The Curator of Schlock #281 by Jeff Shuster
Go Ask Alice
More like Go Ask Alice and She’ll Get You High!
We’re on Week 2 of ABC Movie of the Week Month! Are you excited? Yes, you are. Why? Because tonight’s movie is 1973’s Go Ask Alice from director John Korty and stars none other than TV’s William Shatner, star of T.J. Hooker, Boston Legal, and Shit My Dad Says! But you know him as Captain James Tiberius Kirk of the Starship Enterprise, you super nerd. And you now reflect on all those times in high school when you got your head dunked in the toilet for knowing Captain Kirk’s middle name or that you knew for a fact that the Starship Enterprise has only one bathroom. You ask yourself if being a Star Trek fan was worth it as the grungy 70s TV movie unfolds before your eyes.
There’s a disclaimer before the movie begins, stating that the movie is based on the actual diary of a fifteen-year-old girl, only the names have been changed to protect the innocent. The first thing you see is a fifteen-year-old blonde girl named Alice (Jamie Smith-Jackson) buying a diary and then discussing sex hormones with her mom, and you’re getting angry because there is no William Shatner.
You were promised William Shatner!
Then they play that disgusting Jefferson Airplane song “Go Ask Alice” over the credits and you know the movie will be filled with drugged-out hippies! But then you see in the credits that this movie of the week has a special guest star, TV’s Andy Griffith, and you are reassured that all is right in the world.
Alice doesn’t start out as a drugged-out hippie. On the first day at her new school, she’s lonely until she meets a nice girl named Beth (Mimi Saffian), who tells Alice about a recurring nightmare she has about being abandoned in the synagogue on her wedding days when her fiancé discovers she isn’t a virgin. You feel that Beth is a good friend for Alice and that she’ll keep Alice on the straight and narrow.
But then Beth goes away for the summer.
Alice goes to a party where she’s force fed some uppers and downers by some burnouts, and now Alice is a druggie.
And still no William Shatner.
Until you do see William Shatner and you can’t believe your eyes. He plays Alice’s dad, an English literature professor at a major university. But he looks middle-aged, his hair is brown, and he’s sporting a mustache. And you know all is not right with the world because William Shatner can’t sport a mustache to save his life. And you wonder what happed to the man who four years prior had been seducing green women and striking fear into the heart of the Klingon Empire.
Just when you think Alice can’t sink any lower, her boyfriend gets her to start hawking pills to some 1st Graders.
And then she finds out her boyfriend has been cheating on her and she runs away. You feel awful for Alice, hoping that Andy Griffith will be able to save her, but you know Alice is doomed. You find out the movie is based on the actual diary of a young girl who was addicted to drugs and then died. But then you learn of the controversy surrounding the book, about how the author may have made it up. Does it matter? Of course!
Because you just watched 74 minutes of melodrama interspersed with William Shatner sporting one of the worst mustaches you’ve ever seen.
Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47, episode 102, episode 124, episode 131, and episode 284) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.
Leave a Reply