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Prairie Home Companion 2006 PG-13 CC

Golden Globe-winner Robert Altman directs an all-star cast in this fictionalized film account of Garrison Keeler's popular radio program.

Starring:
Marylouise Burke, Woody Harrelson
Runtime:
1 hour, 45 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Music, Comedy
Director Robert Altman
Starring Marylouise Burke, Woody Harrelson
Supporting actors L.Q. Jones, Tommy Lee Jones, Garrison Keillor, Kevin Kline, Lindsay Lohan, Virginia Madsen, John C. Reilly, Maya Rudolph, Tim Russell, Sue Scott, Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, Tom Keith, Jearlyn Steele, Robin Williams, Linda Williams, Prudence Johnson, Richard A. Dworsky
Studio Warner Bros.
MPAA rating PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

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I wish I'd said this: A Prairie Home Companion is a lovely film about death, and with some great bad jokes. Death and how we deal with it drifts through the film like a dream, but it turns out to be real. Word has gotten around that the 30-year-old radio program is giving its last show. The theater where it has been broadcast from all these years has been sold and will be turned into a parking lot. A woman in a white trench coat moves dream-like through the place, searching for a person whose time has come, and then finds him. And then she finds another. Memories of past successes are talked about, but sometimes not. Reminiscences are wept over or laughed over. The backstage emergencies happen and are dealt with and the radio show goes on. It's just a marvelous movie. People who dislike the actual A Prairie Home Companion will probably not like this movie. Those who do like the radio show I'm sure are going to run out and buy the DVD of the movie as soon as it's available.

Garrison Keillor is not center stage so much as he's the imperturbable head guy who isn't always there, even when he's there. Most of the regular members of the radio show are present, as well as some new names. Lily Tomlin and Meryl Streep are incredibly authentic and incredibly funny/poignant as the two remaining members, Rhonda and Yolanda Johnson, of a country-music family singing group. Woody Harrelson and John C. Reilly are great as the dim cowboys, Lefty and Dusty. Their bad-jokes song is one of the highlights. Guy Noir looking like Kevin Kline tries to keep a lid on the crises. Streep and Tomlin (and Harrelson and Reilly) sing their own stuff and they are first class. Tomlin, in particular, gives a terrific performance as Rhonda, tough, funny, a little bitter and a trooper.
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This is definitely one of the most entertaining film experiences I've had in a while. Garrison Keillor plays himself in this musical dramady that depicts the sundown performance of the popular National Public Radio program "A Prairie Home Companion". Robert Altman directs the screenplay by Keillor. The film is nostalgic in timbre with elements of noir detective mystery. Keillor's dry and straight-faced humor coupled with the stellar performances of the star studded caste makes this film a must see. I saw it in a packed theatre which helped create the experience of actually being in the audience of the real show. As the show's last performance ensues, we are given a look into the private lives of the shows performers and the past life of one of the show's listeners. "A Prairie Home Companion" is smart, funny and musically astute, just like the real show. NPR fans will get an extra lift from this flick but anyone with a bit of wit and an ear for great story telling is bound to find this movie enjoyable. Highly Recommended!
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No movie has packed more punch than Robert Altman's "Nashville" as a criticism of life, a chilling yet exhilarating dissection of a culture incapable of living the examined life. Altman was in control with that film, seizing upon a "real" place as a microcosmic landscape of mid-1970's America, then orchestrating the actions of characters who ironically have lost their place. But Garrison Keillor is himself the personification of control, a highly skilled literary and dramatic artist not the least of whose creations is the wise and witty persona serving as host of his faux-retro radio show, which is his own criticism of life.

Altman captures Keillor's cosmos, but nowhere does it acquire the life-like authenticity of "Nashville," "The Player," or "Gosford Park." The ironies that Altman's camera normally exposes have already been attended to by another ironist of undeniable brilliance. This is Keillor country, ordered exactly as its creator writes, acts, narrates, and sings it. I've attended a broadcast of "Prairie Home Companion" and found it curiously distant and unengaging, my presence and that of the rest of the audience serving as props, or a bit of window dressing, for the purpose of establishing the show's credibility for a home audience. In fact, the entire premise of the movie is absurd--the last broadcast of a folksy variety radio show that was never more than a contrived simulation from the start. As a place, Nashville took itself seriously. By contrast, Keillor's "Prairie Home Companion" has the feeling of those small town renovations with anachronistic gas lanterns, pricey soda fountains and quaint antique shops.
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2 Comments 68 of 86 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
Since 1974, the radio show "A Prairie Home Companion" has been broadcast from St. Paul, Minnesota. The brainchild of Garrison Keillor, the show has been a fixture of National Public Radio for years, usually airing on Saturdays from 5 to 7 P.M. Central Time. Its current home is the Fitzgerald Theatre (formerly the World). Each show features a storytelling monologue from Keillor, claiming to be a report from his fictitious home of Lake Wobegon, "the little town that time forgot and the decades cannot improve." The show also includes folksy music of the Grand Ole Opry school and commercials for such fictitious products as Powdermilk Biscuits, Bebop-a-reebop Rhubarb Pie, Jack's Warm Car Service, and Bertha's Kitty Boutique.

Turning the radio show into a movie was the task of director Robert Altman ("M*A*S*H," "Gosford Park"), known for his ability to elicit improvisational performances from his actors, create intriguing ensemble casts, and put his personal, inimitable stamp on his films. "A Prairie Home Companion" entered theatres like a whisper, rather than with the huge publicity push that accompanies most new movies. And that seems appropriate for such a low-key, gentle film. Like the radio show, the movie focuses on spirited entertainment but also gives us revealing glimpses of backstage relationships as the stars and technical crew discuss their personal lives, reminisce about their careers or simply allow us to savor their eccentric characters.

The premise of the movie is that "A Prairie Home Companion" is solely a local broadcast and this one is its last. A mixture of nostalgia, sentiment, steely show biz acceptance, and nonchalance pervades the wings of the theatre.

GK (Keillor) is the emcee and host of the show.
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