American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
"You're not a kind person," a husband says to his wife of many years, after she won't give a doggie bag to a homeless man who asks for it. This is something he didn't realize and can't live with. There are other people, kind and unkind, in "Three Days of Rain," and as a storm crouches over Cleveland, we wonder if it makes much difference. It is not a kind world.
Consider John (Don Meredith), a taxi driver, who has just learned that his son is dead. He runs a red light, is distracted, tells a customer of his loss. The passenger (Blythe Danner) is not sympathetic. "I'm destined to hear these things!" she cries out from the back seat. "I'm here to suffer pain. Let me out of this cab!"
There are another father and son in the movie. Waldo (Peter Falk) is a drunk whose charm is so meticulously practiced that we realize his personal style has entirely replaced his self-respect. He asks the bartender for another drink, is told he is out of money, agrees as if relieved to have resolved a great mystery, and then "wonders" if he could have just another "drop or two" to refresh his glass.
Waldo is forever asking his son (Bill Stockton), for an "advance" because his pension check is late, and then charmingly admitting that he has no pension and therefore no check. The son is patient with him -- and kind, although the only kindness Waldo desires is money for more drinking. Since Waldo is so good at drinking, so courteous and elaborately courtly, would it be a kindness to impose sobriety and leave him with no lies with which to exercise his style?