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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 29.03%
Average: 3.23%
Pretty Bad: 3.23%
Total Crap: 22.58%

2 reviews, 19 user ratings

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American Astronaut, The
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by EricDSnider

"Just because it's at Sundance doesn't mean it isn't crap."
1 stars

The filmmakers whose projects didn't make it to the Sundance Film Festival must weep bitter tears when they see "The American Astronaut," a movie that is utterly worthless, yet still made it to the festival.

"They thought THIS was better than MY movie?!" they probably wail. "I made a film in which I videotaped my goldfish swimming around for 90 minutes. Isn't that better than 'The American Astronaut'?"

Well, yes. Yes it would be.

Taking place in the future, "The American Astronaut" is a cheerily no-budget sci-fi musical about a Han Solo-ish character named Samuel Curtis (Cory McAbee, also writer/director) who has to fetch a boy from the all-male Jupiter and take him to be the new stud on the all-female Venus. But the semi-evil Professor Hess (Rocco Sisto) is on his trail, turning people into mounds of dirt every chance he gets.

People sing on occasion, not very well, and without very good songwriting skills at their disposal. The music is a grungy rockabilly -- a perfectly good genre, when it's done well; the problem is, like every other aspect of the movie, it's not done well. The lyrics are repetitive and stupid, and it seems like the songs were included just so McAbee could say he'd created a sci-fi musical (which, you have to admit, does get your attention).

The film's style is retro-cheesy, shot in black and white to recall '50s space movies. Camp is an art, though; you can just put bad actors on the screen and call it cheesy -- unless you mean the bad kind of cheesy, the kind that's boring and stupid. (This film is 91 minutes long, yet still manages to include about 20 minutes, all together, of unnecessary padding.)

Is there anything good in "The American Astronaut"? Yes. The guy on all-male Jupiter whose presence is required on Venus is called The Boy Who Actually Saw a Woman's Breast ("It was round and soft" is all he has to tell his eager listeners on Jupiter). And at a bar in an asteroid belt, an old man tells the longest, most bizarre "Hertz Doughnut" joke you've ever heard, and also has a dirty non-sequitur cathphrase that I can't repeat here.

Otherwise, it's sheer, unadulterated pain. Let us all weep together.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 03/12/01 17:23:42
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Leeds Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Leeds Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

2/21/16 brian Hilarious, inventive, GREAT music, unfortunate pacing. Cult hit! 4 stars
1/19/13 brian Love it or hate it? Well, I love parts of it and hate other parts, so OK. 3 stars
12/14/06 ELBSeattle This is one of the strangest, funniest, catchiest, smartest things I've ever seen. 5 stars
10/01/06 Dane Henas Music& art direction good. Lyrics awful. McAbee, and awful actor smiles at the oddest times 2 stars
6/05/05 Ubu the Ripper It's a cross between Flash Gordon and Plan 9 From Outer Space with lots of LSD. 1 stars
11/11/04 Nick Stevenson Stunning. Eric Snider sounds like a bitter film maker... 5 stars
1/11/02 Andrew Carden Really Funny...Could Be Considered To Be One Day Known As A Lost Movie 5 stars
10/31/01 zing zing da like a pernod enema taken on Titan 5 stars
10/23/01 Boomshanka Certainly not for everybody, but you have to respect originality, and this has it. 4 stars
10/15/01 April It cracked me up in many places, and the music rocked. I loved it! Very creative!! 5 stars
10/15/01 Andrew amazing, funny, captivating, and one of the most creative films I've ever seen 5 stars
10/12/01 Maz Dee Snyder can go blow the Pope. This movie rocks! 5 stars
10/02/01 mrs. hess perfection achieved 5 stars
9/24/01 Cupcakefarm Best movie I saw at Toronto 5 stars
9/17/01 Mark Visser pure escapism 5 stars
8/28/01 Cookie Exceptional film. Funny, creative, wacky, a spectacular production. 5 stars
8/07/01 Emily Absolutely wonderful film! I want to see it again and again. 5 stars
8/03/01 Pernell Studebaker Beautiful. A fairytale for the fringe. 5 stars
4/25/01 d mikal johnson absolutely original cult film candidate 4 stars
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Directed by
  Cory McAbee

Written by
  Cory McAbee

  Cory McAbee
  Rocco Sisto
  Gregory Russell Cook
  Annie Golden
  James Ransone
  Joshua Taylor

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