Space Cowboys (2000)
Geezers in space? Consider it the John Glenn biopic. Clint Eastwood teams up with veteran actors James Garner, Donald Sutherland, and Tommy Lee Jones to save the world with the combined aid of Ensure and adult diapers. But these old-timers show some of the “youngins” what movie entertainment is really all about.
Back in the day when the Air Force was in charge of space related programs Clint and his team were the cream of their crop and scheduled to be the first men to enter the dark void of space. Unfortunately NASA was formulated and the boys got the boot for a cosmo chimp. Now 50 years later the earth is threatened by a falling Russian satellite with technology too ancient that only a select group of experienced men still know to this day. So NASA enlists the help of the very men it backhanded so many moons ago to be drafted into a space operation to halt the plummeting satellite.
For a good while Space Cowboys is a breath of fresh air from a veteran team of actors. The rivalry between Jones and Eastwood as well as the young healthy astronauts versus the elderly-shake-your-hand-at-Wal-Mart astronauts makes for great comedy. The entire core group of actors sparkle with terrific chemistry and on screen presence. They create a jovial fun atmosphere that makes the movie humorous and surprisingly engrossing.
Space Cowboys is not liver-spot free. The direction by Eastwood is often flat and very un-engaging. The entire Russian Cold War spy subplot borders on the absurd, and the romances with women that can be their daughters makes vomit rise into my throat whenever I see their leathery faces suck the life out of those young and nubile girls. When the gentlemen get launched into space the entire movie loses focus and forgets what made it before. The typical space rescue themes abound and you know before they get up there that one of them won’t make it back, and probably do something heroic in the first place.
For the most part Space Cowboys is a reminder that the elderly still know how to put on a good show, even if the last fourth is very lackluster. These cowboys can ride off into the sunset content for a job well done.
Nate’s Grade: B-