"Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (Scorsese, 1974)"
i missed the first 40 minutes or so when this came on last Saturday on Turner Classic Movies, but to give an illustration on how enthralled i was with the movie, i was in the middle of Game 4 of the Spurs / Thunder and didn't flip back to the game until the movie was done.
i came in during the scene where Harvey Keitel's wife was talking to Ellen Burstyn and then Keitel comes in and flips the fuck out. not that Keitel's scene wasn't good, but i think i was more clued in to the natural way that Burstyn was acting. and in all, i think the ease that the humanity of these characters came thru is what impressed me the most.
i do like Scorsese's mob movies, and they are classic movies, but i never appreciated Scorsese's taste more than i did in this one. it seemed like a movie that wouldn't be interesting or visceral, but the acting and characters really had you engaged and wanting to learn more about them and how their lives unfolded.
And this bit of trivia about the movie via imdb.com:
Coming hot off her success in The Exorcist, the studio granted Ellen Burstyn total creative control over this project. She had two goals: to make a film about woman with real-life problems, and to secure an up-and-coming film maker as the director. Upon selecting this script, Brian De Palma brought Francis Ford Coppola to Burstyn's attention who suggested she consider Scorsese. While impressed with Scorsese's talent after viewing Mean Streets, Burstyn still hesitated to hire the director, fearing he could only direct men. When she asked Scorsese what he knew about women, Scorsese replied "Nothing, but I'd like to learn." Satisfied with his enthusiasm, Burstyn immediately hired Scorsese.
*THIS* is fantastic....Because, to date, this is one of his *best* movies to date with fully fleshed out women characters.
I love this movie and it's one of the few movies to have such a strong woman carrying the movie.
Ellen is great in this movie. She really is. Actually, everyone is damn near pitch perfect in this movie, even the boy that played her son.
2. "great behind the scenes story that you posted." In response to Reply # 1 Tue Jun-05-12 08:57 PM by forgivenphoenix
i mean the level of realism, and not in a forced, 'gritty' way, shown by the characters and their relationships is off the charts.
i didn't do any research about the crew on the movie, but after seeing it, it definitely makes sense that there was alot of well-regarded input from a woman shaping the story and the characters. i don't remember seeing many movies from this time period, but it seems that the naturalism seems kind of 'ahead of it's time' in a way with the non-archetypal characters. it seemed that Scorsese was just recording people living their lives rather than directing a movie, and the naturalism seems to be a mark of someone who really trusts their instincts and the actors in the movie.
i liked Scorsese's answer back to Burstyn about knowing women. very humble and honest. gotta like that.
4. "It is. Before I saw it, I unfairly wrote it off as Scorsese's chick flic..." In response to Reply # 3 Thu Jun-07-12 03:46 PM by zuma1986
I guess it sorta is but at the same time in the best way possible and still being VERY much a 70's Scorsese film. How Scorsese never even got nominated for Best Director is beyond me (Then again how he never won for so long is also beyond me)
5. "Maaaaaahttty!!! (marty)" In response to Reply # 0
I tell people all the time, the culture and religion in me war all the time, some days I'm all music, all day, other times...dissecting books and classic and relevant film...Martin Scorcese has put it f*cking down for eons, and I love that loyalty that he and Spike employ certain actors to remain in their steed, so as to go and develop a new character, with which one such as DeNiro, Keitel, Pesci, Pacino, or whosever...you can create around them, because even they morph to fit roles sometimes...member DeNiro in "casino" putting up with Sharon Stone's character and her constant yammering...like outside of the snatch up in the restaurant, he never got buck like many of his other scorcese portrayals. Good stuff.