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|Paul Newman||Harry Keach|
|Robby Benson||Howard Keach|
|Ellen Barkin||Katie Wilowski|
|Wilford Brimley||Tom Keach|
"Two men with nothing in common... except the blood in their veins."
Widower Harry Keach is a construction worker who was raised to appreciate the importance of working for a living. He takes a dim view of his sensitive son Howard's lackadaisical lifestyle, devoted to a dead-end part-time job, surfing, chasing girls, and hot-tubbing while he dreams of becoming the next Ernest Hemingway. Harry also has a strained relationship with his daughter Nina because he dislikes her husband, an insurance salesman.
When intense headaches and impaired vision cause Harry to lose control of the wrecking ball on his crane, he loses his job. His unemployment leaves him feeling frustrated, although he refuses to work in his brother Tom's military surplus store. He becomes increasingly angry at Howard for quitting jobs at a car wash and with an auto-repo outfit and threatens to throw his son out of the house.
Harry spends some of his free time visiting his widowed neighbor Lilly, a pet store owner who has loved Harry for years. Her daughter Katie, a former girlfriend of Howard, is now pregnant with another man's child.
After being abandoned by her lover, Katie's relationship with Howard rekindles. He is resisting the advances of a nymphomaniacal older woman, Sally, but eventually introduces her to Harry.
Howard succeeds in selling a short story, much to his father's amazement. He uses some of the money to finance a vacation for Harry, Lilly, Katie and her newborn baby (also called Harry). Harry begins to experience happiness at last, until tragedy strikes.