Digital Breakdown: 'Astronaut Farmer' OK to rent

While some might label “The Astronaut Farmer” a modern-day “Field of Dreams,” the movie is far from the classic that gave us “if you build it, they will come.” Yet something similar is going on; here, the “they” includes the government and the press.

Billy Bob Thornton stars as Charlie Farmer, a Texas “farmer” who happens to have a thing for building rockets. Of course, his activity doesn’t go over too well with the FAA, the FBI and NASA, who want to keep all civilians grounded, literally.

While there are strong performances from Thornton and co-star Virginia Madsen, the movie isn’t the kind of thing you’d pop into the DVD player once a year to relive — it simply isn’t that good. But with two featurettes about the making of the film, it’s a fairly good rental.

Price: $27.95.

Rent or buy: Rent.


MTV’s reality show “My Super Sweet 16” has made the world realize that there are way too many rotten, spoiled little brats running around.

Do a quick Internet search; you’ll find at least three instances of the ungrateful teens on the show who, after being given cars for their birthdays, fly off the hook because they weren’t the right color or the right model, or whatever. (The thought of these rude kids getting cars is simply cringe-inducing for all of us who bought our own spray-painted beaters in high school.).

The two first seasons of the show are now available on DVD, but there’s more. Not only can you relive those wonderful TV moments, you also can check out a new movie based on the show (that no one, apparently, has known about). The film movie stars teen singers Aly and AJ in a tale of — wait for it — birthday parties in which two BFFs (best friends forever, for the uninformed) compete to see who can acquire the most extravagant gifts and lavish party.

If this premise doesn’t represent the worst possible message to send your teenage daughter, then MTV will probably come up with it sooner or later.

Price: $24.99 each.

Rent or buy: Avoid at all costs.


You’d think by now someone would have thought to regenerate the love story between the nasty beast guy and beautiful maiden … maybe in one of today’s popular “fill in the blank and solve the crime” TV formats.

But that hasn’t happened. Luckily, season two of the old series “Beauty and the Beast” starring Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman has come to DVD. Think of it as a “Phantom of the Opera” without the opera. Remember the show’s adventures? Weekly, the beast has to save the beauty from unattractive regular-looking people. Of course it’s schlock, but fans loved it with a passion and still rave about it.

In the end, it’s a show about romance and what two people who love each other must go through to be together.

Price: $50.99.

Rent or buy: Buy — fans only.


Before she was causing all kinds of drama on prime-time soaps, Joan Collins was a sex symbol making films in the 1950s. The “Joan Collins: Superstar Collection” includes “The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing,” “Rally ’Round the Flag Boys!,” “Sea Wife,” “Seven Thieves” and “Stopover Tokyo.”

All five films have been remastered for high definition audio and video. Among the special features are commentaries from film historians, original trailers and classic shorts.

Price: $49.98.

Rent or buy: Buy — fans only.

Other DVDs being released Tuesday: “Extras: The Complete Second Season,” ” Sweet Land ,” “Bewitched: The Complete Fifth Season,” “After the Wedding,” “Thunderpants,” “MGM Film Noir,” “The Contractor” and “The Last Mimzy.”

artsentertainmentOther Arts

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at

Just Posted

Outdoor dining, as seen here at Mama’s on Washington Square in North Beach in September, is expected to resume in San Franisco this week. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF to reopen outdoor dining, personal services

San Francisco will allow outdoor dining and other limited business activity to… Continue reading

Patients line up in their cars to receive a shot at The City’s first mass COVID-19 vaccination site at City College of San Francisco on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Legislation would require SF to create a public COVID-19 vaccine plan — fast

San Francisco’s Department of Public Health would have to come up with… Continue reading

Ian Jameson (center) organized a group of tenant rights activists and assembled at the El Monte City Hall to demand that the City Council there pass an eviction moratorium barring all evictions during the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday, March 29, 2020. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)
California would extend eviction protections to June 30 under proposal

Legislation released Monday would also subsidize rent for low-income tenants

A statue of Florence Nightingale outside the Laguna Honda Hospital is one of only two statues of women in The City. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
S.F. still falling short of goal to represent women in public art

City has few streets or public facilities not named after men

Comedian and actor Bob Odenkirk is among the dozens of performers in Festpocalypse, streaming this weekend to benefit SF Sketchfest. (Courtesy photo)
Bob Odenkirk joins star-studded Festpocalypse gang

Virtual comedy benefit replaces SF Sketchfest this year

Most Read