Go Ask Alice

There are plenty of classic Christmas movies, but traditional Thanksgiving films are harder to come by. That’s probably a good thing, because it means that Alice’s Restaurant has little competition. Based on Arlo Guthrie’s hit song “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree,” that in turn was based on a true story that began on Thanksgiving Day 1965, it’s a tale of what happens when people band together for a meal on a special holiday.

In other words, it’s a story about a Bohemian college-student draft-dodger; a recovering heroin addict; an artist; an amateur restaurateur; a misplaced pile of garbage; blind justice; and a wedding that wraps it all up, happily ever after. Or not.

Arlo Guthrie plays himself, as does the officer who arrests him in the film for dumping trash illegally: When Massachusetts sheriff William Obanhein heard that Guthrie was modeling the character of Officer Obie after him, he demanded to play the role himself, reasoning, “If anyone is going to make a fool out of me, it might as well be me.”

Alice’s Restaurant will screen for free at the Boulder Public Library tonight at 6 p.m. as part of the Scenes From the New American Cinema series. The library is at 1000 Canyon Boulevard in Boulder; call 303-441-3100 or visit www.boulderlibrary.org.
Mon., Nov. 16, 7 p.m., 2009

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Amber Taufen has been writing about people, places and things in Denver since 2005. She works as an editor, writer, and production and process guru out of her home office in the foothills.
Contact: Amber Taufen

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