The American Astronaut
The American Astronaut is one of the freshest 91 minutes of celluloid to hit the screen, and now DVD, in some time. Cory McAbee, singer/songwriter/electric autoharpist for the band The Billy Nayer Show, takes writing and directing responsibility for this totally original, offbeat comedy. He also stars as a no-nonsense interplanetary trader who barters a cat for a girl-in-a-box to be traded for a boy to be used as a stud on an all-women planet in return for a dead body. Oh, and he wins dance contests. You’ll either love or hate this black-and-white, Jarmuschian-paced film, but it’s won more laurel wreaths at festivals than 97 percent of the schlock coming out of Hollywood. It’s a well-executed piece of lo-fi noir that relies more on creative storytelling and a character-driven plot than big-name actors and explosions. The wide-screen, surround-sound DVD includes director’s commentary, production stills, drawings, storyboards, sidewalk drawings, and French and Spanish subtitles.