By Sam Rubinroit, 14, Malibu HS
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Everyone has a dream, whether it’s being an NBA basketball player or getting straight A’s. No one else can define our dreams. However, everywhere we turn, we see people settling for good rather than striving for great. In the new movie, The Astronaut Farmer, Charles Farmer is not someone to let anyone or anything stand in the way of his dream.

Farmer (Billy Bob Thornton) dreamed of going up in space since childhood. Although he was forced to drop out of the NASA astronaut program when his father died suddenly and he had to take over the family farm, Farmer was not about to let that stop him. So he did what any person would do: he built a rocket in his barn. But then the authorities found out. When Farmer tried to buy 10,000 pounds of fuel for his rocket, it caught the attention of the FBI, NASA and just about every news station in the world. Even though the FBI let it be known that he would be shot down if he attempted to launch, Farmer, with the support of his wife (Virginia Madsen), and three kids, keeps striving to fulfill his vision.

I really enjoyed the movie. Every time you think Farmer’s dream is finished, he finds a way to bounce back, even after his first launch lands him in the hospital rather than in orbit. The movie is an exciting ride through the eyes of a dreamer, and captures you emotionally because of the support of his friends and family.

I had an opportunity to talk with Billy Bob Thornton and Virginia Madsen, stars of The Astronaut Farmer, about their dreams and challenges. I also had the honor of speaking to Rick Searfoss, a U.S. astronaut, who is one of only 100 people to have commanded a space mission, about the difficulties of building a rocket and the future of space travel. Click here to check out those interviews.