It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
One of the nice things about my job is that I get to enjoy the good parts in movies that aren't really necessary to see. "The Thing About My Folks" travels familiar movie territory: A grown son and his father get to know each other during a journey in, yes, a classic car. They do not discover much they couldn't have learned in screenwriting class, but we discover once again what a warm and engaging actor Peter Falk is. I can't recommend the movie, but I can be grateful that I saw it, for Falk.
He plays a crusty old guy named Sam Kleinman, who descends one day upon his son, Ben (Paul Reiser) with astonishing news: Muriel (Olympia Dukakis), his wife of countless years, has walked out on him. She left a note that essentially said: "I have to go. I have to be alone." Why? Why would she do anything? Why would Sam, who has been married to her for most of his life, expect her to do a crazy thing like that?
Ben is a successful professional, happily married to Rachel (Elizabeth Perkins). There has been talk of moving out of New York and buying a place in the country, and Ben takes Sam along to inspect a property. "This house was built by my grandfather after the Civil War," the owner tells them. Sam is unmoved and wants to know details about the septic tank drainage.
They have car trouble, and when they appeal to a mechanic they find on his lot a beautifully-restored 1940 Ford Deluxe coupe convertible. It reminds Sam of the first cars of his young manhood. They buy it right there on the spot, thereby following two rules of the Little Movie Glossary, one providing that characters drive classic cars whenever possible, because modern cars are boring and all look alike, the other calling for ragtops because it makes it easier to see and light the characters. They begin an odyssey through the beautiful scenery and foliage of upstate New York.