Despite admitting that she was scared of him in her never-ending quest to please him, thirty-five year old housewife and mother Alice Hyatt is devastated when her husband Donald is killed in an on the job traffic accident. With few job skills except that as a singer, Alice, along with her precocious eleven year old son Tommy, decides to move from their current home in Socorro, New Mexico to her home town of Monterrey, California, the only place she has ever felt happy. She plans on getting singing gigs along the way to earn money to get back to Monterrey by the end of the summer and the start of Tommy's school year. Alice's quest for a job at each stop leaves Tommy often to fend for himself, which may make Tommy even more precocious. His behavior is fostered by Alice, as their relationship is often more as trouble-making friends than mother and son. Alice's plans often do not end up as she envisions, especially as she is forced to take a waitressing job at Mel and Ruby's Diner in ... Written by
Diane Ladd played Flo in this movie. In the television series Alice (1976), the part was played by Polly Holliday. When Holliday left the series, Ladd stepped in to portray Belle, the waitress who replaced Flo at Mel's Diner. Vic Tayback reprised his role as Mel in the TV series. Alfred Lutter III played Alice's son Tommy in the pilot episode of the TV series, but was afterwards replaced by Philip McKeon. See more »
When Alice and Tommy first see the "Leaving New Mexico" sign, the traffic light they are approaching turns from green to yellow. Following a very brief exchange inside the still-moving car, the light is then shown to be green, and they go right through the intersection without having slowed or stopped. There was no time for the light to have gone through a full cycle. See more »
Starring the incomparable Ellen Burstyn, giving an Oscar-winning performance (one of the finest of the 1970s), this comedy-drama is gritty and tough, but never off-putting. After her husband dies, 35-year-old Alice Hyatt from New Mexico and her smart-mouthed 11-year-old son Tommy take to the road, chasing her girlhood dream of finding songbird success in Monterey, CA. They get stuck in Phoenix, where she meets up with a frightening Harvey Keitel. Later, waitressing at Mel & Ruby's Cafe in Tucson, she meets a gentle farmer who's had his share of heartbreak. This is a perceptive, amusingly knockabout film regarding ordinary people trying to make it, episodes in their lives that enrich or derail them. Alice and her son have a wonderfully natural give-and-take, and the oddballs they meet on their odyssey (like Jodie Foster's shoplifting tomboy or the sweet, overweight cowboy who gives Alice a singing job) are deliciously silly, yet incredibly real. Burstyn is a joy cutting up with her neighbor in the backyard, having a Coke fight with her kid in a seedy motel, trading quips with Diane Ladd's salty Flo in the diner. Some critics complained that the happy ending felt tacked on, but you come to really respect Alice and her choices, and most of the film's little faults are camouflaged by director Martin Scorsese's bittersweet framing and Robert Getchell's vivid screenplay. Far superior to the TV sitcom, "Alice". **** from ****
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