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Film / The American Astronaut

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The American Astronaut is a 2001 Space Western Science Fiction musical written by, directed by, and starring Cory McAbee.

The story centers around space captain Samuel Curtis (McAbee), who finds himself in the middle of a Chain of Deals to give the Venusians a new king and earn a few bucks while being chased by the mentally-unbalanced Professor Hess who sabotages his plans.

In this original take of Sci-Fi, space is mostly guided by roughnecks and all spaceships seems to be easy repaired with hammers, giving it a feeling of Used Future for truckers, which goes along pretty well with the awesome music, this can only be described as a Firefly musical with Flash Gordon serial props.

Also by the same people (and in the same vein) is Stingray Sam.


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The American Astronaut includes examples of:

  • Alliterative Title: The American Astronaut
  • Arc Words: "It's my birthday."
  • Axe-Crazy: Professor Hess goes from zero to mass murder with little (if any) provocation.
  • Berserk Button: You don't dare to forget Professor Hess' birthday, you just don't...
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Hess. Curtis explains that Hess intends to kill him once he forgives him for whatever happened between them, but not before. The Boy is suitably confused as to why anger = safety and forgiveness = murder.
    • Reinforced by Hess's final monologue, about how he hoped to see Bodysuit grow into a fine young man, so that Hess could finally kill him. "But sons usually disappoint their fathers..."
  • Body Horror: The reason the miners from the space barn can't return to Earth.
  • Chain of Deals: Sam must return the late king of Venus to his family on Earth. To do so, he must provide Venus with a new king, so he will give the owner of Jupiter a woman and he will give in return The Boy Who Actually Saw A Woman's Breast. The woman in turn is a clone of Eddy, the owner of the Ceres Crossroads who wanted a cat.
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  • Genre Mashup: "surely the best, worst, and only, black-and-white comedy-western-sci-fi rockabilly punk surrealistic musical."
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Curtis woos the Queen of Venus with "The Girl With The Vagina Made of Glass". Despite being played as if it's a Serenade Your Lover scene, the lyrics are incredibly raunchy.
  • Mars Needs Women: Jupiter needs women and Venus needs men.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: A Space Cowboy Science Fiction Musical!
  • No Woman's Land: The entire planet of Jupiter is an all-male mining Company Town whose sole entertainment is listening to The Boy Who Saw a Woman’s Breast describe ("briefly and arrogantly") his encounter with said body part.
  • One-Gender Race: Venusians are all women, except for their king they need to mate with. Jupiter men are actually hired and brought from all over the space system.
  • The Unreveal: The audience is left in the dark about Sam and the Professor’s shared past when the movie enters into a slideshow-like montage of Sam and the Boy just as Sam begins to explain. Nevertheless, they both seem to find the story hilarious.
  • Used Future: This version of space consists mostly of grease monkeys, miners and hard-boiled thieves.
  • Villainous Breakdown: It is not unusual for Professor Hess to fall into this every once in a while.
  • We Will Use Manual Labor in the Future: Miners on Jupiter all look like they’ve been digging coal in West Virginia in the 1920s, for example. Even spaceship repair involves a lot more hammers than software.
  • You All Meet in an Inn: Ceres' Crossroads, set on Ceres.

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