The Astronaut Farmer

Synopsis: Texan Charles Farmer left the Air Force as a young man to save the family ranch when his dad died. Like most American ranchers, he owes his bank. Unlike most, he's an astrophysicist with a rocket in his barn - one he's built and wants to take into space. It's his dream. The FBI puts him under surveillance when he tries to buy rocket fuel; the FAA stalls him when he files a flight plan - it's post-9/11, after all. His wife is angry when she finds out their bank is initiating foreclosure. Charlie fears failure and decides, precipitously, to launch. Are twenty-first century American dreams just a sign of insanity? Are those who believe in dreamers only fools?
Director(s): Michael Polish
Production: Warner Independent Pictures
Rotten Tomatoes:
104 min

Liftoff. We have a liftoff.

That's one small step for man... giant leap for mankind.

Good morning, Sunshine.

- Is your sister awake?

- I don't know where she is.

You look like you had a wild night.

- Well, good morning, Your Majesty.

- Good morning.

This time, no circles on my pancakes.

Here we go.

You guys are loopy in the morning.

- Good morning, ladies.

- Good morning.

I don't know about

all this free-range stuff.

I had a calf headed for California.

- There's circles on my pancake.

- Eat your breakfast, please.

- I don't like Jupiter.

- I'm sorry, honey.

It started out as Venus, and it grew.

- I'm not gonna eat it.

- I'm not gonna eat it.


You see, the planets are just not aligned.

- Is Shepard up yet?

- No, I think he's still sleeping.

- Morning, sleepyhead.

- Dad.

You got an e-mail from

that weirdo at FuelFourU.

All right. I think we may have our fuel.

What do you think about this sweater

for my dad?

- I'd divorce you.

- Is it the color?

Why don't you buy him

a new arc welder?

You want me to wrap that up,

or should I just give it to you?

What makes you think your dad

would wear a pink turtleneck?

The color is salmon.

That's the color

on the inside of a salmon.

I don't even think a fish

would wear that color on the outside.

Arc welder.

Here we are.

So is my favorite customer coming in?

Well, you gonna loan me a cup of coffee?

Depends on how you're gonna

pay me back.

Oh, how's rocket man?

- He's fine, Frank. Fine.

- We're taking bets.

Really? What are the odds?

The bet is your husband

will never do it...

...or he's gonna blow himself up.


Yeah, we're all gonna become rich

on Farmer's failure.

What bet do you wanna cover?

Why don't you cover this, Frank?

This space suit will allow me to control...

...the climate and the pressure

that you need to be in space.

It's kind of like having your own

personal weather inside here.

Because in space, it's very, very cold.

Is there any questions?

Why don't you just put your hands down,

and we'll just kind of wing it here.

- Start here in the front. You.

- Did you buy it at Target?

No, I didn't buy it at Target.

Where did you get it?

Actually, someone was throwing it away,

and I just picked it up.

Have you been to space?

No, not yet.

Stanley has been telling everyone

about their daddy the astronaut.

We need more parents

willing to play dress-up... encourage the kids

to activate their imaginations.

Yes, ma'am.

So many parents just resort

to dressing up as clowns.

You've set a high standard

with this costume.

Well, I appreciate that.

You have a good day.


Apollo 13?

You never know

with these online screen names.

I really appreciate you coming out here.

Breakdown for you here.

Ten thousand pounds of fuel.

Is this correct?


- You planning on launching a rocket?

- Yeah.

- You're shitting me, right?

- No.

- Something the matter?

- Well...

...ten pounds, 20 pounds, maybe even

a hundred, that's not a problem.

Ten thousand pounds,

ten thousand problems.

- When do you need it?

- What's the damage?

Fifty grand.


You're delinquent

on six mortgage payments already?

I don't know if you understand

how close you are to a foreclosure.

I don't think you understand

how close I am to launching.

Do you know how many times

I've heard that?

Arnie, it's an emergency, okay?

Oh, do I know it's an emergen--

We probably have 15 emergencies

written down right here.

Twenty. Twenty credit extensions.

Who on earth gets 20?

I assumed more than half that debt

from my dad.

And the bank assumes

that you're gonna pay it back.

Can I give you some advice?

I have no money to pay

for that advice, Arnie.

I don't wanna tell you

how to run your business.

- Well, then don't.

- But I have to...

...because I'm your friend first

and a banker second, all right?

Now, folks around here,

they think you're crazy.

I happen to think you're a genius.

You got bad credit,

but you got great character...

...and that rocket ship of yours

is amazing.

But as a friend, I have to

look you in the eye and say that...

...I think it's time you give it a rest.

Bye, Arnold.

I need a payment, Farmer!


Ladies and gentlemen,

may I have your attention?

I'm going to the moon,

and I'm bringing a balloon.

I'm going to the moon,

and I'm bringing an oxygen tank.

- I believe you're going to the moon.

- I'm going to the moon...

- ...and I'm bringing Mr. Grump.

- No. But not on the table.

- You can't bring your hamster to the moon.

- Yes, I can.

Yes, she can.

I believe she's going to the moon.

I'm going to the moon,

and I'm gonna bring sugar.

Hey, sweetie, the objective is

to connect a common theme...

...based on what Daddy's bringing.

So I'm sorry, you can't go to the moon.

I never get to go.

Okay, my turn.

I'm going to the moon,

and I'm bringing Sunshine.

Well, since she holds air, I believe

we're all going to the moon.

- What is that button for, Daddy?

- Oh, that button?

You girls better hang on.

It's gonna be a bumpy ride.

We're taking off! We're taking off!

Oh, here we are. We're in space.

Isn't it beautiful out there?

Okay, what's that button for?

- That one?

- Yeah.

That's a very special button too.

That's the one that brings Daddy home.

We have to have that one,

because if Daddy didn't have that button...

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Mark Polish

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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