:42 PM

Admittedly, Twin Falls was a poor movie. It was not even about Twin Falls at all. Nor was their subsequent movie, Jackpot, in the least bit about the real town of Jackpot, south of Twin Falls across the border. However, this third movie, Northfork, was splendid. I think you should be nicer to the Polish brothers anyway, for I consider them to be quite dangerous.

Posted by Billy | February 27, 2007 4:47 PM

Oh for - Charles, Charles, Charles, just because YOU personally would like to see the gild taken off the lily as it were, don't think for a moment there aren't plenty of us out here with our heads stuck permanently and rhapturously in the upper thermosphere.

To-date there some 350 human beings have traveled in space, so one out of that group went a little "crazy in the head" and did something that reflected poorly on her peers. Name another profession where that many practitioners are under the same levels of physical, emotional and psychological stress that DOESN'T have one or two break under the tremendous pressures and responsibilities?

Astronauts aren't supermen - or women, they're human beings, which makes what they do even more remarkable in terms of the fact that more of them haven't come unglued due to the nature of their work. I challenge YOU to put your ass on top of several million pounds of high octane explosive, and see how stoically you deal with the reality.

And yeah, "Astronaut Farmer" is a rather silly movie, IF you view the world and incidents it depicts with abject literalism, but really it's more of a fantasy, a metaphor if you will, and taken on those terms, it's no more silly than any other movie where an individual overcomes incredible odds to achieve a personal dream.

And FWIW, Steinbacher is completely wrong in his description of the launch vehicle, which is quite clearly a Mercury/Atlas and not an "Apollo mission style" (which would be an Apollo/Saturn stack), so I for one am willing to take his review with a grain of salt, if he can't even get that one obvious detail straight.

Posted by COMTE | February 27, 2007 5:01 PM

Executed at birth? That's pathetic. Chuck, do you consider yourself a film critic...or are you just another frustated, bitter wannabe filmmaker? BTW, critics have the watch films in order to review them.

Posted by Brad | February 27, 2007 5:16 PM

Hear, hear, Billy! "Northfork" is great--totally underseen and underrated. The Polish Bros. are also good, as actors, in Neil Jordan's "The Good Thief." That said, "The Astronaut Farmer" does look hokey, but then I haven't seen it, so I couldn't say. And nor, apparently, has Charles... Fun fact: The object of Lisa Nowack's affection, Bill Oefelein, was in my graduating class at West Anchorage High School.

Posted by Kathy Fennessy | February 27, 2007 6:46 PM

Brad, considering Charles was involved in two recent movies, both of which seemed to be quite well-liked by various critics, I don't think he qualifies as a wannabe filmaker. Bitter, probably, but not wannabe.

Posted by Megan | February 27, 2007 9:17 PM

Once the general public learned astronuats wear diapers, their image was totally changed.

Posted by astro-not | February 27, 2007 10:41 PM

Um, astro-not, that's been pretty much common knowledge since, oh - the early 1960's or thereabouts, when NASA developed Fecal and Urine Containment Systems (FCS/UCS) for use by astronauts during EVA's or long suit-up periods.

How else do you think astronauts deal with waste management while spending eight hours or longer inside a space suit - just hold it until they get to a gas station?

Posted by COMTE | February 27, 2007 11:00 PM


Now I want to see the movie, because Charles is En Masque as house cynic, and his theories of life are all wrapped in college study guides of standard text great talkers.

oh well....there is nothing to taint Astros, period.

The crazed love of Female for Male, with some good sionsujmatikon, the final porny sex scenes on earth, so red-white hot, footage, would be the hit of decades.

Who would you cast?????

Scenes in space with mooning eyes toward each other... and all the unrequited longing -- will they strip in the air lock and fuck, or can they wait???-- --- un requited cosmic hardon and celestial itching vagina---WOW

Could film it in Idaho, with Seattle help.

The space program has more cache and glam in one piece of debris than all the rest together. The future of every human living, dead, or yet conceived.

No Charles, what you need to do is take another class in brewing, make lots of home brew, then drink, calling it medicine and reading many books on getting drunk a lot.


Our working title is Stalking Starwhore and the Virgin Family Man --- well for the moment

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