Creating titles is an art by itself. Ask the guys who created this quirky, feel good movie called ‘The Astronaut Farmer’. Two years back, I came across a review for this movie that had just been released. Curiosity was definitely a factor in making me google the name and find out more about it. First impression – the movie is about an astronaut who now lives his life as a farmer. Spot on. More to come later.
The power of a title can be the biggest advertisement for a product, feature or service. Case in point – FCUK. This British based fashion chain puts the ‘jumble word’ effect from our daily papers to brilliant use here. While implying a little mentioned act (at least publicly), it also combines the British craze for football (FC) and continues the passion of cool Britannia (UK). Well, now that was my immediate reaction to the buzz that this brand generated. I got most of my analysis right till I got to the name origin part. FC actually stood for French Connection. No other explanation for this except that FCUK was exploited in the jumbled sense to the full. Samples – t-shirts sold with “fcuk fashion”, “fcuk this”, “hot as fcuk”, “mile high fcuk”, “too busy to fcuk” etc. I am sure you got the picture… oops the tag.
Fashion brands are tops when it comes to names. From names of the creators themselves (Armani, Jimmy Choo’s, and the latest sensation Jason Wu who got to design Michelle Obama’s inaugural presidential ball dress) to names that just plain stick out (GAP, Banana Republic, Osh Kosh Bigosh, they still make those) there’s a naming factory out there ready to christen the next Benjamin Button who starts off with bell bottoms before trooping out with half pants.
Cars too are not spared from the quirky title mix. You had Ford Edsel (The only Edsel I knew till 10th standard was a classmate), Tata Sumo, Tata Mobile (now do you remember this vehicle), Dolphin (which would have had Greenpeace sucking on its exhaust pipe if they ever new it existed) and half a dozen oddball vehicles with equally pun-intended names.
So now – back to the ‘Astronaut Farmer’. If this title did not raise eyebrows, then I don’t think your beautician/stylist/plastic surgeon could ever do the same for you. Astronaut and farmer are two words so far apart in imagery and vision that connecting them would be nightmare even for the Sandman. But the movie did do that and how. Billy Bob Thornton plays a former trainee astronaut who just missed out on getting into the space programme and now spent his days looking after his family farm along with his family. He wants to realise his mission to space and sets off on doing it on his own.
Simple premise explained from the title onwards, this movie had its title directing every action in it. Watch it to understand what I mean. Astronaut Farmer is a phrase that comes to mind in virtually every scene you see in this movie. I would question the independent picture tag attached to this movie, what with a lot of cameos and heavy special effects, but I would still recommend this quirky, feel good movie to someone who had a trying day at office and who needs to unwind.
P.S. The Polish Brothers who directed and produced this film have a reputation for independent, quirky pictures. Any feedback on this team’s other movies are most welcome. Hey btw, have you noticed the rise of sibling teams in Hollywood – Wachowski Brothers, Pang Brothers, Coen Brothers, Farelly Brothers, Warner Brothers …