Alice's Restaurant (1969)

Stars: Arlo Guthrie, James Broderick, Pat Quinn, Tina Chen, Michael McClanathan

"For date of birth you put 'scorpion', I want the specific date!"

This movie is far out! Based on Guthrie's 18 minute (!!) song "The Alice's Restaurant Massacre", this is the story of Arlo's travels as he waits to hear from the draft board. His journey leads him to Ray and Alice, friends who have moved into a church with a group of hippie friends.

Hippies get no respect! Poor Arlo and his pals are antagonized and reviled by practically everyone. Their hair, clothes, music, and attitude towards life are all cause for criticism and sometimes outright acts of hatred.

Penn has fashioned a sweet portrait of Arlo Guthrie and captured the spirit of a generation intent on living outside the mainstream. The director shows a real affinity for outsiders and rebels (he also directed Bonnie and Clyde two years earlier) and  the film's loose style is as smooth as a magic carpet ride.

I don't like folk music. But I do like this movie and I can appreciate the appeal of folk and its balladeers. Keep an open mind and exercise patience, you might like this one. Others will find this as powerful as a roofie dipped in Nyquil.