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Film: A Prairie Home Companion

A Prairie Home Companion is Robert Altman's last film, released in 2006. Loosely adapted from Garrison Keillor's radio variety show of the same name, it stars an Ensemble Cast and Garrison Keillor As Himself.

Tropes from the movie:

  • All-Star Cast: Kevin Kline, Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, John C Reilly, Woody Harrelson, Lindsay Lohan, Maya Rudolph, and Virginia Madsen.
  • Angel Unaware: Asphodel
  • As Himself: Garrison Keillor. Actually, the character he playes is credited as "G.K.", with some notable personality differences: the Real Life Keillor doesn't have any problems with giving memorials on the radio, including moments of silence, and is only slightly less of a Cloud Cuckoo Lander than his film equivalent.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Guy Noir most definitely and a lot of his clients; Garrison to a lesser extent.
  • Continuity Nod: The station the film's version of APHC airs on, WLT, first appeared in Keillor's novel WLT: A Radio Romance.
  • Dead Air: After one of the singers passes away backstage during the show, they briefly consider having a moment of silence for him on the show.
    Garrison Keillor: Silence on the radio? I don't know how that works.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    Lola Johnson: This isn't really going to be your last show, is it?
    Garrison Keillor: Every show is your last show. That's my philosophy.
    Rhonda Johnson: Thank you, Plato.
  • The Grim Reaper: Asphodel.
  • Mood Whiplash: Done brilliantly when the Johnson Sisters' heartbreaking duet "Goodbye to my Mama" is followed up immediately by Dusty and Lefty singing "Bad Jokes" which is 4 1/2 minutes of pure, unadulterated comedy.
  • Murder Ballad
  • Never Say "Die": Averted; we're told outright that, at the request of Guy Noir, Asphodel caused the critic's car to plunge fatally over a cliff because it makes no difference in the end.
  • Only Sane Man: The two stage managers, hustling around behind the scenes trying to make sure the show happens despite the talent.
  • Pun: Most of the jokes in the "Bad Jokes" song.
  • Reality Subtext: During the production of the film, Robert Altman's condition was fading and he announced that he had a pacemaker in his heart. For insurance purposes, Big Name Fan, Paul Thomas Anderson was an overseer who would step in as director if anything happened to Altman. As such, the film's themes of "death" can be seen as Altman's own reflection of his mortality.
    • The fact that he died after production only adds to this.
    "The death of an old man is not a tragedy."
  • The Show Must Go On : A theme explored in all its facets, with some of the cast members, especially Lindsay Lohan's character, thinking Keillor is a little callous when he refuses to pause when one of their own dies during production.
    • The film's credits avert this, it plays over the cast singing and performing even After the End.
  • Sound to Screen Adaptation
  • Straw Critic: The man in charge of closing the show.
  • Those Two Guys: Dusty and Lefty
  • Throw It In: When Guy Noir pops the champange bottle, the person who he accidentally hit (offscreen) was director Robert Altman.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Lyle Lovett and Tom Waits were originally cast as Dusty and Lefty.
    • George Clooney was offered the role of Guy Noir, but regretfully turned it down due to scheduling conflicts. Keillor jokes in the screenplay that he actually wanted Clooney to play him.
  • While Rome Burns: The singers bravely put on one last show for the memories.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: "Well done daughter woman", more like. Guy Noir helps quite a few people with these issues.
  • Woman in White: Pops up a few times in Guy Noir.

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