Here's a timely little conspiracy film. Well, sort of timely. It was made in an era when we thought that a manned mission from Mars might very well happen during our lifetimes. I doubt that many people think that now, but as I write this on Sunday evening, the rover Curiosity is headed for Mars. I hope it's more successful than the mission in this movie. (Update: It was.)
You see, the problem is that the Mars mission is going to fail, so the head of NASA sets up a fake landing that'll be filmed in the desert. The astronauts don't want to go along, but finally they agree. When the Mars rocket burns up on reentry, they realize they can't be allowed to live. Their lives depend on Elliot Gould, an intrepid investigative reporter.
I enjoyed this movie quite a bit when I saw it in the theater years ago. How long? Well, O. J. Simpson plays one of the astronauts, which should give you a clue. He's not bad in the part, either, though not up to Hal Holbrook, Gould, and Sam Waterston. One of the other astronauts is James Brolin. I don't know if Gould was still married to Barbra Streisand at the time this movie was made, but I do know that Brolin is married to her now. Not that it has anything to do with this movie, which is worth your time if it shows up on your cable channel.