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A Prairie Home Companion
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A Prairie Home Companion (2006) More at IMDbPro »

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A Prairie Home Companion -- A look at what goes on backstage during the last broadcast of America's most celebrated radio show, where singing cowboys Dusty and Lefty, a country music siren, and a host of others hold court.


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Garrison Keillor (screenplay)
Garrison Keillor (story) ...
View company contact information for A Prairie Home Companion on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
9 June 2006 (USA) See more »
Radio like you've never seen it before. See more »
A look at what goes on backstage during the last broadcast of America's most celebrated radio show, where singing cowboys Dusty and Lefty, a country music siren, and a host of others hold court. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
6 wins & 20 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Lake Wobigon Daze See more (280 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Marylouise Burke ... Lunch Lady

Woody Harrelson ... Dusty

L.Q. Jones ... Chuck Akers

Tommy Lee Jones ... The Axeman

Garrison Keillor ... GK

Kevin Kline ... Guy Noir

Lindsay Lohan ... Lola Johnson

Virginia Madsen ... Dangerous Woman

John C. Reilly ... Lefty

Maya Rudolph ... Molly

Tim Russell ... Stage Manager

Sue Scott ... Makeup Lady

Meryl Streep ... Yolanda Johnson

Lily Tomlin ... Rhonda Johnson
Tom Keith ... Himself - Sound Effects Man
Jearlyn Steele ... Herself
Robin Williams ... Himself
Linda Williams ... Herself
Prudence Johnson ... Herself
Richard A. Dworsky ... The Guys All-Star Shoe Band - Piano, Organ, Bandleader (as Richard Dworsky)
Pat Donohue ... The Guys All-Star Shoe Band - Guitar
Andy Stein ... The Guys All-Star Shoe Band - Violin, Saxophone
Gary Raynor ... The Guys All-Star Shoe Band - Bass
Arnie Kinsella ... The Guys All-Star Shoe Band - Drums
Peter Ostroushko ... Featured Musician - Mandolin / Fiddle
Butch Thompson ... Featured Musician - Clarinet
Christopher K. Grap ... Axeman's Chauffeur

Debbie DeLisi ... Lobby Usher
Bob Douglas ... Musician Extra
Adam Granger ... Musician Extra
Bill Hinkley ... Musician Extra
John Koerner ... Musician Extra
Judy Larson ... Musician Extra
Dan Newton ... Musician Extra
Jon Pankake ... Musician Extra
Dick Rees ... Musician Extra
Becky Schlegel ... Musician Extra
Pop Wagner ... Musician Extra
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kati Batchelder ... Radio Show Fan (uncredited)
Donna Marie Beard ... Radio Show Fan (uncredited)

Ray Beasley ... Radio Show Fan (uncredited)
Rita Cannon ... Radio Show Fan (uncredited)
Michael Cook ... Radio Show Fan (uncredited)

Rachel Grubb ... Radio Show Fan (uncredited)
Freddy Hall ... Radio Show Fan (uncredited)

Leon Hiland ... Fitzgerald Audience (uncredited)
Amanda Hofman-Frethem ... Radio Show Fan (uncredited)
Geoffrey Hofman-Frethem ... Smoker (uncredited)

Punnavith Koy ... Smoker (uncredited)
Kayla Laursen ... Fitzgerald Audience (uncredited)

John Murray ... Theater Audience Member (uncredited)
Connie Newville ... Radio Show Fan (uncredited)
David O'Neill ... Stage Hand (uncredited)
Lisa Pechmiller ... Radio Show Fan (uncredited)
Joseph Andrew Schneider ... Yolanda's Biggest Fan (uncredited)
Joel Thingvall ... Fitzgerald Audience (uncredited)

Jim Westcott ... Stage Hand (uncredited)

Directed by
Robert Altman 
Writing credits
Garrison Keillor (screenplay)

Garrison Keillor (story) &
Ken LaZebnik (story)

Garrison Keillor  radio program "A Prairie Home Companion" (uncredited)

Produced by
Robert Altman .... producer
Wren Arthur .... producer
Joshua Astrachan .... producer
Gerard Cafesjian .... co-executive producer (as Gerard L. Cafesjian)
Lowell Dubrinsky .... associate producer
Frederick W. Green .... co-executive producer
Tony Judge .... producer
David Levy .... producer
Patty Payne Green .... co-executive producer
John Penotti .... executive producer
Bill Pohlad .... executive producer (as William Pohlad)
George Sheanshang .... executive producer
Fisher Stevens .... executive producer
John Stout .... co-executive producer (as John H. Stout)
Cinematography by
Edward Lachman  (as Ed Lachman)
Film Editing by
Jacob Craycroft 
Casting by
Pam Dixon  (as Pam Dixon Mickelson)
Production Design by
Dina Goldman 
Art Direction by
Jeff Schoen  (as Jeffrey Schoen)
Set Decoration by
Tammara Melloy 
Tora Peterson 
Costume Design by
Catherine Marie Thomas 
Makeup Department
Bridget Cook .... hair department head
Teri Demarest .... swing hair/makeup (as Teri E. Demarest)
Kim Greene .... makeup artist (as Kimberly Greene)
Natalie A. Hale .... key makeup artist
J. Roy Helland .... hair stylist: Ms. Streep
J. Roy Helland .... makeup artist: Ms. Streep
Felicia Linsky .... makeup artist: Ms. Tomlin
Roxanne Wightman .... key hair stylist
Marlene D. Williams .... hair stylist: Ms. Tomlin (as Marlene Williams)
Dina Dainty .... makeup day-player (uncredited)
Production Management
Thomas Campbell .... production manager: The Fitzgerald Theater
Julie Hartley .... unit production manager
Brian G. Sanderson .... general manager: The Fitzgerald Theater
Kate Gustafson Sanderson .... general manager: Prairie Home Productions
Tim Williams .... head of production: GreeneStreet Films
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Vebe Borge .... first assistant director
Dave Halls .... second assistant director
Art Department
Ben Barraud .... property master
Curtis Bellows .... painter
Paul Berglund .... property assistant
James Andrew Brick .... leadman
Adam Chase .... painter (as Adam S. Chase)
Erin Coscio .... stagehand: The Fitzgerald Theater
Jim DePaulis .... stagehand: The Fitzgerald Theater (as Jim Depaulis)
Patrick Dzieweczynski .... stagehand: The Fitzgerald Theater
Alan Frechtman .... head carpenter: The Fitzgerald Theater (as Al Frechtman)
Kelly Hemenway .... graphic designer (as Kelly Rae Hemenway)
Luther Hill .... painter
Anne Hyvarinen .... lead scenic
Catrin Magnusson .... art department coordinator (as S. Catrin Magnusson)
Sarah Regan .... painter
Mary Reitz .... stagehand: The Fitzgerald Theater
Shannon Schaefer .... art department assistant
Theo Sena .... on-set dresser
Gary Surber .... swing (as Gary C. Surber)
Chris Thickins .... art department assistant
Phil Vandervaart .... signwriter
Adam VanWagner .... art department assistant (as Adam Van Wagner)
William A. Wilson .... painter (as William Wilson)
Dan Zimmermann .... stagehand: The Fitzgerald Theater
Matthew Richard Harris .... graphic designer (uncredited)
Sound Department
Gina Alfano .... adr editor (as Gina R. Alfano)
Michael Barry .... re-recording mixer
Chris C. Benson .... p.a. mixer (as Chris Benson)
Rachel Chancey .... assistant sound editor
Martin Czembor .... re-recording mixer
Michael DeMark .... sound effects recordist (as Michael De Mark)
Caoimhe Doyle .... foley assistant
Mariusz Glabinski .... sound editor
John Glaeser .... sound utility
Johnny Hagen .... audio: electronic press kit
Michael Holmstrom .... sound mix engineer
Nick Huston .... additional sound equipment
Bobby Johanson .... adr mixer
Jason Keillor .... sound engineer: Prairie Home Productions
Bruce Kitzmeyer .... sound editor
Dan Korintus .... sound editor
Goro Koyama .... foley artist
Drew Kunin .... production sound mixer
Avi Laniado .... sound mix engineer
Terrance Laudermilch .... sound re-recordist
Andy Malcolm .... foley supervisor
Anna Malkin .... foley recording asisstant
Eric McAllister .... assistant sound editor (as Eric Mcallister)
Eliza Paley .... supervising sound editor
Michael Primmer .... boom operator
Peter Schneider .... additional sound equipment
John L. Sims Jr. .... sound recordist
Steve F.B. Smith .... sound consultant: Dolby
Don White .... foley recording mixer
Robin Wilds .... foley assistant
Phillip Fuller .... sound mix technician (uncredited)
Andy Malcolm .... foley artist (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Steven Hintz .... special effects (as Steve Hintz)
Kevin G. Miller .... special effects assistant
Camera and Electrical Department
Tom Adair .... camera operator: electronic press kit
Robert Reed Altman .... camera operator
Peter Biagi .... camera operator (as Pete Biagi)
Peter Clemence .... best boy grip
Eddie Cohen .... gaffer: electronic press kit
Christopher DeBlau .... electrician (as Christopher Deblau)
John W. DeBlau .... gaffer (as John W. Deblau)
Julie Donovan .... first assistant "b" camera
Tom Franchett .... best boy electrician
Joseph Gallup .... grip
Melinda Sue Gordon .... still photographer
Tony Hanson .... day player: grip/electrician
Jamie Heuton .... day player: camera department
Travis Hottinger .... day player: grip/electrician
Christopher Hultgren .... day player: grip/electrician (as Chris Hultgren)
Scott D. Jolstad .... grip
Kevin Karpinski .... day player: grip/electrician
Jim Kindt .... day player: grip/electrician
Cole Koehler .... camera production assistant
Ted Lichtenheld .... day player: camera department
Michael Lindquist .... second assistant camera
Chris Malone .... additional electrician
James McMillan .... key grip
Rick Neff .... day player: camera department
Rory Olson .... day player: grip/electrician (as Rory D. Olson)
Michael Pagan .... lead crane operator: Super Technocrane (as Michael M. Pagan)
Jason Painter .... day player: camera department
Craig Peterschmidt .... second crane operator: Super Technocrane
David S. Pope .... dolly grip
Dave Schnack .... additional first assistant camera (as David Schnack)
Ryan Sheridan .... high-definition imaging technician
Joseph Slagerman .... electrician (as Joe Slagerman)
Randall Smith .... second assistant camera
Steve Speers .... "a" camera first assistant
Michael St. Hilaire .... additional camera operator
Jeff Stonehouse .... day player: camera department
Jeff Villars .... dolly grip
Peter Vongrossmann .... grip
Michael Wangen .... stage lighting: The Fitzgerald Theater
Wilson Webb .... additional electrician (as Wilson R. Webb)
Michael Winn .... day player: grip/electrician
Dan Zimmermann .... spotlight operator: The Fitzgerald Theater
Casting Department
Lisa Bol .... extras casting assistant
Debbie DeLisi .... extras casting
Gloria Kim .... extras casting intern
Mary Moga .... extras casting intern
Amber Lee Olivier .... extras casting intern
Jay Runquist .... extras casting intern
Andrew Stewart .... extras casting assistant
Carrie Bush .... extras casting assistant (uncredited)
Kelly Gilpatrick .... extras casting assistant (uncredited)
Jeremy Gustafson .... extras casting assistant (uncredited)
Todd B. Johnson .... extras casting assistant (uncredited)
Kaari Moen .... extras casting assistant (uncredited)
Michael Sung-Ho .... extras casting assistant (uncredited)
Brian Walstad .... extras casting assistant (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Mickey Carleton .... assistant costume designer
Laura Downing .... key costumer
Mary Hansmeyer .... seamstress
Hannah Myers .... costume intern
Jane E. Myers .... costume supervisor (as Jane Myers-Williams)
Lisa Powers .... seamstress
Editorial Department
Michael Balabuch .... digital intermediate project manager (as Mike Balabuch)
Don Ciana .... lab timer
C.J. Gardella .... post-production assistant (as CJ Gardella)
Matthew H. Giordano .... second assistant editor (as Matthew Healey Giordano)
Zach Kirshner .... editorial intern
Anthony Kounouklos .... on-line editor
Jane Rizzo .... first assistant editor
Tim Stipan .... digital colorist
Michael Tyner .... editorial intern
Christian Zak .... digital intermediate producer
Richard Rowntree .... assistant to post-production consultant (uncredited)
Music Department
Dan Chouinard .... musician: additional rehearsal pianist
Martin Czembor .... post music mixer
Richard A. Dworsky .... music arranger (as Richard Dworsky)
Paul Gerike .... music copyist
Sam Hudson .... post music mixer (as Samuel Hudson)
Sam Hudson .... production music mixer (as Samuel Hudson)
Garrison Keillor .... additional lyrics: "Tishomingo Blues", "Happy Baked Beans", "Powdermilk Biscuit Theme"
Annette Kudrak .... supervising music editor
Thomas Scheuzger .... post music recordist
Kathryn Slusher .... music librarian: Prairie Home Productions
Transportation Department
Curtis Wade Anderson .... driver (as Curtis Anderson)
Richard W. Anderson .... driver
Michael Arnold .... transportation captain (as Michael Hallett Arnold)
Bobby Jo Cawley .... transportation coordinator
Jesse Ehman .... transportation assistant
James M. Kelly .... driver
Leo Skudlarek .... driver (as Leo M. Skudlarek)
Other crew
Erin Acker .... assistant production coordinator (as Erin M. Acker)
James Ahern .... film recorder
Ethan Anderson .... set production assistant
Paul Thomas Anderson .... stand-by director
Topper Anton .... stand-in
Randall Balsmeyer .... title designer
Bill Bard .... member: The Prairie Film Limited Partnership
Michael Battle .... assistant to cast (as Michael Brandon Battle)
Debra Beck .... logistics manager: Prairie Home Productions
Sarah Brooks Lindahl .... member: The Prairie Film Limited Partnership
Megan Alicia Brown .... extras assistant (as Megan Brown)
Gerard Cafesjian .... member: The Prairie Film Limited Partnership
Dru Anne Carlson .... script supervisor (as Drucilla Carlson)
Matthew Carlson .... office production assistant
Vicki Cherkas .... head of business and legal affairs: GreeneStreet Films
Katrina Cicala .... assistant: Garrison Keillor (as Katrina Cicala-Saracino)
Bruce Cole .... member: The Prairie Film Limited Partnership
Laura Comerford .... insurance services: AON/Albert G. Ruben Co.
J. John Corbett .... title designer
Ralph Costanza .... print coordinator
Nell Drake .... payroll accountant
Joshua Dupre .... caterer (as Joshua Dupré)
Camie Eugster .... member: The Prairie Film Limited Partnership (as Camie)
Jack Eugster .... member: The Prairie Film Limited Partnership
John B. Finn .... post-production accountant: JFA Inc. (as John Finn)
Ami Francis .... payroll accountant
Heather Garfinkle .... set production assistant
Tessa Gauer .... assistant craft service (as Tessa M. Gauer)
Amanda Stanton Geddes .... marketing: Prairie Home Productions
Molly Getty .... assistant: Robert Altman
Kelly Gilpatrick .... stand-in
Hayden Goldblatt .... assistant to producers
Kay Gornick .... permissions and contracts: Prairie Home Productions
Christopher K. Grap .... production coordinator
Kristin Hammargren .... assistant craft service
May Chan Hanegan .... legal services
Tiffany Hanssen .... special projects: Prairie Home Productions
Pete Hayes .... post-production accountant: JFA Inc.
Erin Heidenreich .... sales agent
Karen Heithoff .... member: The Prairie Film Limited Partnership (as Karen)
Ken Heithoff .... member: The Prairie Film Limited Partnership
Steven E. Helland .... legal: Frederikson & Byron, P.A.
Mary Hogan Bard .... member: The Prairie Film Limited Partnership
Poul Holm .... craft service
Heather Holst .... legal services
Ben Jacoby .... assistant craft service
Bruce Johnson .... member: The Prairie Film Limited Partnership
Jean Johnson .... member: The Prairie Film Limited Partnership (as Bruce)
Todd B. Johnson .... stand-in
Marty Jurek .... production assistant: day player
Jason Keillor .... special projects: Prairie Home Productions
Elaine Killian .... member: The Prairie Film Limited Partnership
George Killian .... member: The Prairie Film Limited Partnership (as George)
Neil W. Kimmelfield .... member: The Prairie Film Limited Partnership
Brian Kornreich .... business and legal affairs executive: GreeneStreet Films
Fred Krohn .... member: The Prairie Film Limited Partnership
Anita Kunin .... member: The Prairie Film Limited Partnership (as Anita)
Myron Kunin .... member: The Prairie Film Limited Partnership
Mary Lawless .... manager of business and legal affairs: GreeneStreet Films
Andrea Lazard .... office production assistant (as Andrea Johnson)
Leland T. Lynch .... member: The Prairie Film Limited Partnership
Maeve Mannion .... production accountant
Kristi J. Marchessault .... legal: Frederikson & Byron, P.A.
Jolynn Martin .... assistant: Mr. Pohlad, River Road Entertainment
Anthony Maslow .... caterer
Andrea McAvey .... production assistant: Prairie Home Productions
Luke McCarter .... stand-in (as Luke Mccarter)
Timothy McDowell .... for Sandcastle 5 Productions
Mary Moga .... extras wrangler
John L. Morgan .... member: The Prairie Film Limited Partnership
Anne Marie Murphy .... script clearance: Eastern Script
Tim Nelson .... set production assistant
George Nicholis .... film publicist
Simon Nuchtern .... continuity and spotting: Katina Productions
Dana O'Keefe .... sales agent
David O'Neill .... archivist: Prairie Home Productions
Mary Olson .... stand-in
Patty Payne Green .... member: The Prairie Film Limited Partnership
Lawrence Perlman .... member: The Prairie Film Limited Partnership (as Lawrence)
Linda Perlman .... member: The Prairie Film Limited Partnership
Roger Poirier .... caterer (as Roger J. Poirier Jr.)
Michael Reinarts .... head of business affairs: River Road Entertainment
Rachel V. Richardson .... first assistant accountant
Scott Rivard .... technical director: Prairie Home Productions
Kathy Roach .... production assistant: Prairie Home Productions
Marilyn Rothschild .... member: The Prairie Film Limited Partnership (as Marilyn)
Steve Rothschild .... member: The Prairie Film Limited Partnership
Michael Schaeffer .... set production assistant
Eve Schoukroun .... international sales
Jerry Schwalbach .... member: The Prairie Film Limited Partnership
Sue Schwalbach .... member: The Prairie Film Limited Partnership (as Sue)
Daniel Silverman .... film recorder
Jon Steinhorst .... set intern
John Stout .... legal: Frederikson & Byron, P.A. (as John H. Stout)
John Stout .... member: The Prairie Film Limited Partnership
Marcia Stout .... member: The Prairie Film Limited Partnership (as Marcia)
Raymond Stout .... member: The Prairie Film Limited Partnership
Teri Stout .... member: The Prairie Film Limited Partnership (as Teri)
Jill Sweiven .... stand-in
Cerah Tymoshuk .... assistant craft service
Dana Wagner .... key set production assistant
Pop Wagner .... lasso trainer
Brian Walstad .... extras wrangler
Albert Webster .... stage manager: Prairie Home Productions
Shane Wethers .... audience services manager: The Fitzgerald Theater
Molly Whipple .... member: The Prairie Film Limited Partnership (as Molly)
Trey Whipple .... member: The Prairie Film Limited Partnership
Allison Williams .... production assistant
Allison Williams .... set intern
Kori E. Wilson .... assistant: Meryl Streep
Jake Yuzna .... stand-in
Julia Alexander .... legal counsel (uncredited)
Jonathan Mankuta .... stand-in (uncredited)
Joel Thingvall .... stand-in (uncredited)
Daniel Villagomez .... credits administrator (uncredited)
Paul Thomas Anderson .... special thanks
Louis Bacon .... acknowledgment: GreeneStreet Films gratefully acknowledge the contributions of
Scott Bailey .... special thanks
Linda Bjorklund .... special thanks
Tom Blanck .... special thanks
Debbie Burgwald .... special thanks
James Caccavo .... acknowledgment: GreeneStreet Films gratefully acknowledge the contributions of
Bruce Carlson .... special thanks: The Schubert Club
Sam Cohn .... special thanks
Brian Collins .... acknowledgment: GreeneStreet Films gratefully acknowledge the contributions of
Joe Culligan .... special thanks
Molly Culligan .... special thanks (as Molly)
Naoufal El Abbassi .... the producers wish to thank
Tom Erbes .... special thanks: Dunrite EFX
Dennis Flaherty .... special thanks (as Deputy Mayor Dennis Flaherty)
Sarah Fossen .... special thanks: State of MN
Jim Gardner .... special thanks
Michael Garfinkle .... acknowledgment: GreeneStreet Films gratefully acknowledge the contributions of
Tresa Garr .... special thanks
Kathy Garretson .... special thanks: US Bank
Michael Gordon .... acknowledgment: GreeneStreet Films gratefully acknowledge the contributions of
Henry Grant .... special thanks
Evan Greenspan .... special thanks
Jon Hallberg .... special thanks (as Dr. Jon Hallberg)
Randall Herrera .... special thanks
Nick Huston .... special thanks: sound
The Johnson Girls .... acknowledgment: production acknowledges the kind permission for the use of their name
Randy Kelly .... special thanks (as Mayor Randy Kelly)
Mary Kiritschenko .... special thanks
Mike Krueger .... special thanks
David Liptak .... acknowledgment: GreeneStreet Films gratefully acknowledge the contributions of
Melissa Mattson .... special thanks
Monique Maxwell .... special thanks
Bruce Mears .... special thanks: VP Operations, Minnesota Business Academy
Greg Meyers .... special thanks
Shain Miller .... special thanks
Carol Mintz .... special thanks
Christopher R. Nelson .... special thanks (as Sgt. Christopher R. Nelson)
Nancy Nicholson .... special thanks (as Nancy Nicholson and Family)
Chuck Paton .... special thanks
Joseph Petri .... acknowledgment: GreeneStreet Films gratefully acknowledge the contributions of
Christopher Pia .... acknowledgment: GreeneStreet Films gratefully acknowledge the contributions of (as Chris Pia)
Tom Radtke .... special thanks (as Sgt. Tom Radtke)
Lois Smith .... special thanks
Josh Sprague .... special thanks
Jordan Sramek .... special thanks: The Rose Ensemble
Maria Toso .... special thanks (as Maria)
Victor Toso .... special thanks
Leslie Vadnais .... special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated PG-13 for risque humor
105 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:Atp | Australia:PG | Canada:PG (British Columbia) (Canadian Home Video rating) | Finland:K-3 | Germany:0 | Hong Kong:IIA | Hungary:16 | Iceland:L | Ireland:PG | Netherlands:AL | Portugal:M/12 | Singapore:PG | South Korea:12 | Sweden:Btl | Switzerland:7 (canton of Geneva) | Switzerland:7 (canton of Vaud) | UK:PG | USA:PG-13 (certificate #42472)

Did You Know?

Altman reputedly directed most of the film from a wheelchair.See more »
Revealing mistakes: The group of four people sitting at the table in the diner react as if the Dangerous Woman is walking toward them (changing their facial expressions, changing their postures, moving their eyes, etc.), but in the next shot she has not moved from her position just inside the doorway. She then begins walking toward them.See more »
[first lines]
Radio Announcer: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
[fade out]
See more »
Movie Connections:
Summit Avenue RagSee more »


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58 out of 72 people found the following review useful.
Lake Wobigon Daze, 9 June 2006
Author: britishdominion

A gentle piffle, "A Prairie Home Companion" is the Summer's most lovely find - a movie that is easy on the ears and seemingly made of sheary, impossible gossamer that would spindle or crush under a more heavy-handed production.

The impressive cast seems to be having a whole lot of fun - Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Lily Tomlin, Woody Harrelson, Lindsay Lohan, LQ Jones et al all have perfunctory if labored singing voices, but it is scripter Garrison Keillor that is the thread that stitches this one together so well. The result is an infectious, genial collection of characters and occasions whose easy charms stay with the viewer days after the film finally unspools its last credit.

Although I have never heard a PHC performance before, the film plays as a tribute to the old days of radio shows and more over, a loving though chilly valentine to the radio days of old. Anyone old enough though not near an NPR station might not know the show but most certainly can hum the tune.

Keillor, he with an alien-like E.T. observation of the goings-on at the final performance of his 30+ year-old live radio show, has a wonderful announcer voice and an above average singing voice that anchors the honest, down home corn-pone credibility of the film. He is a cypher through the picture - a guy you could listen to for hours chat about his exploits, introduce faux commercials and sing a song about nothing in particular. GK has such an ethereal presence that you look at him with such amazement because a "regular" joe like he earns such a shorthand with his audience and can stand toe to toe with aplomb next to Oscar winners like Kline and Streep. It's a great, understated performance.

The movie, directed by the legendary Robert Altman, has such a light touch that it's hard to not fall easily into it's flow. It's dreamy, slight and surreal, yet sets up its universe that is vaguely of today - but what world still has an actual radio show broadcast across the nation so detailed and entertaining as this? Altman and Keillor do the amazing - they deny the audience of any cheap emotion and pathos or short cuts to pay off the scenario. As much as this movie is about the wistful honor and simple entertainment of such a radio programs that used to rule the airwaves in the 1930s through the 1950s, both writer and director refuse to pander to suspected emotional payoffs or happy endings that lesser film creators might. This is a cold, simple and honest movie about the last kick at the can of a venerable institution, and as they choreograph it: so what? Every show, as Keillor says in the film, is the last show. Big deal.

Despite it's frigid demeanor, "A Prairie Home Companion" is filled with warm, quiet moments that offers each cast member has a shining, sterling moment of performance - though none takes centre stage and overpowers or overacts. If anyone goes swinging for the balconies, its Altman regular Tomlin, who creates such a wonderful counterbalance to Streep's simple, honest Minnesotan singing sister partner that she stands as the picture's meta heart - a desperate, hardened yet proud woman backed into a career corner who doesn't know what to do after her regular job is prematurely retired by big radio business. Tomlin deserves an Oscar.

For a film that is steeped in a sentimentality that no longer exists, Altman keeps his sharpened artist eye wandering the set for the most interesting player in the room instead of mourning the sad gone before. There's no release in the movie, no eulogy for the past. "A Prairie Home Companion" is a straight-forward document of what was, not what could have been or what will be.

The director's brilliance is that his lens cares about what technical and bits of business that come to affect in the making of the final show which really tell the story - of a group of people who spend their Saturday nights singing songs, telling stories and transmitting their folksy well-wishes to an imaginary audience listening in on their bedside table radio. In the movie, Altman and Keillor let their staged audience seated in the cavernous Fitzgerald Theater in Minneapolis or those sitting in shoebox movie theater in Anywhere, USA fill in the relevance.

One of the best movies of the year.

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