'The Astronaut Farmer'
(Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Virginia Madsen, Bruce Dern, et al / PG / 93 mins / Warner Bros.)
Overview: After a family tragedy ends Charles Farmer's (Billy Bob Thornton) promising aerospace career, he does the next best thing — spending several decades building his own rocket in his barn. But when it comes time to lift-off, the authorities try to stop this "hillbilly" from launching himself into space.
Verdict: In a film that could almost be a relic from the golden age of Hollywood, this goofy, wholesome and, well, sweet film is an amazing piece of moviemaking to behold. A former astronaut turned Texas farmer dreams of going into space in a homemade rocket. His entire family thinks this is a good idea. The government, however, does not. They want to take his dream and stomp it into the dirt. But he perseveres and keeps dreaming. Let's set aside the fact that people in movies who have dreams of doing something foolish are always annoying, if for no other reason than they can't stop telling every single person who crosses their path about their stupid dream. Worse, they go around naming their rocket DREAMER. But like I said, 'Astronaut Farmer' works precisely because it's bereft of modern cinema's cynicism.