Boldly going where no man has gone before, and picking up serious emotional baggage
If movies have taught us anything, it’s that when someone asks if you’re a god, you say yes, and you don’t ever go to space unless you want some deep psychological damage. The following astronauts may have started out their journeys as cool dudes who didn’t give a shit about gravity, but they all came back with guilt and PTSD (if they came back at all). We guess not all spacemen can be as carefree as Buzz Aldrin.
Rockhound (Steve Buscemi), Armageddon
Photo: Walt Disney/Everett Collection | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012
It’s no surprise that, of all the guys on the “save Earth from a giant asteroid while rocking to Aerosmith” crew, Steve Buscemi was the one to completely lose it. What else do you expect from a dude who single-handedly made every woman in Hollywood the scariest thing since Freddy Krueger? Rockhound’s missile rodeo tricks and shooting spree are not signs of mental wellness, so we can only hope he followed up saving the world with a trip to the shrink.
Dave (Keir Dullea), 2001: A Space Odyssey
Photo: MGM/Everett Collection | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012
On top of that whole robot going rogue incident, Dave gets stalked by a giant black monolith and turned into a baby trapped in a glowball during his time in outer space. That’s bound to leave some scars, as well as total, utter confusion.
George Taylor (Charlton Heston), The Planet of the Apes
Photo: Twentieth Century Fox/Everett Collection | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012
On paper, a planet full of monkeys doesn’t sound so bad. The tree house market would boom, your pals would make sure you’re bug-free and no one would suffer potassium deficiency thanks to all the bananas. But as Astronaut George Taylor’s experience proves, if you give an ape some power, he turns into a total assclown. Going home and finding that your favorite diner has closed is a bummer, but finding that your world has been overtaken by ego-tripping chimps? That’s unfathomapele! (We’re available for monologue jokes, Mr. Letterman.)
Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), Moon
Photo Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classic | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012
It’s kinda hard to talk about Sam Bell’s harrowing lunar mission without giving away the movie’s big twist, but trust us, it’s a doozy. Do not, we repeat, do not be fooled by the inclusion of Katrina and the Waves.
Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon), Apollo 13
Photo: Mary Evans/Everett Collection | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012
You could make the case for any of the Apollo 13 men, since they went through some messed up stuff. But we’re guessing the guy who sorta caused the whole tank explosion and was only a backup for original team member Mattingly in the first place suffered the most lasting distress. Like, he wasn’t even supposed to be there, man! He probably hasn’t spoken to Houston since.
Gus Grissom (Fred Ward), The Right Stuff
Photo: Warner Bros./Everett Collection | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012
Fucking up your mission and almost drowning in the process is bad enough. But when everyone’s secretly pissed at you for flubbing, it really stings, no matter how many trombone parades you get to attend. Things only got worse when his asshole son maxed out his credit cards on that crazy road trip.
Spencer Armacost (Johnny Depp), The Astronaut’s Wife
Photo: New Line Cinema/Everett Collection | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012
Really, no one has it rougher than Charlize Theron in The Astronaut’s Wife. She thinks her husband’s dead, then he isn’t but he’s possessed by an alien, mutant babies start growing inside her, a mirror tells her Kristen Stewart is prettier — she just can’t catch a break. Still, nothing says astronaut trauma quite like getting jumped by an evil alien and subsequently losing your family. Oh, some computer was mean to you, Dave? Grow up, loser.