Thursday, May 11, 2006

A Prairie Home Companion Premiere

Let me preface by reminding the reader that I spent the better portion of a month working in the extras casting department for this film, so when I heard that Prairie Home was having it's huge premiere screening in St Paul, I was a little dismayed that I hadn't yet received an invite. But my worries were unfounded, and I finally received my invite letter on a Tuesday afternoon in late April. Ah, but the catch: I was only allowed a single guest. Crum. The hard decision (which really was without question) - take Matthew (my best friend and film business partner, also the one responsible for getting me involved in films in the first place) who would likely not be receiving his own invite, or find someone pretty. Okay, so friendship won out without much of a mental struggle.

The big day rolled around - Wednesday, May 3. Classes ended, I commuted home, and we did dinner before the show. Now, to my slight disappointment, we weren't invited to the "real" premiere at the Fitzgerald where all the producers and cast were going to be, but still, I was happy to be at the event at all, even if we were only at the 'overflow' theatre. And it was okay, too, since many of the others in our theatre were familiar faces from this and other film projects. The slight disappointment - there were a whole bunch of seats left open at the start of the show, and there wasn't any ticket checking just to get into the theatre... so, we probably could have snuck other friends in to see the film (and enjoy the free drinks and popcorn), but there was no way to have known that ahead of time. Plus I'm an honest person.

Okay, so the movie itself - I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I guess it fit my expectations. It was funny, with a lot of great one-liners, and it was just so exciting to see the scenes on the big screen after seeing them coming together behind the scenes. It's always fun to be able to say, "hey, I remember this scene, and I'm just off camera to the right". And the best part: I am clearly visible onscreen for about 10 seconds! So, when this film comes out in theatres (June 9), watch for me about 15 minutes in when Dangerous Woman (Virginia Madsen) is first introduced (Kevin Kline's line is something to the effect of "Her hair is what God had in mind when he said, "Let there be hair") and is walking along the balcony behind the seated crowd - that's me in the center wearing khakis and a really ugly sweater (I was wrangling that day, and hadn't expected to actually be in the scene, so I had worn a really bright white t-shirt - this is a no-no for being on camera).

Okay, so more about the film itself - it's fun, it's more or less family friendly, though, as is noted with its PG13 rating, it does have a lot of "risque humor". The camera never stops moving, kind of like the show itself, but this isn't particularly distracting, and actually helps keep the story flowing. The cast is amazing: Meryl's fake midwestern accent is very well done, Kevin's Clouseau-esque detective character keeps you laughing, and Virginia''s thoughtful questions keep you thinking. Highlights to watch for include the duct tape advertisement, the cowboys' "Bad Jokes" song, the hallway scene right after the cowboys discover Chuck Akers is dead, and, of course, Lola's (Lindsey Lohan) song at the very end.

The movie ended and everyone hightailed it to the after party. We arrived to find a huge security detail, news trucks, limos of all sizes, and, my favorite: searchlights. The party offered free drinks (it's an awful thing being underage) and very elaborate hors d'oeuvres, along with live music, all in the very crowded first floor of the Landmark Center.

For me, the party was actually a bit of a disappointment, primarily because I didn't know anyone: the people in this group were more or less foreign to me, completely opposite of the crowd at the Fall Into Me premiere party. They weren't friends, they weren't even acquaintances, they were just faces. No, I didn't meet any stars, but that really wasn't my goal going in at all (what's the point, really?), but I did literally bump into and exchanged "excuse me"s with Garrison, if that counts for anything.

The party was redeemed at the end, though, by the distribution of Prairie Home promotional bags with tons of stuff in them (I grabbed 3) - my favorite items are the Best Buy gift card and the PHC promo CD with three great tracks from the soundtrack (the real thing comes out later this month).

So that was my adventure at the PHC premiere, though I don't think the reality hit until a week later when I saw the trailer in another theatre: "Wow", I thought. "I worked on that film and it's actually going to be shown nationwide in theatres. Cool!"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey, It's Tim.
Good Read :)
Just wondering, why on God's green earth did you not sneak a camera into the premiere!?
Ah, but anyways, sounds like loads of fun, I'll be seeing it that weekend most likely, and, why don't you send me those 3 songs? ;)