Space Jerky!

The opening montage of The American Astronaut, after our hero’s bumpy landing on Ceres in his railroad spacecraft, is of him fixing up everything that’s fallen down, intercut with dry-shaving his whiskers off, tidying up his sideburns, and greasing back his hair. It’s about then that it becomes clear that this isn’t a sci-fi western, it’s a biker sci-fi western, a collision of fifties pulp films that’s so cheerfully and enthusiastically mixed up that it’s a wonder it isn’t also a musical.

It’s also a musical.

Mostly it works because of Writer/Director/Star Cory McAbee, who grits his way through, looking like Harvey Keitel crossed with Hugh Jackman. Sometimes it doesn’t work: there are a few Lynchian touches that really jar, but for the most part it’s just a great weird black-and-white no-budget B-Movie. The closest comparison is that it’s the kind of thing 2000ad would run in its heyday: Space saloons! Killer professors! All-male mining colonies enthralled by “the boy who once saw a woman’s breast”!