Nancy is about to receive her college degree and she has a special request for Dr. McFarland about the commencement proceedings, where parents are always given special honor. She starts to reminisce about what has led to her successful graduation, and that of her two brothers Jim and Tommy before her, despite having lost both parents long ago. After being widowed when Nancy is only two years old, her mother Laura works hard night and day to support her young family. Their only relative is Laura's brother, and Uncle Ben is a favorite of the children with his story-telling ability and easy charm. However, his own life is dominated by alcoholism, and he finds it difficult to hold a job and be a responsible member of the community. When Laura suddenly passes away, the children beg Uncle Ben to take care of them. He wishes to do so, and fights to gain custody of his young niece and nephews, but his addiction is standing in the way of his fulfilling the role of a parent.
A look at a dysfunctional family dominated by the controlling madness of its matriarch, Eve. Her reluctant husband and their three daughters make doomed efforts to cope with Eve's demands, while also trying to get on with their own lives.
Burt Reynolds plays a legendary stunt man known as Sonny Hooper, who remains one of the top men in his field, but due to too many stressful impacts to the spine and the need to pop pain killers several times a day, he knows he should get out of the industry before he ends up permanently disabled.