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Many movid adaptations for books aren’t as good as the original so it’s a much better experience reading the book. But, usually all you’re missing is quality and better exploration of the plot and characters.

I’d like to refer everyone attention to one great movie adaptation: The Princess Bride. Arguably the best film adaptation and inarguably one of the best movies ever made. It’s been called a masterpiece and justly so.


But, and it’s a big one, the book is so different. If you haven’t read it, you’re missing so much content. The whole Fred Savage frame story? Yeah, it’s completely different in the books. Jokes that didn’t make the cut, backstories that would’ve have required awkward flashbacks. You know the deal.

These comedy fantasy/science fiction satire-esque style books rely heavily on witty narration. Think Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman or Douglas Adams. What would the Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy be without experts from the guide, descriptions of hilarious science or Arthur’s sigh accidentally causing a war?

You can’t really put that in a film though, because you can’t have too much narration. So they have to cut some of the funniest bits in the book. Which is sad.

Basically. You need to read The Princsss Bride. You won’t regret it.

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I wasn’t sure what to make of A Prairie Home Companion. While it played, I could see what appeal it would have to others but for me, it never quite hit the mark. As time has passed, however, I find myself looking back at it fondly and feel a desire to revisit it.

A Prairie Home Companion, the long-running public live radio show is coming to an end. The theatre where the program is recorded has been bought by some rich whatevers from a big company and everyone knows they’ll have no interest in doing anything but turning the building into a parking lot. Some of the performers feel this end was inevitable. Others are upset. A few say they shouldn’t even acknowledge this could be their last show because on the radio you should treat every show like it’s the final performance.

The cast includes a slew of big names. Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin as performing sisters, Lindsay Lohan as the former’s daughter, Woody Harrelson and John C. Reilly as singing cowboys, Kevin Kline as a P.I. working the show’s security, Tommy Lee Jones as the businessman coming from Texas to axe the show, the film’s writer and host of the real-life show the film is based, Garrison Keillor plays a bit of a version of himself and capping them off is Virginia Madsen as a woman who may or may not be an angel.

I’ve never seen or listened to any live radio shows but this movie made me nostalgic for them. The traditional country music grows on you thanks to the variety of performers and song subjects. A standout number is “Bad Jokes” by Woody Harrelson and John C. Reilly, which delivers what it promises: a lot of bad jokes, but many that are so bad they come around to be hilarious. All of the different personalities, the sponsor’s ads throughout the program, the homely tone is warm and endearing. This radio show is not quite a play, it’s not quite a talent show, but it contains elements of both. People are scrambling backstage to ensure everyone is going to begin on-cue but the drama doesn’t come from people trying to sabotage each other or wishing they had gotten a bigger part or anything like that. The loose and relaxed tone of the show gives the impression of a group of friends/family members putting something together and trying to be as professional as possible, without getting too worked up or hung up on the details. It’s a nice change from what we usually see.

As the picture began, I was unsure what to make of it. Although the performances were good, the atmosphere inviting, the feelings genuine and the music worthy of tapping your toes to, it just wasn’t my type of thing. By the end of the movie, my opinion of A Prairie Home Companion turned around. It’s sweet and whimsical. The quirky characters feel like real people, the kind who really would be on a live radio show filled with corny jokes and unpretentious little songs. In the end, I had grown to like everyone. Realizing that this really would be the last time I’d see them - no sequel to this film has been made - made me melancholic. Although nothing big hinges on the show surviving the judgment of Tommy Lee Jones’ character, losing the light atmosphere and overall cheeriness emanating from the story and cast would feel big.

I was going to give the movie a middling review because it just wasn’t my type of thing, but as I’ve been writing this, I’ve been realizing just how good a time I had with it. Even if there were some elements that I didn’t really care for, I wouldn’t change a thing. If this is your brand of music, you’ll absolutely fall in love with this movie. Even if it isn’t, give this a shot. Against all odds, A Prairie Home Companion won me over. (On DVD, January 1, 2015)

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Now, I know movies already exist, but if it DIDN’T, now would totally be the time for it. Like:

Some random CEO: Okay guys, we need people to have fun at home. How can we deliver cultural entertainment to them?

Employee: We could hire teather actors to film themselves saying lines, and then we edit together to make a play.

Everyone: That’s it!

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