Martin Scorsese interviews his mother and father about their life in New York City and the family history back in Sicily. These are two people who have lived together for a long time and ... See full summary »
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
In one scene where Tommy asks to ride David's horse, Alice can be seen clearing off the table, only to have the dirty dishes reappear a few seconds later. See more »
You going out late again tonight?
I don't know. Why?
Just wondering when you'll introduce me to that guy you've been running around with.
His name is Ben and of course I'll introduce you to him.
Should I call him Uncle Ben?
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This was a lighter film than I am used to seeing from director Martin Scorsese, known for his movies with gangsters and other blighters. Of course, there are some such characters in this movie--mostly malevolent men. At first, Scorsese showcases some of his directorial ingenuity; the film opens with an old-fashioned credits screen, with Mack Gordon and Harry Warren's "You'll Never Know" playing in the background. The opening scene was in homage to "The Wizard of Oz". (The fences also reminded me of "Gone with the Wind".) But then, Alice, as a child (played by Mia Bendixsen), says "if anybody doesn't like it, they can blow it out their ass."
"All the Way from Memphis," by Ian Hunter, carries us to Alice, 27 years older (played by Ellen Burstyn in her Oscar-winning performance). Foul language and wisecracks are the brighter part of Alice's life; the other part is hopping from one abusive relationship to the next, while searching for employment. Alice eventually becomes a waitress at a diner (the scenario was revived in the lousy sitcom "Alice" (1976-1985)).
Diane Ladd earned an Oscar nomination for her performance as smart aleck waitress Flo. Jodie Foster does well as an assertive child. Ellen Burstyn and Alfred Lutter, who plays Alice's kid, carry the movie most of the way, though. When done right, teaming an adult and a child together for the majority of conversation in a film results in an enjoyable, light movie (which this one is). This was Scorsese's first commercial success; with editing and a moving camera among other tricks, his presence is revealed throughout.
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