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
The opening fantasy flashback sequence, of which Martin Scorsese was particularly proud and excited, actually drew the most negative reaction from reviewers. See more »
Tommy says the A7 chord hurts his fingers. A7 is one of the easiest chords, even for beginners. Kristofferson would know this and could have asked the script be altered, and recommend a more difficult chord. See more »
For those of you who thought Martin Scorsese only made gangster movies, here's a real surprise: not only did he make a housewife melodrama somewhere in the seventies, but he made the best one around for miles. Ellen Burstyn is fantastic as middle-aging wife and mother Alice, whose life is torn apart when her neglectful husband is killed in a car accident and she is left with nothing to take care of her fast growing son (Alfred Lutter III). The two find themselves on a road trip across the country to Tucson where she plans to start all over again, but not before various stops along the way keep them from achieving their goal too soon. Diane Ladd is brilliant as Flo, the nasty-mouthed waitress at the diner where Alice gets a job to stay afloat (Polly Holliday made a name for herself playing the role on the hit television show "Alice" that was based on this film). Look for little Laura Dern eating an ice cream cone at the diner counter, and a twelve year-old Jodie Foster as a precocious little thief who hilariously refers to her prostitute mother as "Ramada Rose". Excellent stuff.
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