Little Review on A Prairie
I just got back from seeing a sneak preview of A Prairie Home Companion (Courtesy of Indiana Public Radio) and I found it to be a slight, but enjoyable film. Chronicling the last performance of a fictionalized APHC, the movie brings together the talents of Robert Altman and Garrison Keillor and they successfully bring Keillor's world to life. In fact, part of the film's fun is to see the radio cast (Tom Keith, Sue Scott, Tim Russell) interacting with longtime Prairie Home characters (private eye Guy Noir, cowboys Dusty Lefty). However, for somebody who just fallen in love with Altman's classic Nashville, I felt a bit underwhelmed by his latest. Of course, it's not the movie's fault it isn't Nashville, that's my own hang-up.
The cast was uniformly great with standouts including Woody Harrelson and John C. Reilly as the singing cowboys, Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin as the Johnson Sisters (They played off each other very nicely), and Maya Randolph as a put-upon stagehand. Virginia Madsen is also on hand, using some of her luminous charm that she established in Sideways and Garrison Keillor plays himself like nobody else. His radio personae successfully makes the leap to screen, flaws and all. Bonus points for featuring regular Prairie Home guests Jearlyn Steele, Prudence Johnson, and Robin & Linda Williams (Thus ensuring I will buy a copy of the soundtrack).
I had a fun time watching APHC, but I just wish there was more to it than there was. Fun, but not memorable.