Weekly Mini-Review: Alice’s Restaurant (1969)

Arlo Guthrie and Pete Seeger as themselves in the movie.

Story:(The whole Movie) The year or so of Arlo Guthrie’s life during which his friend Alice and her husband buy a church open/close a restaurant, and during which his father and one of his friends dies. (The good part of the film) All of Alice’s old friends, including Guthrie, come for Thanksgiving and have a ludicrous run-in with the law. Shortly after, Guthrie shows up for inspection upon being drafted, and is rejected because getting arrested for being a litterbug makes him too immoral to kill people for the government. As you can see in the above image, the protagonist is played by the real Arlo Guthrie. He couldn’t have been too much older than the period during which the story takes place.

Review: If you only watch from the start of the Thanksgiving scene to the end of the army inspection scene, it’s a great movie: funny, intelligent, and highly indexical of the context in which the story takes place. Unfortunately, the rest of the movie is unworthy of being attached to this short segment and not worth watching for any reason other than historical/biographical curiosity about the main character.

Recommended for: (The good part of the film) Pretty much anyone. (The rest of the film) People who like Hair, Harold and Maude, and and movies with arguing couples for their ‘good’ writing. Or, anyone who wants to learn about Guthrie’s life from his perspective.

Content notes: (14+) – Some sexualized nudity and crude ideas, not much though.

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