• A Prairie Home Companion details

A Prairie Home Companion Synopsis


Director Robert Altman and writer Garrison Keillor join forces with an all-star cast to create a comic backstage fable, A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION, about a fictitious radio variety show that has managed to survive in the age of television. Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin star as the Johnson Sisters, Yolanda and Rhonda, a country duet act that has survived the county-fair circuit, and Lindsay Lohan plays Meryl’s daughter, Lola, who gets her big chance to sing on the show and then forgets the words. Kevin Kline is Guy Noir, a private eye down on his luck who works as a backstage doorkeeper, and Woody Harrelson and John C. Reilly are Dusty and Lefty, the Old Trailhands, a singing cowboy act. Add Virginia Madsen as an angel and Tommy Lee Jones as the Axeman and Maya Rudolph as a pregnant stagehand and Keillor in the role of hangdog emcee, and you have a playful story set on a rainy Saturday night in St. Paul, Minnesota, where fans file into the Fitzgerald Theater to see “A Prairie Home Companion,” a staple of radio station WLT, not knowing that WLT has been sold to a Texas conglomerate and that tonight’s show will be the last.


Not everyone’s an Altman fan; a lot of us just don’t get it. What’s the big deal? His movies are boring, his trademark dialogue confused and sometimes nonsensical. David Lynch’s movies may not make any sense, but at least they’re interesting. But for his fans he’s a god, and they’ll be lined up in droves for his latest, a movie starring, among others, Lindsay Lohan.

What’s an auteur like Altman doing with club whoring pop princess? He knows talent when he sees it. Lindsay has potential, and she’ll take on a pivotal role in his soon to be released A Prairie Home Companion. It’s a backstage fable, in the tradition of hilarious, overlooked movies like Noises Off and Radioland Murders. Will it get more attention than those glossed over bits of greatness? Having an all star cast might help.

A Prairie Home Companion is loaded with big names. Woody Harrelson is putting down his hash pipe to step in and work for Robert. Tommy Lee Jones is on board, John C. Reilly, Meryl Streep, Robin Williams… there’s enough star power in there to own half of Hollywood. Oddly enough, the film’s real star is a Hollywood nobody: Garrison Keillor, the man whose national NPR radio is the basis for the film’s script.

Even if you’re like me and just don’t get what the deal is with Altman, A Prairie Home Companion ought to get your attention. There’s too much talent and too much potential wrapped up in here to be ignored.

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