The American Astronaut

Director: Cory McAbee
Screenwriters: Cory McAbee

Institute History


Spawned from the creative minds of director/writer Cory McAbee and acclaimed musical group The Billy Nayer Show, The American Astronaut is a raucous, zany, musical hybrid that is the culmination of 10 years of work and more original than almost anything you've seen this millennium. Space travel is a dirty way of life dominated by loners like Samuel Curtis, an interplanetary trader from Nevada. Unaware that old friend Professor Hess is pursuing him and would like to kill him, Curtis sets forth through a rustic and remote solar system.

Low-tech but beautiful animation sets the tone, and stunning black and white photography gives the piece a period glow. The art direction is an eclectic mix of futuristic and retro, including a spaceship that looks more like a flying mobile home than a Hollywood set. McAbee, who plays Sam, has a rough-around-the-edges matinee idol screen presence, and though most of the actors are unknown, they are perfectly cast for each of the outrageous characters. It's as if they have absorbed McAbee's vibe and are perfectly in tune with his otherworldly vision. Praise must be given to the boys in the band for pumping out great songs like "The Girl with a Glass Vagina." Musical numbers spring up in the most unpredictable places, including the testosterone-riddled bar where we first hook up with Samuel. In case you're wondering, there's a little dancing, too.

Not to be missed, The American Astronaut is like eating a Rice Krispies treat laced with a hallucinogenic.

— John Cooper

Screening Details

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