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The American Astronaut
USA 2001
Directed by Cory McAbee
Running time 91 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars


The American Astronaut has all the trappings of a cult movie but it is more for its anti-aesthetic (in this respect one can’t but recall David Lynch’s 1976 masterpiece of cult style, Eraserhead) than anything particularly compelling about the content. A rock 'n' roll musical/ sc-fi western. written and directed by Cory McAbee who also stars, the film has its moments, the highpoint being a musical number “Hey Boy” performed by two cowpokes in a lavatory, but it also has a lot of so-so interludes.

Shot in low-lit black-and-white by someone calling himself W. Mott Hupfel III it has the look of a very low-budget 40s B-grade movie or Saturday matinee serial. It tells the story of small-time inter-galactic hustler Sam Curtis (Cory McAbee) who makes a living trading much wanted commodities in some future dystopia where fresh fruit and heterosexual sex are in short supply. The complex plot involves Sam delivering a cloning device for a "real live girl" to the all-male mining planet of Jupiter in exchange for a teen stud (Gregory Russell Cook), called “The Boy Who Actually Saw a Woman's Breast” to take to a community of women dressed like Southern belles living on Venus . Meanwhile he is being pursued by the evil Professor Hess (Rocco Sisto).

Well, let's not worry over-much about its story, the point to the film is its style. This is catchy enough in a grungy Ed Wood way but often the humour is juvenile and the best parts are its music numbers (McAbee is the leader of a rock band called “The Billy Nayer Show" who provide the music for and appear in the film). The appeal of the film will largely be determined by your mental age, state of consciousness and choice of lifestyle but being a stoned slacker with a taste for dirty rock n’roll will help.

 

 

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