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Movie Review: Prairie Home Companion

Alternate Title: Gather Ye Rosebuds

Story: Director Robert Altman is better than ever. This 81 year old genius has done it again. I was smiling from the opening credits through the very least scene.

Based on Garrison Keillor's 'A Prairie Home Companion,' his live radio show (http://prairiehome.publicradio.org/about/) this film shown in real time depicts the fictitious final broadcast of the show. A conglomerate has bought the radio station and the Fitzgerald theater is to be torn down to make way for a parking lot.

A host of wonderful players sing their hearts out and we share their joy, their memories, their quirkiness and life lesson observations. It is an ode to a simpler time even though it takes place in a contemporary setting.

If you like something a bit different, something soulful, something bittersweet, something hilarious, please run to see this terrific film.

Gather ye roses while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying;
A world where beauty fleets away
Is no world for denying.
Come lads and lasses, fall to play
Lose no more time in sighing
The very flowers you pluck to-day
To-morrow will be dying;
And all the flowers are crying,
And all the leaves have tongues to say,-
Gather ye roses while ye may.

Acting: The ensemble cast is fabulous. Every player works well. Special kudos to Kevin Kline for his dead on depiction of the character, Guy Noir. And a hat's off to the rest of the cast which includes: Woody Harrelson, Garrison Keillor, Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, Tommy Lee Jones, Virginia Madsen, John C. Reilly, Lindsay Lohan, L.Q. Jones and Maya Rudolph

Predilection: I am a BIG Robert Altman fan.

Critters: none

Soundtrack: sensational

Opening Titles: The titles had me hooked immediately. The players' names are emitted as if they are radio waves coming from the tower in Minnesota.

Visual Art: The real sets of the Fitzgerald theater are used.

Theater Audience: A handful of happy movie goers. Most were laughing as heartily as we were.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 2

Drift Factor: Not a drift moment at all.

Predictability Level: I was too absorbed in the film to think about what was going to happen. I was 'in the moment 'as they say.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Yes.

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen for certain. For some of Altman's other masterpieces check out: Gosford Park, Cookie's Fortune, Short Cuts, The Player,Vincent & Theo, Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, Popeye (yes, I loved Popeye) 3 Women, Nashville, California Split, Thieves Like Us, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, MASH

Length: Under two hours