Main cast: Clint Eastwood (Frank Corvin), Tommy Lee Jones (Hawk Hawkins), James Garner (Tank Sullivan), Donald Sutherland (Jerry O’Nell), James Cromwell (Bob Gerson), Marcia Gay Harden (Sara Holland), William Devane (Flight Director Eugene “Gene” Davis), Loren Dean (Ethan Glance), Courtney B Vance (Roger Hines), Rade Šerbedžija (General Vostov), and Barbara Babcock (Barbara Corvin)
Director: Clint Eastwood
This vain glorification of geriatrics as cool gets my vote. Not because I’m as close to geriatric as they come, ahem, but because Space Cowboys entertains supremely.
Frank Corvin’s old enemy and boss Bob Gerson asks him if he can get his butt up to space to reprogram a Russian satellite which has gone haywire and is about to come crashing down on us all. Frank will only do so if he can do it with his old team of old geezers. All missed their chance to take-off to space 42 years before (they are replaced by NASA astronauts, poor things, and monkeys, of all insults). So we have our Elderly Quartet going off to play Armageddon with a touch of Cocoon-style feel-good warmth.
Sure, it’s fun to see old coots rebonding and realizing that life can start at 70. Or 80. The first hour or so of this movie is just enjoyable. But unfortunately, someone decides to throw in some silly Cold War subplot and some really long, self-indulgent scenes. Especially the latter are scenes of Frank bossing around younger people. Just when the movie makes a statement about respecting our elders because old people still can save the world, it contradicts itself by telling young people to tolerate the eccentricities and nonsense of their elders because they’re, well, old.
It will be nice to see a movie where the elderly succeed on the account of their ability and not because of their age, but while Space Cowboys isn’t that movie, it’s still decent entertainment. Despite the eventual degeneration into self-indulgent feel-good-or-die-buster muzak in the late quarter of the movie, it still manages to get me shedding a tear or two.