Paul Reiser, who wrote, produced, and stars in the new film, The Thing About My Folks, calls it "a fictional story based on real Jews." Indeed, it could be described as Jerry Seinfeld meets Woody Allen—but with a strong moral center. But such reductionism would negate the film's delightful and original take on a baby boomer (Reiser) and his confusing relationship with his earthy, salesman father, played by Peter Falk.
Reiser's real-life dad was a huge fan of Falk, and Reiser inherited that appreciation. In conceiving his film, Reiser did not consider any other actor to play the role of his father.
The result is one of the most delightful collaborations to hit the big screen in a long time. Falk and Reiser are immediately believable as they tentatively attempt to cross the generation bridge that's kept them from intimacy. Sam, the father, has spent his life building up his carpet business from "two guys with a clipboard and a desk," to a thriving concern that provided a secure life for a son and three daughters. The kids, including Ben (Reiser), had the best of everything and went on to college, all compliments of dad. Like so many men of his generation, Sam returned from the war and grabbed every opportunity for success. But that success came with a price. Sam's Greatest Generation emerged from the double challenges of the Depression and WWII with a fierce work ethic. His idea of a good father was a hard worker who saved money and provided for his family. Ben, like so many boomers exempted from that life-and-death struggle, is in therapy trying to find himself. Sam figures that he knows exactly where he is, thank you very much.
When Sam's wife (Olympia Dukakis) abruptly leaves him after forty-seven years of marriage, ...1
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The Thing About My Folks
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