skulls across america

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

a prairie home companion to recent film viewings

After a long spell of no film viewing, its been quite the whirlwind. City of God last night, the 2nd half of Groundhog Day a few nights back, and the Temple of Doom before that. And Sunday night, A Prairie Home Companion.

Being an Altman fan, it was kind of special to finally see one of his films on its first run, in the theater, even if it was a Carmike "10 to 15 minutes of TV commercials before the previews, 99 cent surcharge to use a debit card (no credit cards accepted)" theater. And I'll admit, about the first ten minutes of the film had me concerned. As we jumped back and forth between the interesting backstage scenes, I wondered- was there going to be a narrative, a plot, or would this simply be a 2 hour display of interesting folks doing interesting things, as some reviews had suggested?

My concerns were unfounded. Perhaps some of the early scenes overdo it, play as too eccentric with folks we've just met, but the film very quickly finds propulsion, as the in-film performance of the last installment of A Prairie Home Companion kicks off. From there its a blast, as the cast really blows the lid off the place with their on-stage performances, intruige stalks the backstage, and various threads wind towards the last moments of the radio show. The film seemed focused for Altman, but that's probably because there's so little overlapping dialogue, and by so little, I'm comparing it to, say, Mash, Nashville, and California Split. All in all, a fantastic show- and also a great reminder of how funny Woody Harrelson can be.


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