A final live variety show broadcast via radio becomes a metaphor for the natural order of life. A concept and script by Garrison Keilor uses every natural and technical element of working with a tight and close ensemble producing a weekly show to sooth us and guide us through the natural but difficult transitions of aging, becoming less relevant and then dying as new, young life develops and strengthens during our final "performances." This is a rare film for it's remarkable cast and crew and one wonders how the great Robert Altman was able to gather them all at the same place and time to shoot this film. Written by
The cigarette behind Guy Noir's ear changes positions between shots. See more »
Market reports today, barrows and gilts uh two hundred twenty to two hundred sixty pounds, they're lower at forty dollars uh sows are steady three hundred five hundred pounds thirty four to thirty seven dollars going over to feeder cattle, beef steers - one hundred twenty to one hundred fifty dollars and two hundred to three hundred
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There is a credit for Sign Painter in the film, although it does not appear on the official site. See more »
An acquired taste, but I think I acquired it before I was born
Altman has created the anti-Hollywood, which I'm sure was not by accident. A true gem.
It's a shame that this was not a more commercially successful vehicle. The ensemble cast is superb, without exception. Garrison Keillor has a face made for radio, but I understand why he has to play himself. Nice baritone, but those are weapons-grade eyebrows.
Altman pokes fun at standard 21st century American movie fare, but mid-20th century radio gets lampooned pretty well too. The eponymous radio show, the state of Minnesota, and mindless belief all takes it in the slats. Even irony itself is not safe from Altman's watchful eye. It's deliciously subtle and, by starts, wonderfully bawdy. Paying attention pays dividends. Doing subtle right takes a lot of work.
One of the sweet surprises is that people you knew could act can also sing: Merryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, Woody Harrelson (not a typo), Lindsey Lohan, and John C. Reilly croon. Where else could they strut such stuff? Underplaying their roles, never stealing a scene, letting the well-written script be the star. Kevin Kline was never better, not even in "Wanda". Al Gore's old roommate is heartlessly evil.
I'm glad I watched it alone because I felt free to laugh out loud. That would have been out of character with the movie.
It's unlikely you would only like this movie. You'll love it or run the other way. I didn't want it to end.
Don't look for a sequel.
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