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Renegade Rocket Mensch?

February 8, 2007 By:
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Charles Farmer, Man of La Moonshot?

Impossible dreams, indeed! A Texas lone ranger enraging the feds by building his own rocket to soar into orbit?

What is this -- a Polish joke?

No, a Polish fantasy.

Meet Mark and Michael Polish, twins with a singular vision of getting movies made. The Polish princes -- Bobby Vinton, move over -- polish off films that either have audiences scratching their heads or itching to see the next one.

Their latest, "The Astronaut Farmer," is no exception as it enters the countdown for a Feb. 23 opening.

With its iconoclastic blast at the government and gainsayers who try to stop Billy Bob Thornton's Farmer in the delirious ambition he hugs around him -- of making his own MySpace out of the high heavens -- has the movie generated heat from the higher-ups?

Surprisingly, it's an all-go response of yes sir, that's my baby; NASA, don't mean maybe.

"We've gotten a lot of support from NASA, and from former astronauts going out to speak on behalf of the movie," relates Michael Polish of the "forgotten rock stars" who get a booster rocket in their pocket with the film, in which Thornton's Farmer is a thorn in the oy of the government as he plans to make mission control his mission impossible, and build his own rocket to launch from his barn.

A barn-burner? In more ways than one: You don't have to be a rocket scientist to build an unusual movie, but it certainly helps in getting it off the ground when you have Billy Bob Thornton as your rocket mensch.

Major star power that got their film thrust forward, acknowledge the brothers.

If Billy Bob gave them lift off, they also got a lift from having Bruce Willis come aboard for a small but crucial role.

"Mr. Thornton," answers Mark of who helped bring him on board.

Bored is what a viewer will never be watching a Polish production, notably their first film, "Twin Falls, Idaho," in which the twins fell into a barrage of media speculation over their choice of scripting a story about Siamese twins. Everybody thought that having conjoined twins as the stars -- the separate but equal brothers played the parts -- was strangely real.

"Some people thought that we were conjoined," adds Michael.

Only at the talent bone. But then, they're also joined at the hip with their dad, who inspired both to pursue their strange but true travel to fame and "Farmer."

"The values he raised us on -- do what you think is important, work hard at it -- were the same as Charles gives to his children."

Sort of a Texas tikkun olam.

And the Polish twins' own children may value their fathers' recent gifts, too: small but important roles as small-fry members of "The Astronaut Farmer" family.

They may value the parts, even if they don't understand them, kibitz the two brothers of the kids too young to have stars in their eyes.

There's a Sequel?
But when it comes to family values, not only did the Polish brothers' dad plug them into the real world, he channeled their dreams: He gave them HBO when they were just totskeles.

"Watching movies was a big influence" on our career, according to Mark, who remembers how he and his brother would watch HBO films "over and over" again, especially "Mad Max."

What was maddening more than anything was the fact that "we didn't know there was a sequel to it, until we heard of 'The Road Warrior.' "

From Mel Gibson to the pell-mell nature of the picture business, the kids who once needed help are now making book on it.

The Polish twins have written The Declaration of Independent Filmmaking, a self-help book for the hoopla hapless who don't know which way to turn when opportunity turns their way.

Whether it's a star turn -- Mark is producer/writer/FBI agent Mathis while Michael is director/producer/writer of "The Astronaut Farmer" -- or one is just at the beginning of the road to riches, the book is a primer for motion picture professionals.

If "The Astronaut Farmer" is a road movie, it's the one that rockets to the moon as dreamers orbit their dreams, hoping to land the big one.

For the Polish "boys" -- born California dreamin' -- this one could very well be their "one big step for man, one giant leap" for their kind of movie-making.

In a way, they're just kids shooting marbles -- albeit the awesome scene they shot of the earth seen as a marble from space is jaw-dropping.

But then, these two are happy to be on their own kind of space oddball odyssey, where their cast of characters are more apt to climb Space Mountain than Kilimanjaro.

Houston may have a problem, but Hollywood's lassoed a couple of rising stars in these indie innovators, who go full tilt at their own weekend box-office windmills.

· · ·

Borat, Israel -- at war?

Watch out, Tel Aviv, here come those scum missiles!

Actually, it's not Israel but an Israeli who's talking about taking Sacha Baron Cohen to court, suing the Kazakhstan Kibitzer for inappropriately appropriating a tagline.

And it isn't "Throw the Jews Down the Well."

Israeli comic Dovale Glickman claims that "Wawaweewa," which Borat bleats anytime he sees a close relative he'd like to have sex with, is his, an expression associated with him, he says, for at least the past 16 years.

Indeed, according to a report, the Israeli has used "Wawaweewa" in waging commercials on behalf of Israel's phone directories.

"Movie Mania" hears a totally unfounded rumor that Borat has acceded, and will now go with a totally authentic substitute.

Listen for "La-de-dah" soon at a "Running of the Jew" near you. 

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