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Billy Bob Thornton Shines In "The Astronaut Farmer"

Posted: Feb 23, 2007 Like most boys, I went through my “rockets and space” phase when I was a kid. I collected models of the space ships, and had photos and posters all over my bedroom wall of the Apollo rocket, alongside my Star Trek posters and an autographed photo I got from Neil Armstrong, which I still have.

The Astronaut Farmer appealed to me on multiple levels. First of all, I am a big fan of Billy Bob Thornton. Secondly, I never really shook my interest in outer space, the planets, and the whole NASA idea. Maybe that’s why this film struck a chord deep down in my soul.

The story is about an astronaut who is forced to leave NASA to save his family farm, but he continues to dream of space travel and sets out to build a rocket inside his barn. While virtually everyone thinks he is certifiable, there’s nothing that can deter him from his dream to break through the atmosphere and orbit the earth.

“This is my Jimmy Stewart movie,” Billy Bob told me in a 2006 interview. “My Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. I think people are really going to like this movie. It’s about an American hero. Really, a dreamer, like all of us were coming up. Any of us involved in movies or music, we’re all dreamers. It’s just a movie about a guy who had a dream and he just wasn’t gonna let anybody stop him.”

Well-acted, filled with emotion, imaginatively directed and beautifully shot, The Astronaut Farmer co-stars Virginia Madsen (an Oscar nominee for  Sideways, who ironically opens in two films this weekend, the other being The Number 23), Bruce Dern and Bruce Willis.

Thornton turns in a masterful performance as Farmer, his charisma offsetting the more unfortunate aspects of the aspiring spaceman's character. It is a career defining role for Thornton, right up there with Slingblade.

This movie is like Field of Dreams with rockets instead of baseball, a beautiful story of determination, spirit and dreams that truly can come true.

The tag line of the movie, a quote from the character Charlie Farmer says “If we don’t have our dreams, we have nothing.” Truer words have never been spoken.

Highly recommended by the Buffalo.

Keep it Real. Keep it Southern.

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rockrap says...

Can't find any email address on the site. Wanted to send you my day job's special James Brown issue via email and my book on Skynrd via snail mail. Please advise.
Lee Ballinger

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