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Film / A Prairie Home Companion

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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:

  • 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.
  • Central Theme: Death seems to be a major recurring theme. Interesting since Robert Altman himself died shortly after the films release.
  • 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.
    • There also seem to be several subtle nods to earlier Altman films. A live radio show featuring Country Music recalls Nashville (as does having Lily Tomlin in the cast), Guy Noir is reminiscent of the portrayal of Philip Marlowe in The Long Goodbye and a mysterious, otherworldly blonde woman in a long coat also played a prominent role in Brewster McCloud
  • 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.
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  • The Grim Reaper: Asphodel.
  • Metafictional Title: The film is a fictional behind-the-scenes look at the making of the A Prairie Home Companion radio show.
  • 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
  • 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 Ensues: The Axeman from Texas who's come to cancel the show takes his final trip with Asphodel and it makes absolutely no difference, because with or without him, the cancellation is going to happen anyway.
  • Remake Cameo: Radio show cast members Tim Russell, Sue Scott, and Tom Keith appear as crew members. (Keith is debatably As Himself, as his role doing sound effects is also a function he fills on the radio show.)
  • 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.
  • Show Within a Show: The eponymous APHC.
  • Sound-to-Screen Adaptation
  • Straw Critic: The man in charge of closing the show.
  • Those Two Guys: Dusty and Lefty
  • 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.


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