Review: The American Astronaut (2001)

the american astronaut

I need a ray gun, it would solve so many problems!

Written By: Cory McAbee
Directed By: Cory McAbee

Sometimes there’s nothing better than the simple experience of watching a movie. I’m not sure what to think of The American Astronaut, I’m really not. But, I know that the experience of watching The American Astronaut is exactly that, an experience. It’s not a great time, or even a fun time necessarily, but it is a one of a kind experience spent with a film that is more than willing to exist in its own realm.

Trying to define The American Astronaut isn’t just hard, I’d wager that it’s a mistake. It’s a comedy, a drama, a Western, and a science fiction musical. It’s all of those things, and all at once. It never moves from one genre to the other, rather the genres exist and take place at the same time. That’s a major part of the experience that is watching The American Astronaut. All of the disparate elements of The American Astronaut shouldn’t really work together, yet they do. That speaks to the craftsmanship on display in The American Astronaut, a craftsmanship that I’m not sure I can quantify, but it sure as heck is of a high quality and it is what holds the film together.

There’s a moment early on in The American Astronaut where the character of Samuel Curtis is in the bathroom. Two men walk into the bathroom, and years of cinema trained me to believe that Curtis was about to get his ass kicked. Instead the two men place a record on a portable record player and proceed to belt out a song and dance number. The only interaction they have with Curtis is to take his picture while he’s on the crapper, and then they leave. This scene speaks to the oddness of The American Astronaut. The film has a willingness to do thing that don’t make much sense, and the film is all the better for it.

I can’t speak much when it comes to the plot or story of The American Astronaut. What I can speak on is the feeling and atmosphere of the film. Cory McAbee goes all out in The American Astronaut, letting his ideas flow unfettered onto the screen. He doesn’t hold back, but at the same time Mr. McAbee has control over what he is doing and it shows. The result is an experience, what kind of experience I’m not sure. Nevertheless it’s an experience, and I’m glad that I was able to take in the experience that is The American Astronaut.

Rating:

***

Cheers,
Bill

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