It has always seemed one of the odder facts of pop culture that a Martin Scorsese film actually inspired a sitcom starring Linda Lavin. (Does that mean we had Scorsese to thank, or blame, for the whole "Kiss my grits" thing and the spin-off "Flo"?) Anyway, this early Scorsese feature is atypical - no pulsating urban life, not much in the way of brutality - but extremely entertaining, with a classic Oscar-winning performance by Ellen Burstyn as Alice, the widow who packs up her belongings and son (the impressive Alfred Lutter) and takes off for parts unknown, hoping to make it as a singer but settling for a waitressing gig at Mel's Diner. For a while, this was seen as something of an anomaly in the Scorsese portfolio, and as of this writing it's still unique among his films in that it's woman-centered. In an odd way, this film is an interesting companion piece to "Kundun" as both movies follow a character very unlike the usual Scorsese protagonist on a journey Scorsese can't really relate to personally but is willing to explore anyway. The good cast includes Harvey Keitel, Kris Kristofferson, and a very very young Jodie Foster.