Parents (1989)

Directed by: Bob Balaban

Written by:
Christopher Hawthorne


Randy Quaid .... Nick Laemle
Mary Beth Hurt .... Mary Laemle
Sandy Dennis .... Millie Dew
Bryan Madorsky .... Michael Laemle
Juno Mills Cockell .... Sheila Zellner

Release Date: Theatrical: January 27, 1989




A family known as the Laemele's moves into a new suburban neighborhood but their son named Michael (Bryan Madorsky) is very disturbed and nervous as his father Nick (Randy Quaid) is working overtime and is always bringing home what he calls laundry since he knows what his fathers profession is by working in a mortuary. To top it all off they are always barbequing tons of meat and having many leftovers as the meat they're making doesn't look like everyday meals that others eat.
He eats very little and continues to have nightmares by drowning in a pool of blood or his parents doing deadly deeds with people or themselves and represents his horrifying dreams to school and is forced to meet with a social worker named Millie Dew (Sandy Dennis) as she tries to talk to little Mikey but he behaves too quiet and self centered.
Michael also doesn't see eye to eye with his father as he acts obnoxious and verbally abusive towards him especially that his new neighbor and schoolfriend Sheila Zellner (Juno Mills Cockell) is manipulating him to do things he's not allowed to do.
Michael is afraid of the basement and encounters something awful after going down there and this time it's no nightmare.


There's a good distance shot on the nieghborhood as well as the old cadillac with the Laemle family in the vehicle going to their new home.
We have a good d conversation with Michael being afraid to go to his room cause it's dark and his father Nick talking to him that everything is dark at night and says it in a not so sane way then a good shot picking up up to his room with a good camera shot showing the actions.
We have a good shot on both Nick and Mary's feet walking to a fridge discussing on having leftovers which gives you a good chill.
We have a good shot on Michael taking off his pajama top and then a slow motion shot on him diving into his bed and then a disturbing creepy nightmare shot on his bed turning into a bloodbath.
There's a corny moment on Miss Baxter introducing herself as a school teacher and then introducing both Michael and Sheila Zellner with their discussions.
There's a decent conversation with both Michael and Sheila after school having their discussions with Miss Baxter telling tall tales to him about her living on the moon etc.
A good scene at the dinner table with the family having discussions as well as Michael telling them about his new girlfriend and where she lives as well as an intimidating moment on what Nick is being demanding towards him on this girl. Certainly had an effective dark moment.
We have a good shot on Michael walking out of his room in the hallway and then a good flash shot on his parents making out in the living room with sheets all over the floor along with a perfect evil and aggressive shot on Nick.
There's a good conversation between Millie Dew as a social worker talking to Mary about her son's disturbed problems as she acts kooky saying everything is fine at home as she shows good nervous emotions.
We have a corny conversation with Nick and Mary playing cards with a neighborly couple as the dark comedy tries to fit in but fails.
A good scene with Sheila manipulating Michael to do stuff in his room as well as them spying on their parents playing cards.
There's good close up shots on Mary making meatloaf with her hands being menacing on the beef along with Michael in a closet staring at her. Then we have shots on some sausage wrapping around him which tried to make the film look funny but it fails big time.
Good shot on Sheila sitting in a tree talking to Michael as well as her jumping down and the two of them running into his house and messing around with some food in the fridge as well as a good shot on her running into the basement and swigging some wine with him trying to stop her.
We also have good shots on Michael trying to search for Sheila and then spotting her in his freezer swigging back the wine and then an interesting moment with the two of them goofing off.
We have a great intimidating reaction with Nick telling Michael a nasty bedtime story verbally abusing him which makes you cringe and wonders if he's about to hurt him.
We have some good shots on Michael hiding underneath a stretch with a corpse lying on top and Nick doing surgery which gives you a bad feeling that it's done really dark.
A cold moment with Nick driving by Michael walking on the side of the street telling him to get in along with a good shot on a white blanket covering something in the back trunk.
There's a reaction on Mary after finding out information on what Nick tells her that he has laundry in the back of his trunk which looked very corny but creepy too as this scene looked very suitable.
We have good shots on Michael's feet walking in the hallway as well as walking down the stairs to the basement.
There's also a good shot on Michael by looking at stuff in the dark basement as well as hooks near him. Then a good shot on him looking up and spotting a corpses foot on a hook.
We have a good panicking moment with Michael running into his house with Millie trying to keep up with him showing her the basement and then a great shot on a corpse tumbling with a perfect scream and then the camera shooting through a vent and other areas of the house.
We have a good shot on Millie being pushed into a closet with a knife trying to stab at her and then when she tries to escape a good shot on a golf club aiming towards her head.
There's a good slow motion shot on Michael swinging a baseball bat towards Nick while he's bringing in some barbeque meat with a good slow shot on him falling to the ground.
A good shot on Nick cutting a piece of meat and then trying to get Michael to eat with another good slow motion shot on him stabbing him with a knife.
Bottom line is that the makers tried to make this a dark comedy and a spoof to those sitcoms from the 1950's but it really falls flat as there's nothing funny about this film. The film is very dark, sick, twisted and disturbing with a bad plot to top it all off. There's alot of gruesome hallucinations and such twisted moments too. You kinda feel sorry for the poor child as you wonder if he's eating at all and how can he live the way he is too.
The film is saved from being bombed due to a descent performance and some good dark creepy moments too. You'll know what I mean when this child goes down to the basement which is every child's worst fear at night but when you watch this film you'll feel he has every reason to be so.

The acting is in good shape as we get a terrific performance by Randy Quaid (Nick Laemle) as the canniballistic and evilly nasty family man in the film as he really brings his character across well that you wouldn't want to mess with him. He showed awesome aggressions and is convincingly crazy too. Does well with his intimidating and stern attitude about not wanting to hear the lies that was being told to his onscreen son and being demanding towards him to eat his meat. He does well asking his onscreen son on where he found his scissors he uses at his work and does well by forcing the truth out of him and then stabbing the scissors into some meat. There's a perfect greeting by him sitting on his onscreen son's bed and demanding to him where he's been. Does well picking his onscreen son up and screaming in a rage after he was stabbed.
Mary Beth Hurt
(Mary Laemle) does a slapstick job as the passive canniballistic wife who does well with her nervous actions and comes across as someone who isn't all there. She shows good nervous emotions when an onscreen social worker talks to her about her onscreen son's issues. She reacts very well in a scene when the onscreen husband tells her he brought home some laundry as she does this in a kooky but creepy fashion.
Sandy Dennis
(Millie Dew) looked like a total basket case than a social worker but yet she shows her kindess and concerns quite well proving worthy to her part nevertheless. She delivered a perfect scream after she finds something shocking.
ryan Madorsky (Michael Laemle) seems to pull his part well as a disturbed and tense child of the family showing no expressions to his part and great nervousness too. Does well in a scene by trying to make up a story and getting scared while being questioned. A great shocked reaction on him after spotting something shocking and then running away and going into his room. A shame he never carried on with his acting career but again he was very tense in his role it's hard to see what else he can do.
Juno Mills Cockell
(Sheila Zellner) is perfect as the troublemaking next door neighbor and shows great energy to her character making her a good key memeber to the film.

We have little Michael drowning in a bloodbath during a nightmare sequence
There's a bloody arm in a garbage disposer with blood pouring down a refrigerator during another nightmare sequence.
We also have insides of a corpse.
There's a part of a leg hanging on a hook in a basement.

Some great thumping sounds along with some hissing effects too as it truly brings out the horror for this plot. We also have the odd sharp violing playing and some trumpet and saxophone music to make this film a 50's feel to it all composed by Jonathan Elias.

Nick Laemle: Kids!!! Who made the little bastards!!!!