Space Cowboys

2000, US, 130 min.

Forty years after he was exiled from a nascent program called NASA, engineer Frank Corvin (Clint Eastwood, who also directed and produced) is recruited to retrieve an out-of-orbit Russian satellite with his antiquated guidance system. He agrees on one condition: he will do the job with his long-disbanded Air Force team, who have exactly zero astronaut experience. Old tensions and new challenges emerge as Frank and his crew (Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland and James Garner) hastily train and then head into space. What elevates the film beyond the “seniors proving themselves” gimmick is its embrace of friendship and sacrifice as qualities that ripen with time. This crowd-pleaser radiates heart and warmth, thanks to the first-rate cast, led by Jones as an irascible daredevil forced to confront his mortality.