Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A Prairie Home Companion

I went to see Prairie Home Companion at the Princess Twin tonight.

Directed by Robert Altman.
Starring Marylouise Burke, Woody Harrelson, LQ Jones, Tommy Lee Jones, Garrison Keillor, Kevin Kline, Meryl Streep & Lindsay Lohan.
Director Robert Altman and writer Garrison Keillor join forces with an all-star cast to create a comic backstage fable, "A Prairie Home Companion," about a fictitious radio variety show that has managed to survive in the age of television. On a rainy Saturday night in St. Paul, Minn., fans file into the Fitzgerald Theater to see "A Prairie Home Companion," a staple of radio station WLT, not knowing that WLT has been sold to a Texas conglomerate and that tonight's show will be the last. Shot entirely in the Fitzgerald, except for the opening and closing scenes which take place in a nearby diner, the picture combines Altman's cinematic style and intelligence and love of improvisation and Keillor's songs and storytelling to create a fictional counterpart to the actual "A Prairie Home Companion" radio show, which has heard on public radio stations coast to coast for the past quarter-century (and which, in real life, continues to broadcast). The result is a compact tale with a series of extraordinary acting turns.
There are some really good performances: Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin play the Johnson Sisters, Yolanda and Rhonda, a country duet act that has survived the county-fair circuit - they are wonderful together. Kevin Kline as Guy Noir, a Keaton-esque private eye down on his luck who works as a backstage doorkeeper. Woody Harrelson and John C. Reilly are Dusty and Lefty, the Old Trailhands, a singing cowboy act. Even Lindsay Lohan who plays Meryl’s daughter, Lola, is not bad.

My big disappointment with the film is that there wasn't more Garrison Keillor storytelling. He is one of the masters of the art. Recovery of story is not just a post-modern thing.

Link to the Prarie Home Companion radio program.
Stuart MacLean's Vinyl Cafe is the closest Canadian counterpart.


nadine said...

I've been wanting to see that. I love Streep. And John C. Reilly. And Altman.

Would you say that it's worth the $10 admission, or should I wait for the rental? My funds are limited, but I'm willing to work an extra hour for a movie that's actually had half-decent reviews...

pastor mike said...

it's good - i saw it for $7
wait for the rental