Monday, July 02, 2018

Song of the Day: 'Alice's Restaurant Massacree' by Arlo Guthrie

After sitting through some later seasons of "Alice" on Antennae TV -- boy did that overstay its welcome! -- Damian and I finally got around to watching "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore," Martin Scorsese's 1974 classic on which it is loosely based. We loved it -- we're both suckers for a single mom -- even if it was mostly just a cautionary tale about men ... whether it be the controlling assholes women marry (Billy "Green" Bush), the combustible charmers women reluctantly agree to date (Harvey Keitel), or the volatile "sweethearts" they fall in love with (Kris Kristofferson). 

Ellen Burstyn was as Oscar-worthy as I'd heard -- her breakdown while pounding the pavement looking for a job was enough to earn my vote, not to mention her "pack up and head out of Dodge" moment after Ben goes nuts but then still thinks they're going out when she gets off work. 

And the more subdued Mel (Vic Tayback, who reprised his role in the sitcom), more withdrawn Vera (an underrated Valerie Curtin, aka Jane's older cousin), more complex Flo (Diane Ladd, who apparently wound up on the sitcom after Polly Holliday left, as Belle Dupree, only to be hated and let go after one season), more authentic Tommy (Alfred Lutter, who reprised his role in the sitcom pilot before losing it to Philip McKeon, Nancy's older brother) and not-so-idyllic relationship between Alice and Tommy (the "joke" scene in the car was the best -- my mom would threaten to "break" our arms when we pissed her off as kids!)) were each a reminder of the pitfalls of network TV. (And what about that young non-binary Jodie Foster?) Fun to imagine if HBO had turned this into a half-hour show back in the day instead. 

I know this song has nothing to do with the film or sitcom. But it got stuck in my head after watching 'em, so it's my song of the day ...

A pal says the moment between 1:13 and 1:21 is what won Ellen the Academy Award!

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