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Film review

'Field of Dreams' meets 'Rocket Man'

By STEVE PERSALL
Published February 22, 2007


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The Astronaut Farmer (PG) isn't based on a true story, but it sounds like it should be.

Billy Bob Thornton plays Charlie Farmer, whose surname is also his living. Charlie is a former NASA space jockey forced into retirement to save the family farm in New Mexico after his father's suicide. Driving a tractor isn't as exciting as steering a space shuttle, so Charlie decides building a rocket in the barn is the next-best thing.

His wife (Virginia Madsen) isn't convinced this is a good idea but stands by her man. Charlie's sons are his makeshift mission control while the towns cheers and national security forces - led by J.K. Simmons (Spider-Man) - wonder if this guy is a threat or simply crazy. Everything has the warm, fuzzy Field of Dreams aura although that expectation may be as "out there" as Charlie's goal.

The Astronaut Farmer is directed by Michael Polish, who co-wrote the screenplay with his twin brother, Mark. The siblings previously collaborated on Twin Falls, Idaho, a strange love triangle involving conjoined brothers, and Northfork, a rural oddity that could give David Lynch fits. Could be interesting.

[Last modified February 21, 2007, 14:11:04]


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