The American Astronaut

Astronauts roam the galaxy like homeless cowpokes in Cory McAbee's tripped-out, low-budget comic space opera (2001), a ripping yarn about a nearly broke intergalactic trader (McAbee) transporting a 16-year-old boy to a nearly all-female colony on Venus while being chased by the murderous Professor Hess (played with wonderful understatement by Rocco Sisto). Mott Hupfel II's noirish photography, Pete Beaudreau's smooth editing, and McAbee's wry script are all wonderful, and Dawn Weisberg's costumes are especially killer (the Venusian women dress like southern belles—hoopskirts, fans, and all). 91 min.

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