Thursday, June 15, 2006

Film - A Prairie Home Companion


Charming but tedious. Based on the real life radio show that was the inspiration for CBC Radio's popular The Vinyl Cafe.

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Tonight is the final episode of the long-runing live radio show, a variety show with mostly country and folk performers who often sing the sponsors' ads. The theatre was sold and is to be torn down to make a parking lot. Virginia Madsen shows up as an angel, but in reality, an angel of death. Tommy Lee Jones shows up as the company's man in charge of shutting down the theatre.

The performances are marvelous. Who knew that Meryl Streep could carry a tune and look like a real singer? Look for the real sound effects guy from the radio show. Some people have said that director Robert Altman has finally made a legitimate actress out of Lindsay Lohan, but I think she was fine in Mean Girls. Her performance here is all right but certainly not spectacular.

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Not much happens in the film, save for the behind the scenes ongoings of a live production. Plenty of fun live performances. The best performances are from the duo of Dusty (Woody Harrelson) and Lefty (John. C. Reilly), two singing cowboys who lace their songs with risque humour.

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So, why was this film made? Was it a cash grab on behalf of Garrison Keillor, who needs to retire someday? Was the charm of the real radio show strong enough to warrant some type of fictional film rendition?

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