A successful weatherman at a Chicago news program, David Spritz is well paid but garners little respect from people in the area who throw fast food at him, David suspects, because are resentful of how easy his high-paying job is. Dave also feels overshadowed by his father, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Spritzel, who is disappointed in Dave's apparent inability to grow up and deal with his two children. The situation worsens when Robert is diagnosed with lymphoma and given only a few months to live. As he becomes more and more depressed, Dave takes up archery, finding the activity a way to build his focus and calm his nerves.
To prove himself to his father and possibly reconcile with Noreen, his estranged wife, Dave pursues a weatherman position with a national talk show called Hello America. The job would nearly quadruple his salary, but means relocating to New York City. When Hello America invites him to New York, he takes his daughter with him and bonds with her by helping her shop for a more suitable wardrobe. While away, Dave learns that his son attacked his counselor, claiming that the man wanted to perform oral sex on him. Despite this stress and an all-night drinking binge, Dave impresses the Hello America interviewers and is eventually offered the job.
When he returns, Dave slaps Russ, Noreen's boyfriend, when he finds him dealing with his son's predicament. Dave later confronts the counselor at his home, beating him up and warning him that he is in store for worse.
The family holds a living funeral for Robert, in which Dave asks Noreen to reconcile and move to New York, but she has decided to marry Russ. Dave and Robert have one final talk, in which Dave breaks down in tears, unsure of his life's choices. Robert consoles him, telling him that he has time to "chuck" the garbage of his life. Robert dies soon after.
The film ends several months later, after Dave has accepted the job and moved to New York. People have ceased throwing things at him though, he muses, this may be a pleasant side-effect of his archery hobby, for which he carries a bow.