Directed by Ted Kotcheff
Produced by Steve Golin, Monty Montgomery
Written by Robert Klane
Penta Pictures
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
May 1, 1992
Running time
107 minutes
Language English
Box office $6,132,924

Folks! is a 1992 American comedy-drama film directed by Ted Kotcheff and starring Tom Selleck. Its tagline is: "Jon Aldrich is about to come face to face with the most terrifying force known to man...his parents." It earned a Razzie Award nomination for Selleck as Worst Actor.


The film tells the story of Jon Aldrich (Tom Selleck), a successful stockbroker who is living a good life with a wife and kids until he comes across his elderly father who has major dementia and, as a result of it, wreaks all kinds of havoc on his life including his own, which among all of them involves accidentally burning down his own house. Jon tries to get his sister, Arlene (Christine Ebersole) (who has two sons of her own but is an irresponsible gold digger), to take care of their parents, but she won't even open the door. As a result, his father, Harry (Don Ameche), and his mother, Mildred (Anne Jackson), have to move in with him and his family. That is the moment that his good life starts going downhill.

The company Jon works for was apparently doing illegal things which he knew nothing of, but no one believes him therefore he loses his job. The problems for him continue to mount up as Harry continues to cause all kinds of trouble and, as a result of it, the family becomes broke. His wife, Audrey (Wendy Crewson), moves out with the kids, and they lose everything except their apartment. Furthermore, as a result of his severe senility, Harry continues to unintentionally injure Jon, causing him to get hearing loss, a broken hand, and a broken foot when a car runs over it. He also loses a testicle. Plus, Harry puts the lives of Jon's kids and himself in danger at one point by jaywalking in an intersection one morning while trying to take them for a walk with him without letting anyone know.

As a result of the whole mess, Jon slowly starts to lose his own sanity, but in a brief moment of regaining his own Harry tells him that he never wanted to be a burden on him but he soon slips back into his state of dementia, where he is just happy all the time and often yells out "McDonald's". Jon talks with Mildred who also says that she and Harry never wanted to be a burden on him. She then tells him that they have discussed it, and they want him to help them die so he can collect the insurance money. He is totally against this at first but after a while he changes his tune.

Somehow ending up agreeing to volunteer to it, Jon helps his parents try to commit suicide many unsuccessful times and halfway through the attempts Arlene shows up on his doorstep with both of her corpulent sons in need of a place to live. He refuses at first because she would not even open the door for them but he eventually caves in and lets them stay. She also joins in on the attempts to help their parents die, hoping for a cut of the insurance money. Her attempts are also unsuccessful.

Things slowly start looking up for Jon as Audrey eventually shows up to tell him that she was wrong for leaving and how much she loves the fact that he was willing to take in both of his parents. Upon her arrival she realizes all the injuries he has suffered since she saw him last, including the missing testicle. As they are reconciling he realizes that Arlene and his parents are gone and he knows they are going to try to commit suicide again with her help, so he tracks them down in an attempt to stop them which he successfully does, but not without facing a bit more injury.

Jon eventually gets their lives on track. He and Audrey buy a house and his parents move in with them. Arlene is now with a man who knows how to handle her bad behaving children. At the end we finally find out that Harry hasn't been yelling "McDonald's" because he was hungry, but because he bought stock in McDonnell Douglas years and years ago, meaning he is worth tons of money.


Tom Selleck - Jon Aldrich
Wendy Crewson - Audrey Aldrich
Don Ameche - Harry Aldrich
Anne Jackson - Mildred Aldrich
Christine Ebersole - Arlene Aldrich
Michael Murphy - Ed
Robert Pastorelli - Fred
Jon Favreau - Chicago Taxi Driver


The film received generally poor reviews. Noted the Los Angeles Times, "If gays and lesbians think they're getting a bad rap in the movies, consider the filmic lot of the elderly. First "Stop! or My Mom Will Shoot," now "Folks!". Where are the Gray Panthers when you need them?"[1] The New York Times noted that its screenwriter "is best known as the screenwriter of "Where's Poppa?" and he may be aspiring to comparably dark humor. But "Folks" tries to be tender and vicious simultaneously, and that makes for an impossible mix. A more mean-spiritedly funny actor might have carried this material better, but Mr. Selleck strives for the cuddly rather than the caustic. Mr. Ameche, mugging furiously, affects a jaw-jutting blank look and even props his chin on Mr. Selleck's shoulder occasionally for quasi-comic effect."[2] The film was not a box office success.[3][4]


  1. Willman, Chris (1992-05-04). "MOVIE REVIEW : 'Folks!' Hits a Nerve, Not Funny Bone". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-03.
  2. Maslin, Janet (1992-05-04). "Doing for, and Doing Away With, Parents". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-06-03.
  3. Fox, David J. (1992-05-12). "Weekend Box Office : 'Player,' 'Vinny' Show Strength - Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 2013-09-15.
  4. "Tom Selleck Back In Tv Saddle Again - Morning Call". 1997-01-19. Retrieved 2013-09-15.

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