The Movie Binge

Review: A Prairie Home Companion


A Prairie Home Companion: The Movie? What’s next? John Cusack as Ira Glass in This American Life? A trilogy about the Car Talk guys with Nic Cage and Larry the Cable Guy (I want credit if this comes to pass)?!? Yes my dear text-messaging ipod-listening Deal or No Deal-watching short attention spanned friends, radio still exists and I’m not just talking about the kind where Opie and Anthony ask people to fornicate in Churches.

Leave it to heart transplantified, Oscar recognized, octogernarian Robert Altman to remind us that yes radio does exist and you know what, there’s even a quality movie about a program or two to be made from it. Alright, let’s get the Altman stuff out of the way up front. Worshippers at the church of Nashville and McCabe & Mrs. Miller, prepare yourselves. I’m not a huge fan. Do I respect him? Sure. Do I actually ENJOY any of his films? Umm...err...The Player was aight. Okay so now you know where I’m coming from. Having admitted my prejudice I gotta say I had a thoroughly grand old time with A Prairie Home Companion. It’s a company of folks well worth spending a summer night with.

A Prairie Home Companion is another one of Altman’s let’s put on a show kinda jaunts. It seems the long cherished radio show A Prairie Home Companion, is going the way of the bald eagle now that a corporation (embodied by Tommy lee Jones in an odd little performance) has bought it’s home theater up. So here we are on the final night of a show that teems with more characters than any one film has a right to (couldn’t they have lent one of these charming folks to use in The Da Vinci Code? Yawn...).

Now despite the red carpet photos you’ve seen, Lindsay Lohan is not the star of this film. Sorry you Parent Trap groupies. But, yes there’s a but, The Linds-er ain’t bad. She’s the morose, would be poet daughter of Meryl Streep and manages to leave an impression among this galaxy of stars. Speaking of which you’ve got plenty to enjoy: Kevin Kline as the show’s security investigator who seems to have walked in from Altman’s own The Long Goodbye, Meryl and Lily Tomlin as wonderfully eccentric and loquacious sisters, John C. Reilly and Woody Harrelson as a couple of singing cowpokes, and let’s not forget the man who made it all possible...a truly great turn by Prairie Home creator (and the credited screenwriter here) Garrison Keillor. With a voice that could (and does) enrapture millions and a face that must belong to the secret long lost father of The Office’s Rainn Wilson (has no one else noticed the similarity?!?) he’s the glue to this little gem of a summer alternative.