CinemaDave (cinemadave) wrote,

Grand Ole American Cinema returns with "A Prairie Home Companion"

If the Democrats take over Congress in November,
they can thank Garrison Keillor for presenting the better side of their
political party in a Hollywood motion picture named "A Prairie Home
Companion." Given the Golden Age of radio under the Roosevelt
Administration, "A Prairie Home Companion" presents a rare live broadcast of a
radio variety show with pure Minnesota corn. CBS Democrats have not
looked this good on camera since "Green Acres" and “Petticoat Junction” was
on network television.

The film is narrated by Guy Noir (Kevin Kline), the radio station
security chief who notices an attractive woman in white (Virginia Madsen).
It is the night of the final broadcast of "A Prairie Home Companion"
hosted by Garrison Keillor. Spirits are energized, but as the
broadcast continues forward, a sense of the blues creeps into the cast and crew.
The Axeman and new owner of the building, (Tommy Lee Jones) pays a visit
to the theater with plans to demolish the grand old theatre.

As the Johnson Sisters, Rhonda (Lily Tomlin) and Yolanda (Meryl
Streep) prepare for their duets of raucous Gospel tunes, Lola Johnson
(Lindsey Lohan) writes poems about suicide. Dusty (John C. Reilly) and
Lefty (Woody Harrelson) are singing cowboys who lack the morals of Gene
Autry and Roy Rogers. Scurrying around backstage is the very pregnant
Loretta (Maya Rudolph), the Assistant Stage Manager and Evelyn (Marylouise
Burke), the lunch lady with amorous intentions for
old Chuck Akers ( L.Q. Jones).

Much like Clint Eastwood's latest award winning projects, Director
Robert Altman is aging better than fine beef jerkey. A veteran of
ensemble movies like "M*A*S*H*" "Nashville" and "Short Cuts," Altman herds his
ensemble of actors like a veteran cowboy. His trademark improvised
dialog blends so well in a film about live broadcast radio.

Being the hottest and youngest star of the hour, Lindsey Lohan makes a
wise career choice as Lola. Young with dark thoughts, these character
traits provide a funny payoff when the girl is forced to sing "Frankie
and Johnny were sweethearts" during the show's grand finale. Much Like
Dyan Cannon and Brenda Vaccaro in "The Boynton Beach Club," Meryl
Streep and Lily Tomlin make the Johnson Sisters the nice aunts we all
love to visit.

Woody Harrelson and John C. Reilly had a room full of jaded critics
roaring with laughter during their duet of the song "Bad Jokes." Local radio should be broadcasting this song on the airwaves. As a player from the current “Saturday Night Live”
ensemble, Maya Randolph gives a low key performance as the assistant stage manager who suffers from overwork. Perhaps Randolph may have been feeling a bit guilty for the way she treats stage hands at 30 Rock, she makes her pregnant assistant stage manager a Cinderella martyr. Being the show's master of ceremonies, Garrison Keillor is his usual low key self with no emotional attachments.

Despite Woody Harrelson and John C. Reilly naughty lyrics, "A Prairie Home Companion" works as a piece of good old fashioned wholesome entertainment. “A Prairie Home Companion” is easily one of the best movies of 2006.
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