If You Stare Hard at Your Computer Screen …

… you’ll see the large L (for Loser) in the middle of my forehead.

I’m always looking for ways to fill in my cultural blind spots. Stuff we’ve missed out on, not growning up here. Especially from TROA (The Rest of America) — not the altered reality that is California. Because (cringe) I’ve never been east of Palm Springs.

So I’d heard good things about Prairie Home Companion, the movie. And some time back I’d read a bit of Garrison Keillor, and though life away from the ocean always seems a bit foreign to me, I kinda liked his down-home sense of humor. It sort of reminded me of Stuart McLean’s CBC Vinyl Cafe series, which I liked.

Other reasons I added it to our Netflix rental queue:

  • I’m a home-drive NPR listener, so even though I’ve never heard Prairie Home Companion the show, I figured the fact that I appreciate public radio probably boded well for a film written by one of their longtime team.
  • Also figured it would be a sort of Cliffs Notes version of the real thing. Serious culture in a palatable form, like buying multigrain toaster waffles because they’re a good way to get fiber in your diet without having to eat tablespoons of bran husks.
  • And then the cast was promising: Woody Harrelson, Kevin Kline, Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin and Robin Williams, among others.

And so we sat down to watch it last night …

Only to find that I’d rented A Prairie Home Companion 30th Broadcast Season Celebration instead of the movie.

Sigh … loo-za!

We sat through Garrison Keillor singsonging his way through a tedious welcome — introducing sound men and directors and writers from the radio show’s three-decade history. I’d brought down a basket of ironing to tackle while we watched. Yes, we still buy clothes that need ironing, aren’t we quaint? But that didn’t help.

Dave: You’re killing me!

Sue: Trust me, I’m killing myself.

I ironed away, hoping for it to improve, but when the first country band (bolo ties, banjos and all) took the stage, Dave made his exit to read ESPN and wine blogs. I lasted a bit longer but only as long as it took to finish the pants I wanted to wear to work this week.

I hope the movie version is better but I’m not sure I want to take the chance. Anyone seen it?


5 responses to “If You Stare Hard at Your Computer Screen …

  1. Clarification: I love your post, have not seen the movie. :)

  2. My mom was from Minnesota and she loved Garrison Keilor. I think it was a Midwest culture thing, and it’s really okay (I think) if the rest of us don’t get it. I can’t stomach listening to him on NPR because (I know I’m weird) he makes all these bizarre gasping and snuffling noises when he talks. I also don’t really find the stories all that amusing.

  3. Hm, tough call. I liked the movie (better than I expected) but I’ve been listening to the radio show for years. I fear it may be less “Cliff Notes” and more a private joke that you might not get if you haven’t listened to the show. I will note that when Tad & I exited the theater we were by a long shot the youngest couple …

  4. Listen,

    I’ve been North, East, West, and South of Palm Springs. California is the only place that’s gotten it right so far in this country!

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