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A Prairie Home Companion (PG-13)

Release Date: June 9th, 2006 by Picturehouse.
The Cast: Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, Lindsay Lohan, Virginia Madsen, Maya Rudolph, John C. Reilly, Kevin Kline, Tommy Lee Jones, Woody Harrelson, Linda Williams, Robin Williams, Tim Russell, Garrison Keillor.
Directed by Robert Altman.

BASIC PREMISE: A group of singers come together for a live performance of their last radio show of A Prairie Home Companion. Based on the NPR show of the same name hosted by Garrison Keillor.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Whether or not you’re familiar with the real radio show of A Prairie Home Companion, this film version will have you hooked from the very first frame thanks to its talented ensemble cast. The show includes country music songs as well as jokes with G.K. (Keiller) as the witty host. Kevin Kline shines as Guy Noir, a private detective who also serves a clumsy backstage security guard who provides most of the laughs. Everyone else shines, too, especially Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin as sisters Yolanda and Rhonda Johnson, who have a lot of chemistry when they sing together, as well as Dusty (Harrelson) and Lefty (Reilly) two singing cowboys. Fortunately, A Prairie Home Companion is more than just a serious of lively performances: there are also a few subplots going on backstage. One of the subplots feels mysterious as an angel of death (Madsen) visits the set dressed all in white. Meanwhile, Yolanda’s teenager daughter, Lola (Lohan), feels nervous about singing but gets put to the test. There’s also a subtle backstage romance between Rhonda and an old man who loves her. Tommy Lee Jones shows up briefly as Axeman, the greedy business man who buys out the show. Screenwriter Garrison Keillor makes every character unique, warm, funny and memorable. Director Robert Altman shows the same behind-the-camera skills he displayed in another musical of his, Nashville, as he brilliantly weaves together the lively, enchanting ensemble cast both onstage and offstage and lets every single actor have at least one moment to shine brightly.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Other than the overall sense of camaraderie and loyalty between the members of the show during their last performance, none is required or desired. INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.


IN A NUTSHELL: Delightful and enchanting! An irresistibly entertaining gem! Altman is in top form!

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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