Koch On Film


By Ed Koch

“A Prairie Home Companion” (-)

I did not enjoy this movie, but many will simply because it was directed by the icon, Robert Altman. Although Altman has directed terrific films like “Nashville,” he has made terrible ones like “Quintet” as well. 

The film has no substance, and I found nothing in it to admire or recall after I left the theater. There are many individual skits and turns in the vernacular of the period. At least a half-dozen stars appear in the movie including Woody Harrelson, Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Kline and John C. Reilly, and all of them perform their cameos brilliantly. 

The story is about a radio program broadcast from a theater in St. Paul, Minnesota, which aired until recently to large audiences. The author of “A Prairie Home Companion,” Garrison Keillor, plays himself in the role of G.K., the emcee of the program. Keillor recounts what happened one evening when the new owner of the station sends the Axeman (Tommy Lee Jones) to close the show, because the theater is to be demolished for a parking lot. The characters appear real and are reminiscent of the performers on the Grand Ole Opry show that came out of Nashville, the name of a successful Altman movie, which amused millions across the country with its country music and zaniness. 

The station security guard, Guy (Kevin Kline), turns himself into an Ellery Queen kind of detective character. Rhonda (Lily Tomlin) and Yolanda (Meryl Streep) are singing sisters. Dusty (Woody Harrelson) and Lefty (John C. Reilly) are old singing cowboys right out of vaudeville and burlesque who near the end of the film sing an amusing vulgar ditty. But it is all for naught as far as I was concerned.

The reviews of this film that I read were positive. I think it is because the reviewers didn’t want to be tough on the renowned director. I on the other hand continue to tell it as I see it. 

HS said, “I liked the movie. It was basically an old-fashioned variety show the kind you don’t see anymore. At least I understood it, which is more than I could with the more complex Altman films.”

“Loverboy” (-)

Kevin Bacon directed this movie, based on a novel by Victoria Redel, and his wife, Kyra Sedgwick, stars in it. Why Bacon and Sedgwick would lend their enormous talents to this grotesque and unbelievable script is a mystery to me.  Their acting ability is wasted in this film.

Emily (Kyra Sedgwick), a single woman who appears to be in her 30s, deliberately tries to conceive a child. Not wanting to know the father’s identity, she is intimately involved with several relative strangers, and she believes that mixing their sperm will strengthen the child. (A ridiculous thought on her part.) Emily finally has a son, Paul, (Dominic Scott Kay), whom she believes was fathered by a traveling salesman, Paul (Campbell Scott). She home schools young Paul, not wanting anyone from the outside world to touch her child’s life, and she constantly refers to and calls him “loverboy.” 

We see Emily as a young girl in several flashbacks. She is mentally tortured by the bizarre and often sexual public and private behavior of her parents, Marty (Kevin Bacon) and Sybil (Marisa Tomei). Despite the sexual atmosphere and drugged behavior of an uncaring couple vis-à-vis their young daughter, I felt no tension nor did I ever connect with any of the people.    

HS said, “This film should depress anyone who has a mother. The New England scenery can’t save it.”

The script, occasionally sappy acting of Sedgwick, and lack of acting by a peripheral character, Mark (Matt Dillon), add up to a boring film, and the ending defies belief. Find something else to see.